SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2012 > Flat Glass


Fresh Rolls from Intelligent Ovens

The Swabian manufacturer of baking ovens WIESHEU has been relying on special glass from SCHOTT for 33 years.

Gina Hardebeck

For many people, the walk to the bakery gets their day off to a good start. At the same time, it has been a while since fresh pretzels, bread rolls and croissants were only eaten in the mor­ning. Enjoying snacks between meals and eating out are becoming more and more popular. Even gas stations, supermarkets and hotels are now using professional in-shop baking ovens. And, Germans are particularly grateful consumers: Each year, households consume more than 50 kilograms of baked goods and bread. And this country is also one of the leaders when it comes to offering a large variety of different breads. More than 300 types can be found between Flensburg and Oberstdorf.

For many years, people dried the mash consisting of grain and water on hot stones and thus preserved it and made it easier to transport in the form of flat bread. Later on, the invention of the oven by the ancient Egyptians significantly changed how bread was prepared. Inside a baking oven, the bread dough is completely surrounded by heat and baked evenly on all sides. The round or oval shape that bread comes in was born. Innovations in baking ovens still play an important role even today. The look and taste of baked goods are not the only things that count. Safety and hygiene standards are also very important.
WIESHEU, a company from the Swabian town of Affalterbach in Germany, is one of the drivers of innovation in the industry. Founded under simple conditions in the proverbial garage in Burgstetten near Affalterbach almost 40 years ago, the industrious head of the company Karlheinz Wiesheu built his first baking ovens that featured top and bottom heating for a real Southern German specialty, meatloaf. In 1981, he decided to develop and manufacture presentation baking ovens for bakers and butchers.

A farsighted decision, if one considers that WIESHEU now employs well over 400 people and achieved sales of 73.1 million euros last year with in-shop baking ovens and combined steamers. Among other things, the Swabian tinkerers invented the reversing fan wheel for achieving consistent baking results and a fully automated self-cleaning system for shop ovens.

The couple who founded WIESHEU is particularly proud of their ”intelligent baking system” or Dibas for short. The Dibas hot air convection oven is a real space saver: Its door disappears into the oven housing fully automatically at the press of a button. SCHOTT contributed significantly to developing the design of this door. The glass panes manufactured at the SCHOTT VTF plant in Troisfontaines, France, are slightly curved to make it easier for the door to sink down into the housing.

The retractable oven doors of the Dibas series offer a major advantage when it comes to everyday routines in the bakery. Especially when it gets busy in front of and behind the counter, they ensure that there is always enough room and allow for ideal selling conditions, even when the oven doors are open.

Thanks to a special safety interlock on the door, the Dibas hot air convection oven can also be used safely in areas open to customers because it is impossible to open it by accident.
This aspect as well as the glass doors that SCHOTT supplies contribute to the current trend toward transparency in bakeries. ”Our customers always have a clear view of the well illuminated baked goods, and this really drives sales,” explains Uwe Burger, Production Manager at WIESHEU. ”After all, customers asso­ciate freshness and quality with the fact that bread and baked goods are baked right before their eyes.”

In addition to the Dibas series, SCHOTT also supplies glass doors for the deck baking oven Ebo and the hot air convection oven Euromat. These energy-efficient glass doors are made of double glazed, heat-reflective viewing windows with a cooled gap between them. The advantage is that the surfaces of the viewing windows are cooled. Therefore, there is no longer a danger of people burning themselves.

All of this stands for quality that people will be able to recognize almost immediately in the future. Starting next year, the baking oven panes of the product lines Diba and Ebo will be shipped with the SCHOTT® logo on them.
WIESHEU has been developing and manufacturing innovative shop ovens for nearly 40 years. The company ranks among the leaders in its field. SCHOTT and WIESHEU have been working together for 33 years. The Mainz-based company supplies flat glass panes for its oven doors. Photo: WIESHEU/N. Kindermann

Fruitful relationship

The relationship between WIESHEU and SCHOTT has a long tradition. The company first decided to use flat glass from SCHOTT for its ovens back in 1979. Since then, WIESHEU has manufactured more than 100,000 baking ovens inside which an estimated 380 billion rolls have been baked.

Nevertheless, WIESHEU also turned to SCHOTT when it came to implementing its own design demands or those of its customers. For instance, the glass experts also helped WIESHEU to pep up its appearance and use the color scheme the company had selected for the frames of the baking ovens, which was red to start with and then saffron yellow later on. To begin with, SCHOTT developed individual color recipes and then tested them together with WIESHEU. Nowadays, the frames of the baking oven doors are mainly light gray to match the stainless steel design of the oven or take on a nostalgic appearance. But even special customer requests for designs and colors can be met. The challenge lies in selecting the right color shade and seeing to it that it remains durable despite the fact that these baking ovens are used almost every day for many years.

More than 14,000 bakeries and their roughly 30,000 branches see to it that Germans get to enjoy one of their favorite fresh foods on a daily basis. And then, of course, more and more food chains and gas stations are also using them.

Nevertheless, baked goods are obviously also quite popular in other countries. For instance, the export share at WIESHEU rose to 52 percent last year and exceeded the domestic share for the first time ever. ”For 2012, we project sales to increase even further. We are expecting to see further positive signals mainly in the international area,” WIESHEU’s Managing Director Volker Groos optimistically notes. As its long-standing partner, SCHOTT is also planning to accompany WIESHEU as it enters into foreign markets. This will ensure that not only Bavarian pretzels and Berlin bread rolls but also Indian chapti or northern Chinese manto are baked in the medium-sized Swabian company’s ovens in the future. <|