Handling Automation: Working with Trays and Pans

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Product carriers play an important role in baking facilities. Bakeware specialist Kempf shares expertise on working with trays in baking facilities, and on what benefits different types of trays bring to the manufacturing line and operations – to best match them with the product.

Support trays for the baking industry come in a variety of materials and shapes. Customization is key as it greatly impacts process results and the end product characteristics. “Support trays and pans can be customized to fulfil the technical requirements of baking lines and products by using different materials on frames, baking surfaces and coatings,” Humberto Karam explains. To recommend optimum specifications, Kempf follows basic engineering rules as well as over 40 years of experience it accumulated in the bakery sector.

There are innumerous possible customs designs that can be achieved with bakeware, each with its functionalities to best match the production environment. Here are the main ones, according to the specialist from Kempf:

  • “Convoluted trays for baguettes and other products with a similar shape: stainless-steel frame; aluminum screen with different sizes of round perforations; different coating solutions.
  • Flat top trays for various types of bread and pastry products: stainless-steel frame; solid or perforated aluminum screen; fixation with or without rivets; various coating solutions.
  • Indented trays for long shelf-life croissants and buns: stainless-steel frame; alu-steel top; special Teflon coating.
  • Tin sets for breads and cakes: deep-drawn alu-steel tins; different number of tins and configurations.


– Stable profile frame with “edge bumper”

– Single corrugated tins

– Perforated tins

– Double or reinforced frame

– Matching lid with vents

  • Peelboards made of different materials, such as plastic or coated metal; textile-free; hygienic; easy to clean.
  • Several types of non-stick coatings: fluoropolymers (e.g. Teflon) and silicone-rubber.”

Trays for the right process

On new developments of industrial bakeware, Kempf usually tests its trays or tin sets at the facilities of the manufacturer of the line or at the customers’ plants. “On coatings, we also carry out tests at the labs of our suppliers of raw materials. We cooperate with all key players involved in the process,” explains Karam.

The different materials used for trays each brings their own sets of benefits. Aluminium alloy AlMn trays are flat and convoluted, either solid or perforated. They allow excellent heat transfer, are very light weight and moldable while retaining the desired shapes for a long time. This type of trays is rustproof and optimal for non-stick coatings.

Alusteel (FAl) or aluminized steel is used for deep-drawn tins and indented pans. This, too, allows for great heat transfer and is excellent for deep-drawing process (deep tins/pans). It is highly resistant to heat, which is importing for recoating of tins, explains the specialist. This material makes tins/pans robust (shock-resistant), and optimal for non-stick coatings – they can be recoated several times.

Stainless-steel is the material generally going into trays and frames of industrial trays. It’s “great for building frames of industrial trays, as it is very robust, long lasting and reusable”. Stainless steel also comes with the benefit of being rustproof.

Product handling

While a wide range of product categories can share the same type of trays/pans, here are some suggestions of how they can be grouped (keeping in mind that “there are many product categories and possibilities,” underlines Kempf’s representative):

  • Crusty breads, ciabatta: flat and convoluted trays
  • Sandwich bread, loaves, cakes, etc.: tin sets
  • Hamburger and hot-dog buns: indented trays

As for handling during manufacturing, the bakeware and coatings made by the German specialist can be adapted “to work with almost all depanning processes (pushers, fingers, vacuum, etc.)”.

A close look at coatings

How should coating types be chosen, according to products manufactured and manufacturing equipment/processes? Given that there are so many the factors to be considered, “there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” warns Karam, and this is where the line and product manufacturer can decide together. Here are two examples.

Characteristics of silicone rubber coatings include:

  • Heat resistance up to 300°C;
  • Hygroscopic properties;
  • Non-stick and anti-slip properties: often important to avoid that frozen products move and fall from the trays while being moved on the line;
  • Only for baking trays;
  • Available colors: red and grey.

This coating is very popular on convoluted trays for the production of crusty products, such as baguette; it can also be used on flat trays for crusty products.

Fluoropolymers have the following benefits:

  • High abrasion and heat resistance;
  • Great cost/benefit ratio;
  • Extended release life;
  • Improved sanitation;
  • Many customized solutions, according to the products and process, but also the customer’s budget.

Tray automation

Kempf can offer many different solutions, according to the system and the products. “We can adapt to most technical requirements of our industry. However, we see a trend towards using more elaborated fluoropolymers, such as our KG-Flon 704 green, which is a great Teflon, full of benefits for our customers:

  • Special and complex application process
  • Excellent non-stick properties
  • Heat resistance around 270°C
  • Outstanding durability
  • Can achieve over 5,000 releases!
  • Very often achieving 3x more baking cycles than other coatings
  • Especially suitable for industrial bakeries: pans/tins and trays
  • Easy-to-clean.”

As production lines are increasingly becoming automated, this will also include handling with trays – processes that help with labor costs, save time and resources. Karam explains: “We strongly believe that a great coating can make a huge difference. There is a lot of high-technology involved in the development of fluoropolymers and its application. Kempf has been investing a lot of resources in the modernization of our automatic coating lines, which are certified by Chemours (see below) and for sure one of the most modern in Europe. We continue to work close together with our suppliers to look for innovative solutions that make our bakeware better.

  • TIBS: Teflon Industrial Bakery Solutions
  • Licensed applicator & marketer of Chemours Teflon Coatings for bakeware
  • Exclusive Partner for Germany
  • Access to new developments
  • Strict specifications on quality, process and equipment
  • Several joint developments.”

Source: World Bakers