SAGINAW — Saginaw-based commercial oven and boiler maker Banner-Day has worked for 60 years to improve its product’s automation, performance and sustainability.
And the company recently earned some recognition for its work when it was awarded a B.E.S.T. — Becoming Environmentally Sustainable Together — in Baking designation from the International Baking Industry Exposition Committee. The award was given for Banner-Day’s efforts to reduce energy use through its invention called Total Oven Control featuring SmartBake.
Joseph P. Day, president of Banner-Day, 1840 N. Michigan, said not only are consumers becoming more environmentally conscious, but retailers, including mega-store Walmart, are requiring suppliers to make green efforts.
Day said the Total Oven Control with SmartBake system allows industrial bakeries — those with ovens that bake 150 to 300 loaves of bread per minute — to save energy and limit waste while reducing emissions and cutting costs. Customers who installed the Smart Bake system on their ovens experienced energy cost reductions of 20 to 25 percent, according to Banner-Day.
“We really listen to our customers and the message was, ‘We must become more efficient,’” he said.
Banner-Day employs 15 people, holds six patents and serves customers all over the world, including Perfection Bakeries, parent company to the Aunt Millie’s brand, and Bimbo Bakeries, parent company to the brands Thomas’, Entenmann’s and Boboli. The computerized Smart Bake system includes “recipe control,” which allows for a quick change of temperature — within 2 degrees — and baking time from a central console. That’s a big change from the days when each burner had to be controlled manually, Joseph Day said.
So, when an Aunt Millie’s bakery wants to switch from baking whole grain bread to baking white bread, all it takes to switch gears is a few punches of the control panel designed by engineers at Banner-Day. Total Oven Control also includes “tray skipping” and zone burner management to provide flexible, reliable, direct gas-fired oven operation.
“There’s huge competition in the marketplace,” Joseph Day said. “By improving control, you improve the quality of the product, reduce scraps, lower costs and allow bakeries to be more competitive.”
Michael Day, vice president of Banner-Day and a third generation combustion engineer, said Total Oven Control allows companies to save money by installing the system in phases, a practice not possible with many other controls.
“As we got into Total Oven Control, companies were interested but had capital challenges,” Michael Day said of the system, which costs around $500,000. “This system allows it to be implemented in phases.” The company was founded in 1949 by Joseph M. Day, Joseph P. Day’s father. He started out in automatic gas and oil combustion and control systems and eventually expanded the business to include custom boilers and electric impedance pipe heating systems.
The company still designs and produces both. Its boilers can be found in many area hospitals and other large buildings and its impedance pipe heating systems are used by Dow Chemical Co. for industrial purposes and by The Hershey Co. for candy production.
While Banner-Day is involved in other endeavors, its history is in the baking industry; a quirky reminder of that hangs in the company’s office: a plaque from Guinness World Records honoring the world’s largest cherry pie. Weighing in at a whopping 28,330 pounds, the pie was more than 17 feet in diameter and baked in an oven designed by the Joseph M. Day Co.
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