News: RedBlack Software and Campden BRI win £68,000 Innovate UK grant for intelligent dough mixing project

Gary Tucker & Jane Tyler

Project aims to save commercial bakers significant amounts of time, costs and materials

YORK, UK, MAY 08, 2019 – RedBlack Software and Campden BRI have won a £68,000 grant from the government funding agency Innovate UK to find out whether artificial intelligence (AI) can improve bread dough mixing in order to reduce bakery waste.

The feasibility study brings together data technologists at RedBlack Software, creator of the market-leading Cybake bakery management application, and food scientists at Campden BRI, the UK’s most prominent food and drink industry research association.

Approximately 80% of the UK’s bread is made with automated systems. An automated bread line typically operates with two mixers feeding the line with dough at production rates of 8-10,000kg/h. Each mixer (e.g. 400kg capacity) operates at 11-13 mixes/h and is controlled to time or energy. Poor quality dough has major impacts on each downstream processing stage, causing equipment failure and generating waste dough.

RedBlack and Campden BRI’s project will directly address this issue, helping to reduce waste and maintain high bread quality by developing a system that uses deep learning technology to control dough mixer settings.

Campden BRI will carry out dough mixing and baking experiments to generate data for the new AI software. RedBlack will combine objective scientific instrument data with subjective data from human experts, pulling and transforming all this disparate information through data pipelines into a cloud-based data factory.

This data store will form the foundation for predictive models which will seek patterns in the data in order to make recommendations on mixer settings. Analysts will compare and contrast several different deep learning technologies to identify which one is best able to find patterns and make predictions for the new application.

Potentially, the control of dough mixing using artificial intelligence represents the first significant improvement opportunity in bakery efficiency since for over 20 years. No major developments in mixer technology have been widely adopted by the UK bakery sector since pressure-vacuum mixing in 1995 (a Baker-Perkins patent) and, before that, high shear dough mixing invented in 1961 by the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association (FMBRA – which became part of Campden BRI).

Gary Tucker, manager of Campden BRI’s Baking and Cereal Processing Department, (pictured) says: “By developing new approaches to improve dough mixing consistency, our project is intended to support government and industry efforts to reduce food waste, both in manufacturing and in the home.

“WRAP suggests £205m as the value for waste from industrial bakeries. If successful, the technology that results from our intelligent dough mixer project could significantly reduce this figure, maybe by 50% depending on market penetration. It may prove that higher levels of automation will reduce waste levels.”

Jane Tyler, managing director of RedBlack Software, (also pictured) says: “Getting dough mixes right is critical to operational success but difficult to achieve. Even slightly differing flour qualities have a big effect on the end product quality. Because of this, bakers throw away considerable amounts of dough before it is ever baked. Our intelligent dough mixer project aims to minimise this – it could save commercial bakers significant amounts of time, costs and materials.

News: RedBlack Software releases Cybake Outbound mobile delivery management module to help wholesale bakers go paperless

Cybake Outbound screensEasy-to-use mobile app saves bakers a bundle on paper, printing and data re-entry

YORK, UK, FEBRUARY 11, 2019 – RedBlack Software today announces Cybake Outbound, a mobile delivery management module for wholesale users of its Cybake 4 bakery control system.

With Cybake Outbound, customers now sign for goods on drivers’ phones instead of paper delivery notes. The cloud-based app loads easily onto drivers’ phones and tells them which customers to deliver to, what to deliver and the best route to take via Google Maps.

The app also give drivers the option to verify unattended (often very early-morning) drop offs by taking proof-of-delivery photos.

Cybake Outbound is very simple to use, with a self-evident interface that makes it easy for drivers that are new to the route or the job, telling them what to do each step of the way.

With the new app, bakery drivers can make adjustments to deliveries on their phones which are updated straight into their company’s Cybake management system. Previously, drivers wrote adjustments (queried goods, returns, credits etc) on duplicate delivery notes which then had to be rekeyed into Cybake back at head office.

Uniquely, drivers can also amend customers’ standing orders with the new module and take orders for items on the spot or for a future date, providing better customer service and the opportunity for upselling.

Cybake Outbound was developed at the request of users of the Cybake 4 bakery management system, which already plans delivery routes for wholesale bakers. For these users, the benefits of the new module are clear.

Firstly, there is no longer a need for bakery firms to print out route maps, invoices and delivery notes for their drivers, saving huge amounts of time, paper and printing costs.

Secondly, all interactions between drivers and customers are inputted straight into Cybake via the new app. Production requirements are adjusted accordingly throughout the whole system and the endless rekeying of data required by paper-based note-taking is eliminated.

Thirdly, as drivers can now deal with adjustments, standing orders and queries on the spot, bakers spend less time on the phone at head office dealing with misunderstandings or chasing them up.

As well as improving account management, head office sees the incoming proofs of delivery as drop-offs are made, so staff can relay the status of deliveries better. Delivery drivers can dial each customer’s number at the touch of a symbol on their Cybake Outbound screen to inform them of where they are up to, further improving the customer experience.

Unlike other systems which tie users to specific types of specialist PDAs or operating system, Cybake Outbound works on any smartphone, Android, iOS or Windows. There is no capital outlay and no need to spend money on expensive generic delivery tracking software.

Jane Tyler, managing director of RedBlack Software, says: “Bakers want to cut their printing costs, go paperless and save the planet. That’s the message we got from very many of our users, so we developed Cybake Outbound to do just that.

All bakers produce a proliferation of paper in the form of invoices, production reports and delivery notes. Although some customers may still want three-part paperwork, with this new module, bakers can now give them the choice. Electronic delivery notes have the added advantage that they update the Cybake system so no further data entry is needed.”

Pricing: Cybake Outbound is available now to users of Cybake 4 from £25 per month per van.

RedBlack Software unveils cloud-based Cybake 4

British-Baker_brand_thumbnailRedBlack Software is evolving its Cybake bakery management system with a cloud-based version. The launch was announced at the Foodex show at Birmingham’s NEC this week, where Bakeplan, produced by RedBlack sister company BakePlan Software, was declared winner of the event’s Great New Idea competition.

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Vince Bamford, British Baker, 17/04/18