By Jurgen Hofmans, global technology manager, FPS Finishes & Release Coatings
Durable non-stick coatings may answer your need for a smoother bakery process.
Efficient depanning is critical to the smooth running of any industrial bakery line. While some bakers spray a fine layer of oil onto baking trays to ease release when products come out of the oven, many others have switched to trays with a special non-stick fluoropolymer coating.
Such non-stick coatings are our primary focus when we develop DuPont Industrial Bakery Solutions. Most important is that the coatings are tailored to the needs of each bakery application, be it baguettes, loaves, croissants or pastry.
Of course, the cost of choosing a fluoropolymer-coated tray is a primary concern for bakers. And, they often ask, how regularly will it need to be reapplied as processing cycles wear it down?
At the heart of these questions is the matter of coating durability. This is something that our R&D people work with all the time. A current project aims to extend the lifetime of our coatings beyond today’s standard by optimising the architecture of the coating system.
All fluoropolymer coatings comprise several layers, each one contributing to the overall functionality. Important properties include resistance to permeation and stress cracks, not to mention the non-stick characteristic of the top layer. The initial primer layer ensures the adhesion of the coating to the metal tray.
The lifetime of each coating depends on the bakery application and tray handling and cleaning methods. Because all polymers are gas and liquid permeable, migration from the dough – usually steam – into the coating will eventually result in blistering and delamination.
One of our goals when improving the coating’s durability is to delay this permeation process. Right now, we are testing a series of new, extra-robust coating systems on industrial baking lines – so far, with positive results.
Coating renewal network
For a bakery using up to 1,000 litres of oil a week for spray-coating trays and moulds, the expected pay-back time when switching to a fluoropolymer coating is one to two years. Added to that, bakeries can expect indirect cost savings to result from improvements in safety and hygiene.
However, such a switch is only viable if the baker can easily get the coating reapplied when required.
Within the EU, there already exists a good network of tray and mould producers where coatings can be renewed. The lack of a similar network in the US and Gulf Region, for example, has, until now, been a barrier to the adoption of fluoropolymer coatings by industrial bakers.
Thanks to a new cooperation between tray producers and ourselves, US and Gulf customers should have the necessary coating reapplication facilities to draw on by next year. Part of our role will be to train the producers in applying the coatings.
Processing is a big part of making a bakery product successful. Through our work with fluoropolymer coatings, we are able to complement the bakery ingredients and formulations developed by our colleagues at DuPont Nutrition & Health – a collaboration we look forward to developing.
We are using DuPont™ Teflon® for our trials.