Continuous dough mixing and kneading is one of the first stages of the entire (food) Production chain. This means that the moment you tackle this step well, you enjoy it throughout the entire production process. For example, due to improved dough homogeneity, weighing can be done more accurately. This results in less waste during dough make-up and packaging.
REDUCTION OF LABOR COST
Todays increased food and quality demand asks for a certain level of automation. Continuous mixing meets the increased quality demand of todays consumers. Due to the high automation grade of continuous dough mixers, labor costs decrease significantly. Sobatech’s customers call it the “the dark room concept” as there is simply no light burning at the location of the continuous mixing system.
LESS PRODUCT WASTE
In a continuous dough mixing process, there is no head and no tail of the dough. But what does that mean?
Let’s say we have a batch mixer that mixes a cookie dough for about 10 minutes. After mixing, the batch of dough is (manually) conveyed to the receiving hopper of the dough make-up line. The receiving hopper of the make-up line is being refilled at a filling level of 20%. The new batch fills the receiving hopper to 120%. The batch stays 10 minutes inside the receiving hopper before it is being refilled again. This means that the dough at filling level 20% is 10 minutes (mixing time) + 10 minutes (resting time inside the receiving hopper) = 20 minutes old. After that, the dough still has to wait for another 2 minutes before it is being processed. Put differently, the oldest dough on the make-up line is 22 minutes old. However, the youngest dough is 12 minutes old.
Dough characteristics change due to aging, environmental conditions and the interactions of the separate ingredients. This inconsistency will be present throughout the entire production process. Trying to manage quality while chasing these variables will add to the already higher and ongoing labor costs of batch mixing. As a result, weighing can be done less accurately, resulting in more waste and less yield.
In a continuous mixing process, every piece of dough has had the same mechanical treatment and fermentation process. This means there are no differences in dough development and temperature.
LESS FLOOR SPACE
Sobatech is known for its flexible and compact building style. Sobatech bases its layout drawings on customers preferred floorplan. Besides that, a continuous mixing system simply need less space. A continuous mixer/kneader of about 2.5m length, 0.5m width, 1m height can produce up to 6.000 kg of dough per hour (exact measures depend on the product type). All in all, Sobatech’s continuous mixers are able to produce high capacities of dough in at relatively small floor plan.
NO ICE OR COLD GASSES ARE NEEDED FOR COOLING THE DOUGH DURING MIXING
Each piece of dough gets the same (mechanical) treatment. This means the dough temperature is kept constant at all times. Besides that, Sobatech continuous mixers have a large contact surface with a relatively small amount of dough inside the mixing chamber. This results in efficient cooling or heating. Lastly, in case there is a need for extreme high or low product temperature, Sobatech developed their patented HOT&COOL technology. This innovation allows to heat up or cool down the dough at the exact point of friction.
LESS ENERGY WASTE
The combination of a relatively small amount of mass in the mixing chamber, with a relatively high volume of mixing tooling, result in a remarkable high energy efficiency. A large part of the energy developed by the tooling, is put into the dough. Besides that, Sobatech registers the energy put into the dough (Wh/kg) and believes in the importance of this objective parameter. Sobatech’s continuous dough mixers are the only one in the world that constantly moniter the energy in wh/kg that is put into the product. This allows the system to constantly audit and control product development. Please check out more about Sobatech’s controlled kneading intensity here.