Saxby Foods in Edmonton, Alberta contacted Jantz Canada to propose a turn-key solution with a goal of significantly improving labour productivity in their cake decorating baked goods business. Their existing line had a maximum throughput of 14 cakes per minute and this rate required a substancial amount of manual labour. Not only was their existing process not meeting the current demand, Saxby was finding increasing costs were reducing their profitibilty.
The successful solution would also be required to significantly improve ergonomics in thier facility and incorporate existing equipment into the new design in order assets to keep within budget constraints.
Other obstacles to overcome included:
- the system was to produce a minimum of 20 assembled and decorated cakes per minute. This at the time was a rate unachievable using currently available equipment
- The indexing conveyor needed to be adjustable at the PLC for five different sizes of cakes
- Because they use real dairy cream in many of their recipes, the system had to be fully wet washdown compliant
- the solution needed to be flexible enough to accommodate numerous SKU’s, which would run at different speeds, and with alternate accessory equipment configurations
- the line needed to separate into 2 separate decorating lanes after cake assembly to maximize available floor area
- the overall cost of the system had to fall within a 1 year payback goal.
The process of agreeing to final concept required close collaboration between Saxby and Jantz Canada, where each party was able to leverage their expertise into the final design version. Key areas of potential concern were prototyped in early stages as the overall design was fine tuned to meet the project specifications. Once key design and operational challenges were resolved, close attention to sanitary design, maintenance accessibility and reduction of potential bacterial harbourage points were addressed through reviews of 3-D models of the equipment prior to fabrication.
The end result was an automated cake decorating line which exceeded customer’s expectations. Critical success factors included combining the knowledge of an experienced baker in the scoping phase while leveraging the best practices of a top quality food processing machinery manufacturer. Targeted labour savings were achieved, as well as a major increase in throughput capability. After more than 1 year, the line continues to operate at production rates of up to 24 cakes per minute.