In the baking industry, the brand with the most competitive edge is the one that ensures fresh baked products make it onto the shelf every day. 

Bread makers and manufacturers must uphold the highest standards of quality in their production and packaging processes to protect the integrity of their brand and encourage customer loyalty, according to CBC’s Leon Stefanec. 

Some of the most prominent baking operations in Victoria rely on CBC, part of Motion Australia’s businesses, to connect them with the right products and suppliers, particularly bearings products. 

As National Business Development Manager for Food and Beverage, Leon frequents a lot of baking customer sites to have conversations with customers and get to know their business. “The end goal is always to work with our customers to understand their needs in order to provide the right bearings solution,” he says. 

“In the case of major baking production facilities, there are generally two parts of every plant,” he explains. “There is one area where the bread is produced, and one where the bread gets packaged.” “

For conveyors in these plants, Leon often defers to CBC’s premium bearings supplier, Schaeffler, and the X-Life bearing family which includes the INA and FAG series bearings. 

The Schaeffler X-Life design means the bearings have more endurance and a higher performance life under stress, high speeds, and dynamic loads. 

“The larger bakeries will bake the products, then put them into a chiller before they are snap frozen,” he continues. “So, they require a good bearing that will be able to withstand all those elements.”

Anywhere where there is refrigerated temperatures, Leon recommends the Schaeffler INA linear roller bearings and one or more monorail guideway assemblies. When fitted with low temperature grease, the INA bearings can handle up to freezing temperatures. 

“The entire production process is very controlled and there is great attention to the detail at every phase,” notes Leon. “The loaves come out of the oven and are removed from their pans to be chilled, before being packaged and crated for transport to the store.”

Packaging is the final phase of production and the last line of defence for quality assurance before the product gets distributed for sale. Depending on the products, a packaging area may have an assortment of machines for wrapping, filling, and sealing. 

“Wrapping and packaging applications are high speed, and there’s a lot of moisture around,” explains Leon. “This is where the Schaeffler Durotech coating on the INA ball bearings becomes a critical element in protecting the equipment from corrosion and ensuring longstanding quality performance on the application.” 

According to Leon, packaging is the most critical phase in production because that is when there is the greatest risk of error that can result in a dreaded recall. 

“Recently one of my customers pointed out to me that when there is a problem with the packaging line, then all production must be stopped, and the entire batch pulled from distribution,” he says. “All of that product will be scrapped and binned for recycling. Instead of going to stores, it will be repurposed for by-products or stock feed.”

This can incur massive costs for an operation, expending time, labour, and energy – but even more significantly, it can damage a brand’s presence in the market. 

“The danger is that if your brand doesn’t appear on the shelf, you will lose that customer to another brand,” says Leon. “So, it’s absolutely critical that bakeries need durable quality bearing products on these packaging applications to ensure reliable processes.” 

“The end goal is always to work with our customers to understand their needs and provide solutions that will reduce their operational costs, while at the same time improve their production processes,” concludes Leon.