How accurate humidity measurement is helping Bühler’s customers bake more efficiently and consistently

Bakery production line

Bühler, a market-leading producer of commercial food equipment including baking ovens, is committed to helping its customers improve production consistency and efficiency, reducing waste and energy consumption in the process. To ensure accurate real-time measurement of humidity levels in their Meincke Turbu ovens, Bühler employs the highly accurate and versatile Vaisala DRYCAP® Dew Point and Temperature Probe DMP6 along with Indigo500 series transmitters.
With energy prices rising and environmental concerns growing, improving efficiency is essential for companies across all industries. This is particularly the case for food production, specifically processes that involve baking ovens, which can run at temperatures of up to 325 °C.

With its cutting-edge Meincke Turbu indirect-fired convection ovens, Bühler aims to increase efficiency in line with the company’s strategic commitment to helping its customers save 50% in energy, water, and product wastage by 2025.

At the time of ordering the ovens, one customer was using natural gas at an average annual cost of €10 million; the accurate humidity measurements enabled by the DMP6 temperature probes and Indigo500 series transmitters should facilitate a reduction in gas consumption of as much as 20%, representing a significant saving.

Meincke Turbu convection oven
Meincke Turbu convection oven/ Photo credit Bühler Group​​​​​​

A consistent baking profile ensures reliable product quality

According to Morten Bøgild and Christoffer Bay, Senior R&D Engineers at Bühler’s Biscuit business unit in Denmark, the use of a sensor package, including Vaisala technology, enables continuous monitoring of oven conditions, meaning a more consistent quality of baked goods can be achieved. “By measuring the humidity levels inside the oven you can control the process to maintain a consistent baking profile, even with fluctuations in other factors like ambient conditions or ingredient quality,” explains Morten. “This enables a more consistent product in terms of spread, thickness, coloring, and other quality parameters that are important to our customers, thereby minimizing wastage.” Having an oven with built-in measurement technology also improves Bühler’s offering. “Giving our customers the opportunity to control the humidity of their ovens themselves, and not only the temperature, can be particularly valuable for those who produce multiple products with different baking profiles,” says Christoffer.

The Vaisala DRYCAP® Dew Point and Temperature Probe DMP6 is designed for in-line humidity measurement at very high temperatures and a wide dew point range. It has a passive cooling function that draws heat away from the probe to reduce the temperature to within the sensor’s optimal range, making it ideal for the extreme environment of an industrial baking oven. This robust technology enables Bühler to offer its customers more accuracy and flexibility when setting up their ovens. Meanwhile, the DMP6 measurement probe can be connected to the Vaisala Indigo500 series transmitter, which enables real-time data visualization and access to probe configurations.

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Bühler baking owens and Indigo520
Vaisala Indigo520 transmitter/ Photo credit Bühler Group

Consistent moisture levels mean more efficient production

Monitoring moisture levels also helps to shorten the time needed to bake the perfect product. “When baking cookies, an oven typically operates with a dewpoint of 60–70 °C, but our Meincke Turbu ovens allow the humidity level to be higher,” says Morten. “This means there is less cold air to heat up, because when we regulate the moisture content we don’t need as much air exchange. In addition, a dryer oven requires higher temperatures to achieve the same heat transfer, while excessive humidity can damage the oven – so with a higher moisture level that is kept consistent and within safe limits thanks to accurate monitoring we can save our customers a lot on their energy bills.”

The benefits don’t stop there – as well as reduced gas consumption, the conveyer carrying the baked goods can also move through the ovens at a faster rate because the products are ready sooner, resulting in a more efficient throughput.

From automation to digitalization

Bühler is at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution in its industry, incorporating smart technology into existing automated production facilities to improve performance through enhanced monitoring, reporting, and artificial intelligence techniques. “The market has slowly embraced this transition, and by recognizing the efficiency benefits of having more accurate data and knowing how to use it, we’re driving real change in our industry. Humidity measurements are one of the most important insights when it comes to making the baking process more efficient and building on an understanding of how heat flow within the oven contributes to the final product quality,” says Christoffer.

Morten sees Vaisala as the ideal partner to help Bühler, and by extension their customers, achieve their ambitious efficiency targets. “Vaisala technology is crucial to our efforts. The sensors are easy to calibrate and use and robust enough to withstand extreme conditions. Flemming Bøge of Brdr. Jørgensen Instruments, Vaisala’s partner in Denmark, worked closely with us to help identify the ideal solution; we also receive a lot of useful guidance on how to calculate humidity values from Vaisala’s own application experts, which greatly benefits our technicians who use the equipment daily,” he explains. “Even before we chose Vaisala as a preferred supplier, we had customers specifying the company’s equipment in their orders. With an increasing demand for digitalization and AI-enabled functionalities, this need is only going to increase, so we’re excited to see where this collaboration can take us.  

About Bühler

Bühler Group is a family-owned company founded in Uzwil, Switzerland in 1860. The company operates in over 140 countries, with 30 manufacturing sites and 12,000 employees worldwide. As a provider of full solutions from first step to final product, billions of people consume products enabled by Bühler’s machinery every day – from food and cosmetics to cellphones and mobility. The company strives to play an active role in creating a better, more sustainable world through its technology, investing 5% of its turnover in new innovations with a special focus on healthy, safe, and sustainable solutions. 

White bread in the oven.

Baking oven monitoring

​In many baking and drying processes, the right conditions provide a competitive advantage to manufacturers. Applications such as bread baking and cereal manufacturing, for example, must have a carefully controlled humidity level in the dryers and ovens in order to keep quality and yield high and to give distinctive characteristics to the finished product.

Discover our solutions for achieving cost savings and resource efficiency for baking ovens. 

Using Vaisala's Humidity Calculator on a mobile phone

Humidity calculator

Vaisala Humidity Calculator makes your complex humidity calculations and conversions easy. It covers all popular parameters and is effortless to use. Calculate several humidity parameters based on only one known value and tolerance.
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