Automated pretzel buttering - 2nd Quarter 2018 - Siemens Digital Factory & Process Ind. & Drives - Motion Control
 
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Automated pretzel buttering
2nd Quarter 2018, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components


To simplify and speed up the manual process of spreading butter on pretzels, MFDO UG based in Althütte in Baden-Württemberg has developed a machine capable of automated pretzel buttering. The machine is fitted with system components such as Logo! 8 and Simatic operator panels from Siemens, and enables pretzels to be spread with butter twice as quickly as the traditional manual method.

As a snack between meals, for breakfast or when out and about, the simple buttered pretzel traditionally enjoys enormous popularity in Germany – and demand is growing. Manually cutting and spreading butter in the bakery for hungry punters waiting in line can become highly stressful at the busiest times. Electrician Dieter Obertautsch and designer Michael Feil from Althütte in Swabia – an area of Germany renowned for its creators and inventors – put their heads together to come up with a solution. They founded the company MFDO UG, and set about developing and building a machine for automatic buttered pretzel production. At the press of a button, the machine pumps butter into the pretzels. The technology used to control the machine and the process comes from Siemens. It takes around ten seconds to turn a plain pretzel into a buttery treat.

Precisely metered into the pretzel

“When we started our development work, we first needed to find out if the idea of injecting the butter would even work,” says Feil, recalling the early days of the project now 10 years ago. “We tried it out using a needle head and silicon press – to discover we had the perfect buttered pretzel.” Despite this early success, it quickly became evident that there would be challenges to meet along the way which could not be easily overcome using what was initially a purely mechanical prototype. When cold butter is hard straight from the fridge, for instance, it takes a relatively high level of force to press it through the needle into the pretzel. The solution was found in the form of a motor to press the butter through the injection needle. To ensure that the right portion of butter was ideally controlled, the two developers opted to use Logo! 8 from Siemens. “We were impressed both by the cost-to-performance ratio and also the compact design,” recalls Feil. “In addition, the software with its modular structure and the easy connection of functions using drag and drop allows simple project engineering even by non-professional programmers.”

Big plans

Operation is also extremely simple. Once programmed, the operator only has to start the sequence for each pretzel by pressing a button. The correctly portioned quantity of butter is pressed out of the metal container through the needle into the pretzel by a pressing rod. A lamp indicates when the supply of butter is running low in the container. “Our machine takes around ten seconds to turn a plain pretzel into a buttered one, and the butter quantity is precisely portioned so that none of the pretzels come off worse than others,” explains Feil. With all these benefits, not only does the machine double the production speed compared to manual buttering, it also ensures a consistent standard of quality. Users can keep an eye on the portioning process at all times using an optional KP300 Simatic Basic Panel and adjust it if necessary. The machine can be conveniently operated and monitored using the supplementary module for remote communication with the aid of a smartphone app. The second machine generation now also optionally comes with active electrical cooling. “This ensures that the butter stays fridge-cold at all times for that freshly prepared taste – even in summer,” says a delighted Feil. To allow industrial production of buttered pretzels in large quantities, MFDO UG is planning to bring out a machine with a larger butter container and injection variants for different fillings such as nut paste.

For more information contact Jennifer Naidoo, Siemens Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives, +27 (0)11 652 2795, jennifer.naidoo@siemens.com, www.siemens.co.za


Credit(s)
Supplied By: Siemens Digital Factory & Process Ind. & Drives
Tel: +27 11 652 2382
Fax: 086 506 6149
Email: vikesh.harikaran@siemens.com
www: www.siemens.co.za
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