The saga behind the slice

Giuseppe Rosental Giuseppe Rosental Industry Segment Manager

There are few foods which are more ancient, more historically dramatic, than that of a loaf of bread. This familiar staple appeared possibly as early as 10,000 BC with the advent of agriculture in the Neolithic age. Bread-baking has risen alongside civilization from grains crushed beneath a grinding stone to automated technology which can divide a quarter ton of dough into 600 loaves per minute. In the thousands of years in-between these processes, where the recipe has remained roughly the same, this seemingly simple sustenance has often been a source of power and controversy.

The rise of the dough

It was the Industrial Revolution which set the groundwork for the world of bread production which Habasit supports today. As early as 1928, Otto Frederick Rohwedder had created a machine which could both slice and package bread. It was a foreshadowing of all that was to come.

While in Medieval times, baking apprenticeships could last up to seven years, today touchscreen technology has perfected the timing, speed, temperature and quantities needed for hundreds of loaves at a time. The dough is moved through a seamless production line which activates the yeast and molds the loaves, before the batches are baked in traveling ovens of 260°C. A slow cooling process helps prevent mold and allows time for a soft crust to form. When the bread is finally sliced and packaged for distribution, each loaf is tagged with an essential code so that every ingredient of every loaf can be traced back to its source.

Production of this magnitude and precision would not be possible without conveyor belts, which were used to transport grains as early as 1795. At the time they were simply flat wood surfaces covered with belts of leather, rubber or canvas. During the “boom” of the industrialization, after the Second World War, new synthetic materials were discovered for belting and advanced rotary systems were developed. It was then, in 1946, that Habasit came on the scene and became one of the first companies to meet the modern demands of the bread industry.

Upper crust production

More than 70 years later, Habasit offers an extensive product range for every stage of bread production, as well as the entire span of dry foods from biscuits and crackers to pastries, baked snacks and confectionery goods.

In such a widespread and competitive industry, hygiene can be a deciding factor for the success of any company. Habasit offers products that comply with all relevant direct food contact regulations and guarantees safety for the full-length of the production line.

Before the 19th century, contaminated loaves were often sold on the street with hazardous materials such as sawdust or aluminum inadvertently baked into the dough, but today advanced hygiene standards are upheld.

“With regard to hygiene and product safety, the bakery sector has made a remarkable leap forward in recent years,” explains Habasit`s Dry Food Industry Manager, Giuseppe Rosental. “In the past, the thinking was that everything which goes through the oven is sanitized, but today consumers are increasingly concerned about health aspects. This has led many companies to make concrete investments toward the prevention of food contamination, as well as research into application solutions which are able to satisfy the industry`s stringent demands. It is not only about the quality of prime raw materials, but also about creating a production line which supports safety and hygiene at every stage of manufacturing.”

Habasit has developed unique products for the bakery industry with hygiene in mind, such as the Habasit Cleanline® Generation II featuring a further improved polyolefin coating with increased wear resistance and a longer belt life. These high oil and fat resistant TPO coated belts offer excellent release qualities for sticky dough alongside easy and reliable cleanability.

Whether handling dough, cooling baked products, molding, proofing, cutting or packaging, Habasit has a belt for every application. “It is hard to specify one special product for the industry,” says Giuseppe Rosental, “because we have more than 400 products to choose from to find the most suitable one for any kind of application.”

The list is indeed long from HabasitLINK® plastic modular belts, to HabaCHAIN® plastic chains to HabaSYNC® timing belts, to Habasit Cleandrive™ with positive drive and fabric belts with TPU, TPO PVC, Silicon surfaces and various embossing structure, just to name a few.

Habasit also provides spiral belts for proofing, cooling and freezing loaves. Spirals provide efficient use of space in factories where a long straight conveying system is not possible.

Accessories like cleats, edge-sealing profiles and side-walls enable improved performance and hygiene upgrades for any conveying system, and each product can be equipped with X-ray and metal detectable features.

Alongside such a wide range of products, the greatest advantage for Habasit`s customers is the global network of expertise available around the clock. A damaged belt can often be repaired or exchanged in a matter of hours due to on-hand service personnel with an extensive stock of products available. In factories where thousands of loaves of bread are made each day, this can mean significant savings in avoiding production failure and downtime.

History made fresh everyday

At the forefront of the bread industry, Habasit stands as a reliable and quality provider of complete solutions for every stage of production. Bread has always been an essential ingredient of human history, and Habasit will always be the number one partner for making the perfect loaf. (ST)

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