XYZ Machine Tools help PJ Innovations make lots of dough

Product News

If you have ever eaten pizzas, pitas, tortillas, naan bread, subs, bread rolls or bagels, the dough used to make these baked goods could have started out going through a dough divider rounder made by PJ Innovations. Dough divider rounders accurately portion the dough ball between 28 and 350 grams, depending on the finished product, and deliver a precise round ball of dough for further shaping, for example into a tortilla or a bagel which is then baked to produce the finished product.

These machines and the spare parts for the hundreds of thousands of compatible machines in use around the world are manufactured at the company’s Market Deeping factory near Peterborough. With customers all around the globe it manufactures complete dough divider rounder machines but, a large proportion of its business is spare parts, and it has built its reputation on rapid response and design innovations such as combining several components into one. The benefit of this service is clear when the rate of production can be up to 36,000 dough balls per hour. Downtime on these machines is expensive, so fast delivery of spares and easier part replacement and maintenance is very important for customers to enable them to get working again as quickly as possible.

When the company was formed in 2014, it subcontracted all the component manufacture. It started investing in XYZ Machine Tools in 2016 to bring some of the work in-house. The company first purchased an XYZ PROTURN SLX 425 lathe with ProtoTRAK® which it uses for turning large shafts 90mm diameter and 1m long in batches of 3 to 4 or up to 100 and, nylon up to 200mm diameter for the division blocks which size the dough balls. The machine is a gap bed lathe with a capacity of 2m and swing over the bed of 480mm. The extra length gives options for longer shafts. The operator has 20-30 tools ready set, so switching between programs stored in the control unit takes just 5-10 minutes.

For frame plates and the many parts which require lots of drilling, tapping and boring the company has an XYZ SMX 5000 with ProtoTRAK® which has a 1930mm x 356mm table. Programming is done on the control and fast changeover between jobs makes this machine ideal for 1 offs and low volumes of the around 500 different parts which go into a dough divider rounder.

The most recent acquisition is an XYZ 1000 TMC with ProtoTRAK® RMX control. James Goode, Manufacturing Manager says,

“The tool changer speeds machining up a lot and the enclosed cutting area is better from a health and safety and cleanliness perspective. We also like the handwheels on all the XYZ machines which allow us to move backwards and forwards through a program to prove it out. You can easily learn to program the ProtoTRAK® in one day.”

This machine is used for larger batches of parts up to around 50 off needing drilling, boring and tapping saving a considerable amount of time on tool changing. Additionally, tool setting is easy with the touch probe the offsets are recorded in the control by pressing the ABS set button. The machine has 20 pockets and the company has 10-12 tools set at any one time leaving capacity for preparing tooling for new jobs. Accuracies required are ±.025 mm with holes to H7, well within the capabilities of the machine.


Like many companies, PJ Innovations is conscious of the skills shortage, so has four apprentices undergoing training at the moment. James Goode says,

“The XYZ machines are perfect for the apprentices. They have been to XYZ’s training school in Nuneaton and the easy programming on ProtoTRAK® and the hand wheels for prove out are quick to learn. We need to train our own skilled people to take the company forward and as well as enabling more machining to be done in-house XYZ is helping us to achieve these goals.”