Bakery Racks are an integral, vital part of every bakery. Even the most automated
bakery has a requirement for racks, whether it is to cool the bread or move the
finished product, or for a more specialist activity such as staling, or simply to be on
standby for a line breakdown or maintenance.

Bakery Oven Racks are specifically designed to hold the uncooked product,
normally dough, and transport it, generally on pans, through the ovens and towards
the packaging. These Racks have to contend with a wide range of temperatures
and humidity, from the dry heat of an oven to the damp environment of a wash
down area, and still perform day after day. After all, without the Racks, the bakery
would have to cease operation.
So often, when selecting Bakery Oven Racks, simple mistakes are made which
can have a lasting effect on the productivity and output of the bakery. This White
Paper, addresses the issues and mistakes made and provides solutions which, if
implemented, will result in years of reliable service and great products.

1) Selecting the Wrong material 

You’ve got to have either Stainless Steel or High Grade Aluminum. No
options, other materials don’t cut it. Gone are the days when a galvanized
rack may work, and while there are many aluminum Racks out there,
Stainless Steel or High Grade Aluminum are the only options. Why? Simple.
Galvanized Racks are actually steel based with a coating, and so they will,
very soon, and sadly much too soon, start corroding and breaking down.
Also, it is virtually impossible to galvanize a rack in one piece, so it will have
been galvanized in sections and bolted together. And that equals weak
points and extra maintenance.
Aluminum Racks, while they heat up and cool down faster due to the metal
type and composition, lower grades simply aren’t quite as durable, and
when heated and cooled, heated and cooled, and heated and cooled over
and over again, you will find they start to wear down.

Solution – always specify Stainless Steel or High Grade Aluminum 

2) Picking the wrong Caster 

When a rack moves, it’s got to have casters. There is no other way. But,
think of what those casters have to put up with; being pulled over concrete,
bumps and metal sheets all the time or in water and damp atmospheres, in
the oven at 400oF, in a cold storage area and all the places in between. Not
to mention carrying anything from 50lb to 400lb. In cases like this, quality
equals longevity. Put simply, a cheap caster will make your time or your
staff’s time more difficult.

Solution – ensure you pick the top caster option

3) Not Allowing Enough Airflow

The oven has a lot of work to do. It’s got to get every part of the dough on
the rack, every molecule, every atom, to the optimum temperature. Not too
hot so the cookies aren’t burnt, and not too cold so the bread isn’t doughy
in the middle. That’s a tough task, so the rack, which can make or break this
process, has a very important part to play. The only way for the air to flow
through every part of that rack, over every surface of every product on the
rack, and for the product to get to the optimum temperature, is for correct
shelf spacing and frame design. If air flow isn’t consistent, some of the
product won’t get up to temperature and other product on the same rack will
get too hot or burn. The correct slide spacing and frame design of the rack
makes it totally vital you select a rack which allows consistent air flow
Solution – make sure you have your slide spacing correct
4) Not allowing for ongoing maintenance
It’s not fit and forget. Those Racks will need cleaning and sanitation, if not
only to comply with industry standards, also to stop buildup of debris and
dirt on the Racks, in the corners and around the base. Those casters need
regular maintenance. Greasing both the axle and the bearing, on a regular
basis, depending on use, will make sure they last many times longer. How
often is a regular basis? That depends on your use, it could be every week,
or every month, depending on how often the Racks are used and the
environment. However, you can’t carry out maintenance too often. New
casters are a lot more expensive that a tube of grease.

Solution – make sure your maintenance team are ready for regular

5) Not Buying Enough Racks 

How many do you actually need? Really? Think about it. Without the rack
you can’t use the oven. You will have power, water, ventilation, staff, every
bakery has these, but without the Racks, forget it. So if all your Racks are
busy moving product to and from the oven, maybe waiting in the proofer, or
simply waiting for packaging after baking, how are you going to bake the
next batch? Don’t forget maintenance time mentioned earlier. It’s easy to
use a spare rack for transport around the bakery, but it’s a lot harder to
watch dough go stale or have staff tell your customers you don’t have
anything to sell.
Solution – always estimate more Racks than you think you need
6) Thinking quality is cheap
It’s easy to buy the cheapest, and hope for the best. That old age saying,
“The bitterness of Low Quality remains long after the Sweetness of Low
Price is forgotten”, rings so true. You really do get what you pay for. These
Racks are going to be your workhorses for years, so invest wisely. Cheaper
today could well mean more expensive in the long term. Look closely at the
warranties offered, ensure they cover labor and materials, not just now, of
for 3 or 5 years, but for years to come.

Solution – look on your Racks as an investment and look for value not

With careful consideration of the options available, making the correct choices at
the above decision points can result in great benefits for both the person
responsible for the decision, and the users of the Bakery Oven Racks. After all,
who wants to repeat a decision and buying process again in a few months, knowing
full well they made the wrong decisions the first time around and time and money
was simply wasted?