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Post-baking processes

7.1 Run out of the oven band and stripping biscuits from the
band
A flat blade or a set of fine fingers bearing on the oven band as it
curves downwards on the terminal drum is designed to lift the
products clear and transfer them with minimum damage and
minimum disruption to the relative positioning of the biscuits. The
blade or set of fingers is known as the stripping knife. The biscuits
are pushed by successive rows of biscuits onto the frst cooling
conveyor or fall onto a cross conveyor. The first cooling conveyor is
usually quite short and may be wire mesh or cloth fabric. It is
possible to retract the nose piece of this conveyor immediately
behind the oven stripping knife or fingers so that burnt or bad
biscuits may fall down onto a cross conveyor to be collected for scrap
(see Fig. 7). The whole unit is known as the oven stripper and is
powered by the oven drive. Its speed is usually slightly faster than
the oven band to allow some separation of the rows of biscuits.
stripping knife

I/

.-

stripping conveyor

cross conveyor

Fig. 7 A reject system before oven stripper conveyor.

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Biscuit, cookie and cracker manufacturing manuals

Should the oven band stop during production, for example, as a


result of a power failure, it is necessary to move the oven band either
using an auxiliary power source or by means of a handle. In either
case, there is usually a short delay before the oven band is moved
again. Initially it will move then rather slowly. Under these
conditions it is not unusual for product to emerge from the oven
and to catch fire. It is important that this hot product does not fall
onto any canvas cooling conveyors or they may ignite and the fire
may spread. T h e oven stripper conveyor, if made of wire mesh,
provides a safe buffer from which burning product can be swept onto
the floor or into suitable containers.

7.2 Electronic drying


Instead of passing from the oven band onto cooling conveyors the
biscuits may be passed onto a non-metallic conveyor and passed
through a radio frequency drying unit.
The conveyor and biscuits pass between sets of electrodes above
and below the conveyor. An alternating electronic field, at radio
frequency, is established between the electrodes and this passes
through the biscuits and preferentially heats the wettest parts by
activating the water molecules. The spacing between the electrodes
has to be critically tuned to achieve the maximum heating action
from the electronic field.
Water that is heated in the biscuits is driven to the surface and
lost. In this way moisture gradients which may persist after baking
and which could result in checking, are reduced significantly.
Conventional baking ovens are inefficient in removing the last traces
of moisture from biscuits. They are much better for developing
structure and for colouring the dough pieces. Using an electronic
drier allows biscuits to leave the oven much wetter than usual SO that
the baking time can be reduced and production from the oven
increased. It is claimed that by using post-oven dielectric drying it is
possible to increase the output of a conventional oven by up to 33%
although this is a rather optimistic claim.
This process is limited by the fact that semi-baked biscuits must
be rigid enough to be transferred from the oven band over a stripping
knife and onto a canvas conveyor. The closer the drier is to the oven
mouth the better,. as the hotter the biscuits are as they go into the
drier the more effective is the heating from the dielectric field.

Post-baking processes

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7.3 Oil spraying


In an alternative process, biscuits leaving the oven band pass into an
oil coating unit. For many savoury cracker biscuits, and also some
other types, a dressing of oil is given while the biscuits are still hot.
Immediately after the biscuits are taken from the oven band they are
passed through a unit where they are sprayed with warm vegetable
oil. The oil is distributed either from pressure nozzles, spinning discs
or by electrostatic charge. All types except the last tend to be messy
because fine droplets of oil form a fog that will drift from the spray
unit unless there is positive extraction and filtering.
T h e biscuits are carried through the unit on open wire conveyors.
The oil dressing, applied at around 510% of the biscuit weight,
greatly improves the appearance of the biscuit surface, enhancing the
colour, and adds to the eating quality. T h e excess oil falls through
the conveyor and is recycled. I n some cases flavoured oil is applied.
This is a useful technique for applying flavour to savoury or hard
sweet types that would otherwise be lost if added into the dough
before baking. T h e main problem associated with flavoured oil is
that it contaminates the cooling conveyors used to hold the biscuits
when they leave the oil spray unit and the smell may fill the packing
area of the factory.