Reduction of labor costs
Increased food and quality demand asks for a certain level of automation. Continuous mixing meets this increased demand of todays consumers. Due to the high automation grade of continuous 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 mixer.
Less product waste
In a continuous dough mixing process, there is no head and no tail of the dough. 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, it still has to wait for another 2 minutes before it is being processed. Put differently, the oldes dough in 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 6ton 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 consistent 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 dough. This allows the system to constantly audit and control dough development. Please check out more about Sobatech’s controlled kneading intensity here.
Reduction of expensive active additives
Due to the combination of a gentle dough treatment and excellent dough development, Sobatech has proven that the same or better end-product quality can be reached with lower grade flour, less yeast and/or less improvers.