Stable Micro Systems has added calculations to its non-contact laser-based volume measurement instrument to respond to industry needs.
Calculations to the software on the Volscan Profiler enable bakers to optimise packaging quantities and their products, said the firm.
The original machine was launched in 2007 and offers advantages over contact and displacement techniques, which purely measure volume.
Manufacturers of sandwich loaves can verify whether their finished diagonally cut sandwiches will fit into the desired packaging, via determination of the bread’s maximum height and width.
This ensures product volume and packaging are matched, helping bakers maintain cost efficiencies by reducing waste of product and packaging material.
A product is mounted at each end and is then weighed and scanned by a laser, which measures its contours at selectable intervals while it rotates.
Bread loaf size
Jo Smewing, applications manager at Stable Micro Systems, said for manufacturers of bread loaves it is important that diagonally cut, prepared sandwiches fit into standard triangular sandwich packs.
“The sandwich should not be too small in its packaging nor should it be too large so that the sandwich deforms when it’s fitted into the packaging,” she told this site.
“The same concept applies when wrapping circular products, such as bread rolls or baguettes. Manufacturers need to know how much packaging is required to optimally cover the product."
Data from the assessment is saved in a spreadsheet and includes volume, length, maximum width and height, height at the maximum width and width at the maximum height, said Smewing.
“The results are then further manipulated to provide a full dimensional analysis. As a result, bakers of circular breads or sandwich loaves are now able to choose the right packaging based on these findings.”
Bakers of circular baguettes and artisan rolls can measure the circumference of the section with the largest diameter to discover the minimum length of packaging material required to fit around the product to enclose it.
A further calculation measures the minimum enclosing circle. The smallest circle that can encompass all of the data points of the largest scanned slice is virtually fitted to the finished scanned product.
This enables bakers to estimate the diameter of packaging needed to contain the product without deformation.
The Volscan Profiler can handle products that weigh up to 3kg, measure up to 600mm in length and have a diameter of up to 350mm and can provide results in less than 60 seconds.
It can be used in research and development, quality assurance, process control, academic research for millers, bakeries, food ingredient suppliers, food research institutes and universities
Smewing said keeping costs down is essential across the industry.
“Packaging materials are expensive so manufacturers are keen to optimise their use,” she said.
“Ensuring that their products have the right volume and fit into the chosen packaging is key, in particular when recipes are being changed or new product lines introduced.
“With the Volscan Profiler bread manufacturers are able to quickly determine what packaging is needed and how recipes, processing and baking affect the volume of their product, reducing both food and packaging waste.”