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Storage

Storage is the final phase of biscuit and cookie production that involves storing product in containers, facilities and conditions that are guaranteed to maintain the shelf life of the product.

Storage in Cartons & Tins

In some cases, the basic film wrapped biscuit or cookie pack may be placed within a paper board carton. This may be done for several reasons including for display, to form multipacks, as well as provide additional protection. While this operation adds to the overall cost of biscuit or cookie production, it does give a tidy package.

In addition, the carton may be made from non-greaseproof materials such as waster paper pulp as it will be used outside the moisture proof wrapper. The carton may then be sealed using strong adhesives without worrying too much about odor.

Tins date back to the early days of biscuit and cookie manufacturing where they served as the main storage options. Since the beginning, tins have witnessed a lot of ingenuity in their design for competitive advertising to attract the interest of consumers. Tins provide baked products with exceptionally good protection from light, moisture and physical damage. However, today, tins are used only for very specific types of biscuits or cookies. This is because they are expensive, tend to occupy a lot of space when they are empty, and are unsuitable for high speed operations.

Check Weighing

Check weighing machines are commonly situated immediately after the wrapping machine thereby allowing every pack to be weighed. This is important in order to ensure that pack weights are controlled and recorded. These machines may be set up such that they provide for the rejection of any pack that falls below the required minimum weight.

Other types of check weighers may be set for recording average weights over specified periods of time. They may also record the standard weight deviations, as well as reject packs that fall above or below given limits.

Palletisation

Biscuit and cookie packs are typically collated in cases, fiberites for purposes of storage and transportation. The cases are thereafter stacked onto floor pallets which are then moved using fork lift trucks or similar vehicles. Unless the cases are square in a basal shape, it is possible to stack them in the form of house bricks such that they overlap the gaps, and then lock together. Additional locking of the biscuit or cookie cases may be achieved through the placement of paper sheets between the layers of product.

Cases are typically stacked to a height of about 2 meters, which are approximately 6-7 cases in height. It is important to note that the strength of fiberites is only good if placed upright because of the orientation of the fluting of the board. Additional case locking in a pallet may be achieved through wrapping shrink-wrap film completely around the loaded pallet, or even through the use of straps.

It is important to ensure that the cases are handled and stored in a manner in which the biscuit packs do not get damaged. It is important for storage operators to be aware of the orientation and stacking of cases on pallets such that they understand what is required for every product type. This helps to ensure that the right number of cases is put on a pallet and biscuits are well protected from mechanical damage during storage.

Automatic Storage Systems

Automatic storage machines are computer-controlled transfer and storage systems that can significantly improve the efficiency of picking and storing the biscuits and cookies. These horizontal and vertical storage machines are easy to integrate with the existing warehouse management systems of the production company.

However, they may also be used as standalone systems for storing biscuits and cookies. The size and composition of the machine will be determined by the site and the operating environment. An automatic storage system can save up to 70% in floor space, decrease picking errors by 70% and reduce picking time by over 60%.

Robotic Systems

If storing biscuits and cookies in tins, chances are they will be manually filled. This is done through the use of robotic systems designed to transfer the product straight from the cooling conveyor, and thereafter placing them into paper cups for packaging and finally into the tins. A good example of this is the Danish Butter Cookies. This is done to prevent the product from rubbing against the surface of the tin which may cause the development of blackened spots. In such a case, the paper must be greaseproof.

After filling, a lid will be pressed onto the tin and thereafter secured using adhesive tape all round the closed tin. In this way, tins are ideal for high value products and sell popularly as presentation gifts. Biscuits in tins are typically available as an assortment, which makes the presentation even more attractive. The assembly of the assortment of biscuits is typically a manual operation.

Tins may also be used for purposes of storing biscuits and cookies that require storage for very long periods of time. In such cases, the tins will be hermetically sealed with solder. Plastic boxes may also be used to store special biscuit packs.

Potential Problems and Solutions

  • Off Smell/ Flavor – Biscuits and cookies are very vulnerable to picking up strong odors, of which even small traces may ruin their flavor. Paper and plastic based wrappers do not make for particularly effective barriers against the aromatic chemicals. It is therefore important to avoid storing biscuits and products close to antiseptics, detergents or other perfumed products.
  • Packs With Less Product – In addition to satisfying the legal requirements, the machines are also useful for the detection of packs that may not have the full number of cookies or biscuits. The occurrence of packs with fewer products could be due to a malfunction of the biscuit feeding systems. Have a maintenance professional take a look at the biscuit feeding system so as to repair any parts that may have malfunctioned.
  • Cases Fall Off – Individual biscuit or cookie cases may fall off during storage or transportation. This could be due to the lack of careful thought with regards to orientation of the cases, for purposes of achieving a stable structure. It is important to take this into account such that the falling of biscuit cases is prevented and damage due to pressure is minimal.
  • Product Cases Damaged – Common causes of damage may be as a result of cases being placed such that they overlap over the area of the pallets, or pallets have been stacked too high on top of the other, which creates excessive pressure on the biscuit or cookie cases at the bottom. For very high stacking, fiberites with the ideal mechanical strength should be used.
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