Expro turns to APV Baker to help double capacity

Related tags Apv baker Baker Biscuit Baking

Expro, one of the biggest producers of crackers and sweet biscuits
in the Guatemalan market, has installed two additional production
lines from the UK's APV Baker group to help it double its capacity
and pursue aggressive growth into export markets in Central America
and the Caribbean.

Expro is the dominant biscuit manufacturer in Guatemala, and although the company is already active on the export market, it is keen to expand its operations in this area - a strategy which clearly requires additional capacity.

"Sales have been continually expanding over the past three or four years - but we were reaching the output limits of our existing systems,"​ said production manager Juan Pablo Castro.

One of the new lines from APV Baker produces a range of moulded cookies in a variety of flavours, the majority packaged specifically for the snack market. The second line makes a variety of crackers and hard biscuits - include oil-sprayed crackers, animal crackers, Maria and Petit Beurre.

The cookie line combines process technology from APV Baker in the USA and the UK. Forming is achieved by rotary moulding, and baking in a gas fired recirculation oven. Most cookies are then sandwiched, and presentation for packaging achieved in two pile pack creamers, which produce snack packs for vending and lunch boxes.

These machines are reaching combined outputs of 1,500 sandwiches per minute, configured as two piles of either two or three sandwiches. "Output is excellent. The cookie line is running at 93 per cent efficiency,"​ said Castro.

The 1.2 metre wide cracker line also combines technology from APV Baker in the USA and UK. A laminator and cutting section is used for forming, with baking in a 40 meter long Direct Gas Fired oven; an oil spray is included post-oven. Maximum output is one ton per hour, but there is in-built flexibility to increase this to fulfil future requirements.

"We are very pleased with the new lines: this is extremely efficient, high technology equipment,"​ said Castro. "We are already utilising most of our new capability, and expect sales to expand to absorb the rest of the capacity in the near future."

APV Baker​ is working increasingly closely with customers such as Expro, offering them the chance to see its technological expertise put into practice before choosing the equipment which is best for them.

With this is mind, the company recently opened a new Bakery Innovation Centre at its Peterborough headquarters in the UK, presenting potential customers with the chance to see a complete, working bakery with a broad range of equipment from mixing through to baking.

"The Innovation Centre demonstrates our commitment to supporting customers by offering facilities that help improve their processes and profits by taking advantage of new developments. It also offers practical solutions to production problems,"​ said APV Baker president David Marshall.

"Bakers can try out new product ideas or process improvements in a controlled and confidential environment, without consuming valuable production capacity on their own plant, and using their own ingredients if required."

Among the new developments from APV Baker on show at the Innovation Centre are innovations in moulding, dividing and baking technology, robotic solutions for operations such as depanning and using condition monitoring technology to reduce unplanned downtime.

APV Baker is the world's largest supplier of high-output bakery systems, with solutions covering every type of bread, roll, cake and pizza.

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