Integrating automation in the production of baked goods – Pie machines

Everybody loves pie. The process of making pies however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The primary problem with manual pie-making is the time consumed and irregularity in shape and size.


Manual pie-making:


  • The production line was unable to meet production demands
  • Reconfiguring old machinery for speed was not practical because of its heavy construction.


Integrated efficiencies by Graybill machines


Graybill Machines’ and their customer analyzed the desired production goals and operational outcomes. Graybill conceptualized and designed a new pie makeup line that integrated process efficiencies and flexibility throughout all stages (to precisely and swiftly sheet, shape, and cut the dough, integrate the customer’s existing fruit fillers, apply top crusts, seal and crimp) and met written production goals and pie specifications.


The new pie-machine:

The new machine is built on a rugged stainless-steel tubular Dean-style open-frame design that provides easier access for preventive maintenance and washdown. The new in-line machinery is variable-speed, product flexible, “on-the-fly” adjustable, two lanes, and recycles its own dough scrap.


The new line can run two-crust fruit pies and pie shells simultaneously; pie size and crimp-style is interchanged as well. It can adjust weights, deposit start and stop points, provide dough centering or stretch, and change flavors, by way of Graybill's Convenient Control human machine interface (HMI). At 120 to 250 pies per minute, the pie machines make everybody’s favorites by the truckload.


Easy as pie


The customer can now mix special ingredients; load the dough, the fillings, and press “go”; and watch this hands-free machinery craft quality pies ready for ovens or freezers. This results in lower labor production costs with greater flexibility and higher material usage. The company can introduce new products more quickly with a flexible production line. The customer’s machinery is a well-crafted and robust stainless-steel tubular frame outfitted for years of repeatable and dependable cycles. The new pie makeup machinery is designed with quality components, fully functional, and tested before delivery and installation.


Flexibility improvements include:

• Ability to run multiple products simultaneously with some changes made on-the-fly

• Changeable pie sizes and shapes, crimping styles—large and small

• Gains in production scheduling flexibility

• Adjust pie makeup from one HMI location: weights, volumes, stretch, rate, etc.


Efficiency improvements:

• Higher dough usage rates because of scrap recycling

• Total “scrap to product rate” ratio improvements because of fewer changeover shutdowns

• Two-lane configuration doubles customer capacity potential

• Easier maintenance and washdown accessibility encourages proper machine care.


Why Automation?


Automation improves quality, throughput of baked goods. Automated machines improve safety, decrease risk. The return on investment (ROI) was half the estimate.