Sobatech is a Dutch specialist in continuous systems for the industrial production of dough. These can be all kinds of dough’s for a wide range of products: cookies & biscuits, toast & sandwich bread, rolls & buns, croissant & pastry, baguette & pizza, etc.
Continuous dough production allows the bakery an increased control of the process of dough make-up. Process control means a constant quality and 'look & feel' of the end-product and, more importantly, a constant and high weight accuracy. This represents a significant decrease and control of the costs per product.
How is this achieved?
Process control means an accurate measuring and then precise regulation of all the process parameters that influence the quality of the output, in the case of Sobatech: dough.
The process control, in the widest sense of the word, that a Sobatech system provides is realized through:
1) Constant measurement & control of dough measurement.
2) High accuracy dosing of solid & liquid ingredients, including pre-dough & mother-dough.
3) Constant measurement of kneading energy.
4) Liquid ingredients injected in stream of solids.
5) Homogenizer for large contact surface between solid & liquid ingredients.
6) All solid ingredients are exposed to the same quantity of liquid ingredients.
7) High efficiency in kneading intensity & dough development.
8) Fully automated & recipe controlled dough production.
9) Controlled return of re-work in dough stream.
10) Integrated CIP system.
12) Constant monitoring & data logging of ingredient consumption & dough output.
13) Continuous process: first in - first out.
14) Small foot print.
15) Integration & communication with dough make-up line.
16) Open source software and graphical operator interface.
All this results in:
a) No head-tail effect, always the same dough all the time: constant dough quality at every step in the process, no variations in dough on make-up line.
b) Constant dough temperature, all the time: constant dough quality & characteristics.
c) Constant and always the same development of the dough and the gluten structure.
d) Maximum water absorption by the flour: higher water content in the dough.
e) Optimal conditions for active ingredients: possibility to reduce yeast & improver consumption.
f) Very even distribution of liquid ingredients over total quantity of solid ingredients.
g) Lower energy consumption needed in dough making process.
h) Less cooling needed for maintaining the required dough temperature: higher flour temperatures can be used while still keeping the correct temperature of the dough.
i) Dough friendly feed-back of re-work: no additional kneading of re-work, no overdeveloped re-work dough.
j) Dough production independent from operator.
k) Minimum number of people needed for dough production: centralised process control.
l) Easy & automatic in-place cleaning: reduced recipe change-over times.
m) No dough loss during change-over.
n) Optimal control of dough making process by constant measurement of ingredients & process parameters.
o) Dough production automatically adjusted to demand from make-up line: maximum weight accuracy, simple supply to multiple make-up lines.
p) User friendly, easy to operate & maintain.
q) A high capacity dough output in a small space.
How does it work?
The Sobatech continuous system has 3 stages which all operate on the basis of 'first in - first out'.
The objective of the Sobatech system is to produce a constant flow of dough of always the same, homogeneous consistency and always the same and correct temperature and dough development
In order to reach a constant flow of the right temperature & consistency dough, all ingredients need to be present in always the same and the correct quantities everywhere in the Sobatech mixer/kneader. Therefore, Sobatech has developed a very accurate dosing system, both hardware & software. Special attention was given to maintain a high dosing accuracy during the re-filling of the dosing hoppers. This has resulted in dedicated open-source software (no 'black box').
The dosing of the solid ingredients is done through the 'loss-in-weight' principle. Except during re-filling when there is 'gain-in-weight' situation. The Sobatech software controls the feeder screws during normal operation& re-filling of the hoppers in such a way that the dosing accuracy remains very high.
For the dosing of the liquid ingredients, high precision pumps and flow meters (mag-flow or coriolis) are used.
Liquid ingredient dosing
Sobatech handles a 2-phase mixing process. The 1st stage is the so-called homogenization phase. In this phase the dry ingredients pass through a homogenizer, coming from the dosing section. The dry ingredients enter the homogenizer from the top in very fine particles (like a dust)
When flowing through the homogenizer, the liquid ingredients are sprayed in very fine particles (like a mist) under a 90° angle in the flow of dry ingredients. This is done via a medium pressured injection system. Under these conditions a perfect hydration of
the flour is reached as well as a homogeneous distribution of the active substances in the mix. Subsequently, the flour absorbs a high quantity of water.
Each liquid ingredient uses dedicated nozzles and has a dedicated connection position on the homogenizer. This way a most optimal mix of the dry & liquid ingredients is reached.
The result is that a mass of mixed ingredients, representing already approximately 75-85% of the complete mixing cycle, leaves the homogenizer and flows into the mechanical mixer which is the 2nd stage of the mixing process. This 1st stage does not put any energy into the dough.
The mechanical mixer consists of 2 counter rotating spiral-type tools, each mounted on a separate axle. The mixing tools handle the mass very gently and provide the movement that completes the mixing phase.
From the 2nd stage of mixing the dough is automatically transferred to the kneading section. The kneading tools are mounted on the same axles as the mixing tools. Therefore there movement is combined and the connection between the 2nd mixing stage and the 1st kneading section is seamless.
Sobatech has developed specially designed tools that are counter rotating on both axles. Due to the specially designed kneading tools we are able to carry out the kneading process in defined and controlled steps where the kneading intensity is constantly measured and controlled.
The excellent kneading characteristics of both machines ensures perfectly controlled energy input into the dough. This means less energy loss in the kneader compared to a batch kneader and therefore a substantial reduction in electricity consumption.
Another innovation is provided in the form of the scrapers which allow a gentle and controlled output of the dough at the end of the kneading container. These scrapers also have the advantage that the dough is not pressed into the tool bearings.
The mixer/kneader housing is equipped with a double jacket. The cooling medium can be cold water or glycol. The control of the double jacket cooling is integrated in the software controls. When the dough temperature is too high and the process water temperature is already at the minimum, the double jacket cooling is automatically activated.