A partnership between UK manufacturer of hotplate baking equipment Sugden and US firm Forpak brings 'Grouper' stacking equipment to the market for reducing human contamination and labour costs.
The Forpak "Grouper" stacker model GS, a keypad selectable stacking machine unit, counts and creates vertical stacks of products such as waffles, pancakes and crumpets.
The manufacturers claim "their equipment complement each other and give an equipment solution from make up to packaging".
The stacks of products, that range from potato cakes to biscuits, are fed from the machine unit onto a continuous conveyor belt where they can be fed downstream to automated packaging equipment, or manually packed into boxes or trays.
According to the two equipment firms, the system also incorporates an indexing product accumulation conveyor that can act as a time buffer between baking and packing operations "in the event of a malfunction at the packaging equipment".
For larger food products in excess of 457mm (18") in diameter, such as pitta bread and pizza crust, Forpak has rolled out the GS II version, which has the same capabilities as the GS model.
For both models in the GS line, a paper feed option can be introduced into the system "for interleaving between individual pieces of products".
"This makes the Forpak Grouper ideal for stacking bakery products," said Forpak, a division of US-based company MultiSource.
Privately-owned Sugden, that designs and makes bespoke hotplate plants for the production of foods such as soda bread, names McDonalds in its client portfolio.
"An American owned group was looking to replace one of their muffin plants in Germany. We eventually won the order based upon the superiority of our plant, the first non-American plant producing muffins for McDonalds," said the UK firm.