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Feb 11, 2022

What to Look for When Buying a Pizza Topping Applicator

Topping applicators are an integral part of any pizza production line. They increase efficiency, decrease waste, and improve your bottom line. However, not all pizza topping applicators are created equal. There are several key factors to consider, such as sanitation, accuracy, and manufacturer support of the machinery. Read on to learn more about what you should look for when buying pizza topping equipment.

Topping applicators are an integral part of any pizza production line. They increase efficiency, decrease waste, and improve your bottom line. However, not all pizza topping applicators are created equal. 

There are several key factors to consider, such as sanitation, accuracy, and manufacturer support of the machinery. Read on to learn more about what you should look for when buying pizza topping equipment.

Accuracy

The accuracy of a pizza topping applicator plays an important role in the quality of the pie while helping to minimize waste. There are four main types to consider:

  • Weight accuracy
  • Pattern accuracy
  • Placement accuracy
  • Targeting accuracy

All of these are necessary to minimize rework, prevent waste, and improve efficiency. And of course, result in consistently high-quality products with toppings in the right weight, pattern/shape, and in the right place. 

OEMs use various technologies to ensure this accuracy. Our topping applicators utilize load cells to carefully monitor the weight of the toppings behind the rake while the PID controllers increase or decrease the speed of the belt to ensure the product is spread evenly and weight is accurate. 

Proper accuracy also helps reduce manual labor later on the line— reducing the rework of taking off toppings or rejecting the pie entirely. 

Flexibility

Only consider machines that allow you to easily apply and change out a wide range of ingredients and recipes such as: 

  • Cheese
  • IQF vegetables and meats
  • Spices
  • Dry ingredients

If you’re considering analogue and plant-based toppings, look for an OEM that can optimize the machine settings for vegan meat and cheese options. 

There are a wide range of other benefits that you’ll get from a pizza topping applicator that’s built with flexibility in mind:

  • Producing multiple SKUs on the same line
  • Single and multi-lane models
  • Production rates with room to grow with your business
  • Available customizations to configure machines to your line

In short, a machine that’s flexible allows you to make more types of pizzas to meet consumer demand—all the while getting consistent accuracy, efficiency, and production rates while eliminating the need to add more line length or multiple lines.

Sanitation

Topping applicators require the ability to be quickly and easily cleaned while adhering to strict sanitation protocols. Sanitation is a non-negotiable factor in pizza production—beware of any machines that require overly complicated sanitation procedures. 

For example, Grote machines offer tool-less sanitation. In addition to the standard sanitary design protocols, our topping applicators feature guards that flip up and down and belts that can be removed by a single maintenance person. You can also run our Waterfall Applicators for up to 96 hours between sanitation, which results in a significant amount of uptime.

A pizza moving along a conveyor on a pizza topping applicator machine.

Customer Support

Look for a company that offers holistic support throughout the equipment’s entire life. A key indicator is a manufacturer with lots of repeat customers, which speaks to the quality of their products.

However, the quality of the products isn’t the only thing you should consider. There are many other important factors, such as:

  • Customer service
  • Technical service
  • Parts availability
  • Consultative-ness
  • Timeliness/responsiveness 

Pizza topping applicators are a key component of your production line and a significant investment. The last thing you want is to buy from a company that provides sub-part support throughout the machine’s lifespan. This is why it’s important to base your selection on not only the quality of the topping applicator but also the reputation of the manufacturer.

Accessibility is another aspect of a good partner—while almost all pizza topping equipment manufacturers have a service/parts department, many of them are rather small in size and inventory. The clock starts ticking when a machine goes down, and losses will incur. 

The Grote Advantage

Choosing the right topping applicator for your pizza production line can help improve your bottom line over the lifetime of the machine. Accuracy, reliability, and manufacturer support all play important roles in the longevity of the equipment and the quality of your pizza. This is why you shouldn’t let the initial cost play the only role in your purchasing decision.

The various departments at your plant will typically want to chime in when selecting the right equipment. At Grote, we configure our topping applicators to meet the needs of all your departments. 

Support and customer service are where Grote offers a distinct advantage. Thanks to our large parts department and dedicated in-house technicians, we can get your topping applicators up and running much quicker than the competition. We also perform regular outreach to our customers to proactively head off any potential issues.

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