Sandvik, the world’s largest manufacturer of solid and perforated steel belts for the food industry, is reporting increased business from customers returning to traditional bake oven belt technology as they look to broaden and enhance their product ranges.
Products as varied as biscuits, pizza bases, granola bars, cakes, macaroons and brownies can all be baked on a solid steel belt. The flat surface provides a crisp base that cannot be achieved on any other conveying medium, and its hard, smooth quality delivers a clean product release.
These qualities make the solid steel belt ideal for the production of American-style cookies. As these products use real butter, and often chocolate chips too, they need to be baked on a solid belt to eliminate the risk of melted product dripping a causing a fire, or simply drying out. And the excellent heat transfer and thermal conductivity of the belt delivers the desirable combination of a crisp base and rich, buttery cookie.
The global appetite for real butter cookies has led a growing number of large players in the bakery industry to convert existing wire mesh lines to run on Sandvik’s steel belts. While this isn’t quite as straightforward as simply swapping out one type of belt for another (the conveyor components also need replacing), it is far more economical – and faster – than having to invest in completely new lines.
New steel belt line for Kraft Foods, Shanghai
One company to have gone down this route is global snacks powerhouse Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods). Having been operational in China since 1984, the company took the decision to switch a bake line at its Shanghai factory from crackers to cookies by converting an existing line to a solid steel belt.
Sandvik supplied the steel belt and all related components including Compact Belt Tracker (CBT) system and graphite skid bars, working closely with OEM Dingson Machinery, who supplied the conveyor drums, tensioning system and overall support framework.
Careful planning and close cooperation between the two companies meant Sandvik was able to install the new steel belt in just two weeks, enabling Kraft Foods to start production of its cookie ranges within a month of shutting down the existing line.