SEW-Eurodrive is assisting the bakery industry in improving efficiencies and reducing its energy consumption by means of the introduction of its Movigear mechatronic drive system. The drive specialist has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Dale Spiral Systems & Bakery Automation of Johannesburg.
“The main advantage of Movigear is that the combination of servo motor, gear unit, and electronics are combined in a single unit that is highly reliable and hygienically designed. Apart from reducing startup costs, it also plays a vital role in cutting total operating costs in an industry where pricing is the main factor,” says Dale operations director, Adam Sweeting.
The company was established in 1998 by Chris and Jill Dale, who sought to transfer their considerable expertise in bread conditioning and cooling gained in the UK to South Africa. Twenty years later, the company is an acknowledged global leader in its field, holding a number of patents, and continually developing new equipment and systems in response to client requirements.
Conditioning or cooling extends the shelf life of bread significantly, as well as limiting the weight loss during the process, with much less handling required than traditional systems. The OEM has evolved from supplying conveyor systems only to a turnkey solutions approach that encompasses all ancillary equipment, from ovens to provers, spirals, conveyors, mixing and robotics. “We have taken 20-year-old machines and reconditioned them to an ‘as new’ condition. Our extensive experience in this regard has allowed us to develop our own equipment that improves on existing systems, under ten different trademarks such as Bakermation, Coolermation, and Mixermation,” Sweeting explains.
Dale initially approached SEW-Eurodrive to supply drives for its conveyor products, including its own Blue Belt range in either acetyl or polypropylene. Teething problems with suppliers eventually resulted in the company standardising on the German drives due to their reliability, range of power options and ability to maintain a constant torque rating.
The drive to promote Movigear in the bakery industry will allow the OEM to increase its market penetration by focusing on refurbishing existing systems, many of which are out-of-date, and hence not equipped with the latest energy-saving and monitoring equipment. “While the initial capital outlay is perceived as the main stumbling block for such a conversion, we educate customers as to the long-term benefits and the impact on total cost of ownership and return on investment,” explains sales representative, Nick McKey.
Energy-intensive industries such as bakeries and food and beverage plants are increasingly looking to reducing their energy consumption, which is where the one-fit Movigear systems stands to play a major role. Features include a high overall efficiency of all components, from the motor to the gear unit and electronics, an optimised interface between the motor and gear unit, a permanent field synchronous motor, highly efficient gearings, smart control methods, IE4 (Super Premium Efficiency) compliance, and a compact design and optimised housing.
Another major benefit of the Movigear system is that any future automation that may be required can be integrated seamlessly. Additional options such as trouble-shooting and problem-solving can also be accommodated if need be. Bakeries often have limited space, which means that the reduction in cabling and smaller cabinets required by Moviegear is a major benefit.
“There are proactive clients in the bakery industry who are keen on moving forward with new technology such as Movigear, which will definitely give them a leading edge in this highly competitive and price sensitive industry,” Sweeting comments. Another major benefit for customers is the aftermarket support and technical backup offered by the drive supplier.
The strong relationship between the two companies is testament to how SEW-Eurodrive focuses on the specific requirements of a particular industry, focusing on the best products that can be used for a turnkey solution that is also modular and adaptable to future needs.
Commenting on the current state of the bread industry, Sweeting concludes that while there has been a lull in Greenfield projects such as new production lines and facilities, there is a definite opportunity for sustained growth in the southern African region for upgrades to the latest mechatronics technology and automation systems.
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