Before the 1800s, “made by hand” was not needed for clarification. In the last 200 years, that has changed. Today, the production line is the backbone of a worldwide system that generates the goods that sustain us all. A few key innovations have helped create this transition to the industrial baking production line equipment that produces our food today.
Harnessing energy supply
In many ways, the development of production and assembly lines started with the ability to control and direct energy. Previously, work needed to be done directly at the source of energy – for example, next to a stream that is turning a water wheel. The invention of the steam engine in the late 18th century led to the first industrial revolution. The steam engine, and later electricity, allowed workers and factories themselves to have power delivered to a specific location.
The assembly line
After electricity allowed for factories to specialize different work in the same building, companies began to work on how to optimize workflows within factories. According to Wikipedia, this started before electricity with the adoption of interchangeable parts and the standardization of components in industrial practices in the early 1800s. This allowed for increased specialization and trade of goods, as a company no longer needed to make every component specifically for each product. According to Robert Domm’s book, Michigan Yesterday & Today, the next step came with car production, with the assembly line patented by Ransom Olds in 1901. This concept would be taken a step further when Henry Ford incorporated conveyor belts to produce the Model T and revolutionized commercial production processes.
Another technological breakthrough that expanded the industrial food production market was the cold chain. The cold chain now allows food to be made and shipped long distances with a long life-span while still maintaining freshness. One important innovation was the discovery that flash freezing creates smaller ice crystals, which helps maintain the food products’ original structure and flavor. In 1924, after working on developing a freezing process for several years, Clarence Birdseye developed the first commercially viable flash freezing product for fish. His company sold 5 years later to Goldman Sachs, eventually becoming General Foods, now part of Kraft Foods. In 1940, Frederick McKinley Jones patented a roof mounted cooling system for a truck, connecting the cold chain to stores throughout the country.
These innovations of controlling energy supply to create factories, the development of assembly and production lines to optimize those factories, and the development of the cold chain to bring industrial bakery products to stores throughout the country are a few of the innovations that have created the modern food production industry the feeds the world today.
Artisan Capital Partners has a variety of industrial baking equipment available, both new and used. Contact us today to find your next industrial baking equipment solution.