Continuous Dosing: the passion for accuracy
Dosing is a principal factor of importance for the reaching the required dough quality. If the various raw materials are not dispensed in the correct quantities to begin with, it will not be possible to produce a correct dough no matter what. This is the reason why Sobatech has devoted very much time and effort in developing and optimizing the dosing of dry ingredients, both for large volume as well as small volume consumption.
Sobatech uses gravimetric dosing based on the loss-in-weight principle. It has developed dedicated, open source, soft-ware to control the feeder-pumps and other hard-ware involved in the dosing of dry ingredients. Sobatech soft-ware guarantees a correct and constant flow of dry ingredients during normal operation meaning when the level in the dosing hopper is decreasing. However, during re-filling of the dosing hopper, a gain-in-weight situation occurs for a certain period of time. Sobatech has identified that the soft-ware controlling the feeder-pump must be adapted to assure a correct dosing also during this situation. Therefore tailor-made soft-ware has been developed which is integrated in the overall dosing soft-ware to guarantee a correct and constant flow of dry ingredients under both loss-in-weight (normal operation) as well as gain-in-weight (re-fill) conditions.
The Sobatech dosing software measures the flow of dry ingredients 5 times per second. Adjustments to the flow are made immediately and accurately. As a result, a Sobatech system ensures the production of a correct and constant dough.
Dry ingredients – particles
A special type of dry ingredients are particles such as raisins (dry or soaked), nuts, seeds, etc. that are sometimes blended into the dough separately. A Sobatech continuous system is unique in allowing such dry ingredients to enter the complete mixing & kneading process at a very late stage: the 2nd kneading machine. Tests have shown that the Sobatech kneading tools also have a very good blending function. This means that particles are blended very well into the dough mass with a very even distribution which enhances the quality of the end-product.
The same passion for accuracy that characterises the Sobatech approach for dry ingredients dosing is applied to the dosing of the liquid ingredients. State of the art measurement equipment, such as magnetic and coriolis flow meters, is used to regulate the exact & correct quantity of liquid ingredient entering the system. Where the liquid ingredient comes from depends on the type of liquid.
Low viscosity liquids
The main liquid ingredient is water. This is most of the times sourced from a central pipe-line provided for by the bakery. The same goes for oil, which is also often supplied from a dedicated pipe-line in the bakery. In these cases, the bakery ensures a constant pressure of the liquids. Other ingredients, like for instance liquid yeast or liquefied sugar, can be taken from dedicated tanks in the line. In these cases Sobatech takes care of the pumps needed for a constant supply. The liquid ingredients are fed to the homogenizer (see separate section) for the 1st stage of the continuous mixing process.,
High viscosity liquids
Sobatech also provides dosing for high viscosity liquids such as lard, butter, margarine, cheese and re-work dough (where applicable). The controlled and accurate dosing of such liquids is of great importance to reach the high level of homogeneousness: the complete even distribution of all ingredients over the total mass of dough. The dosing of high viscosity liquids often requires dedicated equipment such as butter-pumps (handling blocks of butter), re-work hoppers & pumps (handling dough with yeast activity), etc. Such dedicated systems are tailor made to the specifics of the ingredients that are part of each recipe, world wide..
Also the soft-ware controlling the dosing of the liquid ingredients is embedded into the line controls. Also here a constant control of the flow is used to reach an extremely accurate quantity of liquid ingredients entering the process. End result: consistency and quality.