To assist customers in overcoming complexities in the installation process and reducing downtime, GEA is offering to preassemble bakery oven modules at its production facility in Verona, Italy.

“The aim of plug-and-play ovens is to speed up the installation process, in order to reduce production downtime at the customer facility,” says Mario Da Ros, senior director project management, GEA. “Preassembled ovens are a great way to ensure a high-quality installation phase of our ovens, given that it is mainly carried out at our own facility.”

At the start of the project to create a plug-and-player service, GEA engineers carried out a theoretical study on an oven that was 65 meters long and 1.2 meters wide. Considering factors such as the conveyor belt and the fuel and heating system used, a good estimate of the time needed to install the disassembled oven is around 45 days. With the plug-and-play option, installation time is reduced to as little as 20 days. This study looked at both the mechanical assembly and electrical connections but did not include commissioning.

The benefits of the plug-and-play option were recently demonstrated during the installation of a large oven for an overseas customer.

 “In December 2023, we delivered a 124 meter long and 1.6 meter wide oven to Indonesia,” says Gianluca Dolci, senior director, project execution, GEA. “We managed to display all 58 pre-assembled modules in five days, which meant that GEA electricians could start working on the oven at the customer’s site at the same time as GEA mechanics, a huge advantage that guarantees a much faster installation.”

In this case, the oven took four weeks instead of eight thanks to the pre-assembled modules.

Plug-and-play ovens reduce labor costs, as the total number of people working on the line is reduced, both for mechanics and electricians. In particular, the need for highly specialized personnel is no longer fundamental, as the most complex operations are carried out during the pre-assembly of the modules at GEA’s production site.

Additionally, by installing plug-and-play ovens, the baker no longer comes into contact with the rock wool used to insulate the baking chamber. This is important for the safety for the operators and guarantees lower costs for the producers because the workers need less personal protective equipment. Furthermore, without rock wool management, it is no longer necessary to isolate the production environment to avoid the risk of contamination with other production lines in operation during the installation process.