Handling systems

Baked products need very gentle handling after cooling as they are transferred to the wrapping and packaging stations

The handling of the products after cooling is a critical step in the production process. Experience and know-how, coupled with proven conveyor design are fundamental to guarantee a high production efficiency for the whole line whilst preventing damage to the finished product.

Product stacking is a critical phase where expertise in fragile material handling is essential to achieve high efficiency in production. Depending on the type of products being manufactured, GEA has developed two stacking systems to handle biscuits or crackers after cooling prior to presentation to the packaging system.

Strips breaking
Top rollers gently break the strips to create single portions

The products may be either aligned and channeled and then gently separated to form single portions, or alternatively, they may be diverted into guides for automated product stacking prior to packaging. Strips of crackers, for example, are aligned and then passed through a set of top rollers, where they are gently separated into single portions.

Channeling board and penny stacker
Channeling board and penny stacker

Systems commonly used to stack the finished baked products: 

  • The penny stacker is more flexible and can handle a wider range of products. It comprises a set of conveyors that run at different speeds, causing the products to overlap as they pass from the faster conveyor to the slower one. 
  • The star wheel system uses a rotating, star-shaped shaft that takes the products and turns them on their edge and onto a separate conveyor.
Star wheel stacking system
Star wheel stacking system for biscuits

The stacked products are then fed automatically to the wrapping machines via automated loaders.