High Speed Loaf Cake Cutting

Challenge

Our customer asked us to build a high-speed cutting system for iced loaf cakes.  This machine would need to make 900 slices per minute.  It must be capable of cutting iced and frosted cakes as well as some products with inclusions like nuts and chocolate chips.  The customer’s primary concern was making clean quality cuts while maximizing loaf yield.  Cakes are released in sets of 4 from a spiral freezer that cannot be stopped for any reason.

Application Details

Cake types:  Banana Nut, Pumpkin, Marble, Lemon, Apple, Chocolate and Cream Cheese

Icing:  Some frosted and some plain

Cake temperature:  Frozen 8 to 30 F (-13 to -1 C)

Production rate:  Up to 902 slices per minute

Starting loaf dimensions:  7.5″L x 4″W x 2.5″ to 4.5″H (190 x 100 x 64 to 114mm)

Slice thickness:  0.7” to 1.1” (17mm to 28mm)

Control platform:  Allen-Bradley / Dukane Ultrasonics

Electrical:  480V/60Hz/3P

Project Solution

Due to the high speed and high volume of this application, Marchant Schmidt recommended a gang cutting solution. This slowed down the cutting operation and gave more control of the slice discharge.

 

We begin by grouping 3 sets of 4 loaves so we can present 12 loaves to the cutter simultaneously.  This is achieved automatically through a series of staging conveyors and a wide diverger conveyor.

 

Ultrasonic knife technology is ideal for sticky applications and processes with semi-hard inclusions.

 

In the first cut station, the butt ends are removed and drop away as the loaf is conveyed to the slice cut section.  Cut count and portion size are set on the HMI and are easily retrieved from saved recipes.  Discharge can be configured as individual slice, shingled continuous or sets of shingled slices.

 

Since this is a batch cutter that pauses with each set of 12 loaves, it was important that we developed a 10-pocket conveyor system that accumulates, closes gaps and provides a continuous stream of portions to the robotic packaging system downstream.