Food Engineering

FieldReports:Sweet success

March 22, 2003
A volumatic feeding system brings consistency and flexibility to a cookie line



Davis Cookie Company, the exclusive distributor of Archway Cookies in Pennsylvania, decided that the quantity of sugar sprinkled on its confections with a sugar belt system provided neither an attractive appearance nor a quality product.

Established in 1952, the company employs three shifts and utilizes a 39-in.-wide by 150-ft.-long baker oven. However, inconsistency was a major problem as a result of a "double flip method" in which the cookies were flipped top-down on to the belt, coated with sugar and then flipped right-side-up again before being sent through ovens for baking.

In 1999, Davis Cookie decided to address the issue by upgrading its production system. According to company president Dana Davis, the cookie-maker approached Eriez Magnetics about developing a volumatic feeding system that would provide storage for the sugar, as well as an even waterfall flow of the product on cookies traveling on the baking belt. Davis Cookie subsequently installed a special portable volumatic feeder consisting of a triangular-shaped storage hopper with an adjustable gate opening for the control of the sugar flow. The linear motion of the vibratory feeder provided an even and thorough flow of sugar on to the cookies, resulting in a better-quality end-product for Davis Cookie.

A unique adjustable support framework was built round the conveyor system, complete with a crank that adjusts the height of the feeder from just a fraction of an inch above the cookies to several inches. The feeder is also adaptable for use at more than one location on the belt. This allows the company to decorate special-occasion confections, such as iced Christmas cookies that receive a sprinkle topping after the baking and icing process.

The entire system provided Davis Cookie with quality results including less product damage, consistent coverage and less waste. The company is now considering an additional volumatic feeder for a new belt line project, which would include using nuts and candy pieces to top off their cookies.

Eriez Hi-Vi Volumatic Feeders provide dual vibratory action to assure the proper flow of dry bulk material to measured discharge rates. These one-piece assemblies are ideal for use in conjunction with weigh scales, packaging and bagging equipment, small batch operations, and operations where additive feeding is being performed either continuously or intermittently. Models are available in two standard sizes and numerous special designs with variable feed rates ranging from a few pounds to 15 tons per hour.

Eriez Magnetics, 2200 Asbury Rd., Erie, PA 16506. Tel. (814) 835-6000; fax 9814) 838-4960