Casestory: Bolletje & Inventflow

From rusks to crispbread

Everyone in the Netherlands knows and enjoys the delicious products from Bolletje. From the rusks in the morning to delicious crispbread during lunchtime; it is produced in Almelo and Heerde. Bolletje guarantees the excellent and constant quality of its products by maintaining the entire production process in-house. Almelo is also the place where Inventflow is located, who as a pump specialist contributes to the quality and continuity of processes such as that of Bolletje.

On a sunny afternoon, while the processes are in full swing, Bjorn Brokelman takes a moment to show the crispbread line. This is where wheat flour, salt and yeast come together to form a dough and ready-made crispbread packs are the end result. As a Maintenance Engineer, his team are responsible for maintenance, modifications and optimization of assets throughout the entire factory. Brokelman: “We have three different departments where we produce various products. Two rusk production lines that are in full swing, two crispbread lines, a cracker line and more. A whole diversity of production processes ”.

How it’s made: Bolletje crispbread (knäckebröd)

We dive into the process behind crispbread, to see how Bolletje makes a unique and tasty product using just a few ingrediënts. The process, of course, starts with the dough, where wheat flour, salt, and yeast come together to form the crispbread dough. The dough rises for 45 minutes and is then poured into an eccentric screw pump with feed system. The pump ensures that the correct amount of dough is continuously dosed into the molding machine.

Brokelman: “The molding machine is a very precise part of our process in which the degree of how much the machine is filled and a continuous supply of dough are very important.” The working principle of the screw pump affects the structure of the dough, because the dough is “kneaded” by the stator and rotor. The pump type also ensures accurate dosing, without pulsation.

Subsequently, the dough is processed to get the crispbread texture as we all know it. Before the dough goes into the oven, it is lightly sprayed with water to make the crispbread extra crispy. The dough goes into the oven and comes out as huge pieces of tasty crispbread. The slices are “sawn” into bite-sized pieces and packed in the recognizable Bolletje packaging. Then it goes into the Bolletje truck and comes your way, so you can enjoy six kinds of delicious Bolletje crispbread!

pumps are the base of the process

As in almost every process, pumps form the basis of the processess at Bolletje. Brokelman: “Pumps are an important part of our process. Especially since pumps are used in the dough preparation and that’s where it starts. It is not possible to say “The line is running and I can turn it off for a moment” because the process has to go on.

The progressive cavity pump, with which the dough is processed, posed a potential risk for the continuity of the process, because the necessary spare parts were difficult to obtain. As mentioned, the line cannot and should not stand still unnecessarily, so Inventflow was asked to select a reliable replacement pump.

Brokelman: “If this pump happens to break twice in quick succession due to calamities and we don’t have the parts in stock due to a long delivery time, then we have a serious problem. Downtime costs are very high ”. The operation of the current pump type and the effect on the product were of great importance.

Using a different pump type could affect or damage the product. Inventflow has therefore selected a hygienic screw pump, which will be installed soon. The pump is a reliable solution, with an identical pumping principle, lower energy consumption, higher efficiency and short delivery times for less expensive spare parts.

Collaboration Bolletje & Inventflow

Growing processes and specialist knowledge

The Bolletje factory grows every year, production volumes keep increasing. The processes continue to expand and are used intensively. In the past, Bolletje did all pump maintenance herself, which at some point turned out to be unprofitable. Due to the high pressure on processes, it was decided to outsource all pump-related activities to Inventflow.

The requirement was clear, a specialist who takes care of all concerns regarding pumps with fast response times. Brokelman: “All-round technicians are all-round, but in order to properly adjust and maintain a pump, specialism and knowledge is required. For us it is faster, better and cheaper to hire a specialist, so that our own technicians can keep the focus on other important activities.

The importance of process optimization

Every production process offers room for improvement. That is why Bolletje examines every part of the process. Brokelman: “Savings, simplification, risk and sustainability are important parts of process optimization. We are continuously identifying pumps that are causing problems, collecting data and building maintenance history.

You never achieve 100% output, but we are constantly working on optimizing our entire process. This gives us insight into parts of the process where improvements are possible ”. When selecting new pumps, careful attention is paid to potential energy savings and the necessary stock of spare parts to avoid unnecessary depreciation.

Reducing risks and avoiding problems is something Bolletje is working on every day. Brokelman: “Running the process until it breaks down and then performing maintenance is outdated and, above all, it costs too much money to carry out maintenance in this way.”

Bolletje realises that corrective maintenance must be minimized in order to be able to meet expected (just in time) delivery times at all times. Brokelman: “Preventive maintenance and cooperation with specialist partners such as Inventflow is also very important in this respect.”

a strong focus on preventive maintenance

Bolletje places a strong focus on the importance of preventive maintenance. For example, periodic fault analyzes are performed to identify parts of the process that are not optimally present and problematic. Brökelman: “Together with multidisciplinary teams, we zoom in on a problem to set up an improvemen t project that in turn results in a modification or adjustment in our maintenance plan. We do this to keep malfunctions down and to improve the production process ”. Inventflow carries out an annual inspection of all pumps, which subsequently results in maintenance actions.

Every pump online in the Inventflow Service Center

The Inventflow Service Center is used to gain control and overview of all pumps within the Bolletje factory. The Service Center is a valuable and user-friendly online tool in which all pumps of the user are included by Inventflow.

The tool offers Bolletje’s technical staff direct access to specific pump data, drawings, manuals and parts lists. In the event of a malfunction, action can be taken directly due to simplified communication with Inventflow. Potential risks are contained by both parties understanding which pump causes a problem and how to act to resolve malfuctions.

In order to limit downtime due to pump failures in the entire factory, a certain quantity of spare parts are in stock internally (at Bolletje) and at Inventflow. Brokelman: “We have put a mix of spare parts in stock, so our risk is as low as possible.”

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