SEEPEX rises to the challenge of viscous waste at ciabatta bread factory

An on-site trial at a ciabatta bakery has demonstrated that it is possible to successfully pump viscous, sticky dough products, even when they are mixed with baked bread. SEEPEX UK’s customised enclosed, automated waste removal solution has optimised the bakery’s waste handling process, reducing labour and improving hygiene levels in the production area.

Understanding the problem

The owners of a ciabatta bakery identified the manual removal of its waste bread and dough as an inefficient task. In a bid to find an alternative solution to reduce manpower, improve hygiene standards and optimise the waste removal process, they approached progressive cavity (PC) pump supplier, SEEPEX UK.

“The challenge was not just that dough is a difficult substance to pump but also, that the variety of materials being handled behave so differently,” explains Joao Rodrigues, Applications Engineer. “Dough is a highly viscous product – it is dense, wet and sticky; fresh bread is light and compressible; and waste bread is hard and non-flowable.”

A sophisticated solution

The solution proposed by SEEPEX comprises a BTM open hopper pump with an auger that mixes the different products and prevents them from bridging in the hopper. It also contains integral static and rotating knives which produce a pumpable consistency. This then passes into the pumping elements of the stator and rotor, and is transferred through enclosed pipework into the removal lorries.

The existing manual system often resulted in waste product falling or being dropped onto the factory floor, creating an unhygienic and hazardous environment. Movement of waste from production areas to the outside of the bakery also presented further hygiene problems.

In contrast, the only open part of the new solution is the hopper, into which waste product is loaded. Every other part is enclosed, meaning there is no need for anyone to enter and exit the factory. The reduction of spillage also keeps the factory floor clean and tidy.

The fully automated solution only requires one person to load product into the hopper, freeing resources for production. Furthermore, the pump only starts running when there is product to handle and stops the moment the hopper is empty, making it an extremely energy-efficient solution.

Joao concludes: “Viscous, sticky dough products are notoriously difficult to pump. This solution offers bakeries an efficient, safe and hygienic way to dispose of their viscous, sticky and non-flowable waste.”