ABI LTD equipment plays leading role in baker's growth from local to global supplier...

This month's edition of FoodChain Magazine features a nice write up on the great rise to prominence of our long time client and friend, Always Bagels.  From humble beginnings with the opening of their first retail store in Port Jefferson, N.Y. in the late 80's, to the launch of a 75,000 Sq Ft. national distribution center in 2009, this story follows the achievements of one of the most successful bagel producer's in the country.  ABI's equipment played a pivotal role in the growth of Always Bagels and we are proud to continue to work with and serve this fantastic organization as they continue to grow and expand their presence both around the country and around the world.

Click to read!


Doing our part in support of Sick Kids Foundation

ABI LTD was a Platinum Sponsor of this year's charity golf tournament in support of Sick Kids Foundation, hosted by Villa Dimanno Bakery of Vaughan, ON.  

An annual event, the tournament took place at the beautiful The Country Club golf course and event centre located on Lloyd Road in Woodbridge.  The sprawling 200 Acre property boasts 2 18-hole courses and an extra 9 on the South side.  It was home to 142 golfers, all of whom took full advantage of the spectacular conditions, on what was probably the most beautiful golfing day of the entire season.

In typical Dimanno fashion, the food and drink was exquisite.  Authentic Italian Mortadello Sandwiches,  a selection of masterfully cured meats, Veal Parmesan, moist tender grilled chicken breasts, fresh crispy salads, roasted spicy peppers, sauteed mushrooms and onions and obviously endless fresh breads supplied by Villa Dimanno bakery, lined the tables at the lunch buffet, which was graciously sponsored by our friends at Allegany Foods.

Out on the course cold drinks, fresh "Speducci" right off the grill (sponsored by Siderno Meats and prepared by Momma Dimanno herself) and cups of cool refreshing watermelon were available along the way to make sure everyone kept hydrated and energized.

The dinner that followed at the newly renovated Dimanno Restaurant featured at least 5 courses, but who could even keep count after so much great food and complimentary drinks??  Cured meats and Caprese salad to start, Lasagna to follow, Osobuco so big and juicy you didn't know where it began and where it ended...a feast fit for kings and queens.

Needless to say, everyone fully enjoyed every aspect of the day and an incredible $25,000 was raised in just one day in support of a fantastic cause, Sick Kids Foundation.  

We were excited and honored to be able to take part in this fabulous event and look forward to participating again in the future.  Now, some pictures....


IBIE 2016 Wrap-up

IBIE 2016, like IBIE's before it, was a stellar event, featuring the latest and greatest technology and science emerging from the Baking Industry.  Thousands of suppliers and purchasers from around the world were in attendance, with this rumored to have been the largest IBIE show ever.

Below are some images and video highlighting the 4 day mega-event.  

We met some wonderful people and made some great connections.  Overall IBIE 2016 was a resounding success and we look forward to building on the relationships established at the show.

Robotics Industry Insight Showcases ABI LTD's use of Robotics in the Bakery...

Soft Dough Handling

The bakery automation industry has become a proving ground for the Soft Robotics gripper. One of those early adopters is ABI LTD, a global integrator of automated bakery equipment in Concord, Ontario, Canada.

“It was an ongoing struggle for us to find good, reliable solutions for soft dough products,” says Aaron Burke, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at ABI LTD. “When you’re dealing with soft dough products, particularly proofed dough products (dough that has been allowed to rise), they have to be handled very gently, otherwise you can end up leaving impressions in the dough, or you could deflate the dough or malform the product.”

Burke says they just shipped a robotic system for a large pizza company in U.K. and is working on a second system for them right now, both utilizing the Soft Robotics grippers. An ABB Robotics Preferred Partner, ABI LTD developed a four-robot system that picks raw pizza dough right from the rounder and places it into trays.

“In the old methods of picking and placing, we were using needle tools or suction cups, or some kind of metal tools. All of them had their downfalls.”

The Soft Robotics gripper is able to handle different sized dough balls with one tool. Coupled with a nimble robot and 3D vision that determines the position and size of the dough balls, you have a complete solution that doesn’t require tool changers.

“You have to have a tool that treats a 150-gram dough ball the same way it treats a 50-gram dough ball,” explains Burke. “It has to be able to open and close variably to grip the product without putting too much pressure on it.

“We were able to come up with a configuration that has five fingers,” he continues. “The fingers spread wide enough to get around the full size of the largest dough balls, but when the system recognizes that it’s a smaller dough ball, it squeezes a little tighter (based on the amount of air pressure flowing into the gripper). We were able to find a combination that can handle three or four different sizes of product with the same tool.”

Robotic Waterjet Cutting Takes the Cake

ABI LTD is bringing other innovations to the bakery automation space. Waterjet technology has been used in the food industry for years, but now robots are taking it to new levels of creativity and efficiency.

The Katana robotic waterjet cutting system marries a flexible robot with a pure waterjet system and 3D vision technology for high-volume cake and pastry cutting. Here’s how it works.

First, a 3D laser scanner determines the presence and position of the cake, then it maps out the product’s typography. Software crunches the data gathered by the vision system to determine the robot parameters for the pre-programmed cutting patterns. Then a robot equipped with a waterjet nozzle uses a very narrow stream of water at extremely high pressure to slice through the cake in the designated pattern. An easy-to-use touchscreen interface allows you to hand-draw or import new designs.

Watch the Katana robotic waterjet cake cutting system in action. In this case, the waterjet-wielding manipulator is an ABB IRB 140 six-axis robot.

No two cakes are exactly the same, so the integrated vision system is very important, especially when you’re nesting shapes within a cake. The system maps out how those shapes will fit together in a particular product to minimize waste during the cutting process.

Burke says the system can be used with fresh, semi-frozen, or deep frozen product.

“The waterjet pump at 60,000 psi of pressure coming from a tiny 0.05 millimeter orifice has a lot of cutting power,” he says. “But we find the best results to be in the semi-frozen state. That tends to be the sweet spot because you have a lot of structural integrity of the product at that temperature. Also products with inclusions, like fruits and nuts, are no problem.”

As seen in the video, traditional cutting methods often restricted cake slicing to straight-line cuts with blades that wear down. With the flexibility of a six-axis robot, you can cut circular patterns unachievable with a straight blade. Burke says they’ve cut everything from seahorses and hearts to maple leaves and Christmas trees out of cake.

“Historically, for that kind of stuff you had to go to some type of die-cutting system, where you’re stamping your shape into the cake. With dedicated tooling like that, you get into changeovers, you have potential cross-contamination. You have to make sure they are clean.”

In the food industry, robotic waterjet cutting uses only pure filtered water. This makes it both sanitary and environmentally friendly.

“Cakes and pastries are the primary use of these types of systems, but they can cut just about anything,” says Burke. “We’ve also integrated waterjet cutting for Rice Krispies squares and energy bars, which typically start off as long sheets and then get cut down into pieces.”

ABI LTD is using vision-guided robots for cake decorating and 3D ultrasonic scoring of bread loaves and pretzels. Robotic automation is also used for cupcake and muffin depanning, croissant bending and pinching, and sheet cake box loading. Check out these bakery robots on the job.

For the food producers of the world, the question is no longer whether to automate, but how soon to automate.

Originally published by RIA via www.robotics.org on 10/27/2016.

Bakery Showcase 2016 - International Centre Toronto (Mississauga, ON)

This is our first year attending the Bakery Showcase trade fair, being held this year at the International Centre Toronto, located in Mississauga, ON.

The show has turned out to be absolutely fabulous, so far.  We have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from show-goers about one of our latest innovations, Katana Robotic Scoring.  

We've also had an opportunity to connect with some of our friends and colleagues from around the country, further strengthening our working relationships.

If you have a chance to come out and see us, doors open at 12:00 PM today and the show ends this afternoon at 5:00 PM.  We look forward to seeing you there!!

For now, some pictures and video...

ABI LTD, along with our colleagues at ABB Inc. and our client King's Pastry of Mississauga, Ontario are featured in the cover story of the April 2016 issue of Canadian Packaging Magazine.

Check out our various robotic integrations, highlighted on the cover page as well as throughout the article, starting on page 15 of the digital edition.


Proofed to Perfection!

When we were approached by Baking and Snack to participate in an article regarding Proofing, in typical ABI LTD fashion, we rose to the occasion.

Check out the comments and input of our President, Alex Kuperman, in their article regarding one of the most critically important processes in any type of bread-making.


A large, fully-automated Proofing array which can be used for proofing of various bread products.