Equipment involved in portion control is varied in its applications and abilities, but never in its level of necessity. Between a blueberry pie cut into eight equal pieces to a box of perfectly identical eclairs, depositing and slicing machinery ensures an appealing consistency to the eye and minimal fluctuation on profit from individual and evenly portioned foods — both of which are undoubtedly desirable.
Life span on depositing and portion-control equipment is surprisingly long. Doug Petrovich of Food Tools says the lifespan of their equipment is about 15 to 20 years, and possibly longer, depending on user factors like maintenance and how often it is used. Luc Imberechts of Bakon USA agreed, noting that businesses within the US specifically tend to maintain and upkeep their equipment for much longer than international companies, which are more likely to continually reinvest in new depositing technology. Both experts agreed that monitoring component alignment, sanitation and lubrication are key to extending the life of any kind of portion-control equipment. There are a variety of ways to power a machine like this, largely depending on both the machine’s and your business’s size.
For the smaller business, the Drop TT Depositor from Bakon is a top seller. Compact in size (about 44 x 35 in. and 30 in. tall) and with a foldable conveyor belt, it can handle two standard US trays per minute. It weighs in at 330 lbs. and requires a 208-220 V of single phase 60 Hz power.
Hinds-Bock also recently released a tabletop depositor, designed for small bakeries with limited space. Maintenance-free and easy to use, it is available with five to seven pistons and can handle a variety of baked goods, from muffins to sheet cakes.
Those looking to produce a higher number and variety of baked goods can turn to the Gearwheel Depositor, also from Bakon. It requires air supply in addition to 60 Hz power and can produce the same items as the Drop TT, but can work with a wide range of heavier doughs and cake batters. It’s also able to program 100 different recipes.
The Vemag 500 depositor from Reiser is a versatile machine that is primarily for those commissaries working with meat, poultry and prepared foods as opposed to bakery items. It can be employed simply as a depositor, but also in conjunction with a slice depositor, ground meat systems and sausage stuffers, and work with everything from burritos to calzones and empanadas.
Also from Reiser is the Holac Sect 230 slicer, which is also made to work with meat, poultry and prepared foods. It can work with fresh, cooked or tempered meats, and easily slices through both naturally shaped and formed products. Its blade works with a synchronized belt and gripper feed system, allowing it to slice paper-thin prosciutto to bacon to thick cuts of steak.
“For the small customer, the CS-1FP and similar slicers are push-button ready, and simply reading the manual will provide the training required to use the machines,” Petrovich says. “For the larger customers and larger machines like the CS-2100RF, an optional start-up and training service is provided along with a technical manual for operations.”
“The CS-1FP is the most popular portion cutter for round cakes,” says Petrovich. “It is small, compact and relies on foot power, so no compressed air or electricity is required.”
Freestanding, the CS-1FP is roughly 18 in. squared at the base and 47 in. tall. It can produce up to 50 sliced cakes an hour, and is available for purchase with divider inserts.
For both round and half-sheet cakes, the CS-RS is the best slicer from Food Tools. It is a bit larger, with a 29 x 49 in. base and 46 in. height, but can portion 50-100 products an hour and only requires compressed air. The CS-2100RF is the most popular unit for large productions, generating up to 360 portioned products an hour. This unit is PLC controlled, has a dual-product platform and utilizes a roll feeder system for divider inserts. Its dimensions are 36 x 42 in. at the base and it measures 77 in. tall.