Indonesia's next top biscuit - made by you?

Indonesia's sweet tooth for biscuits

Biscuits are extremely popular in Indonesia, with Indonesians purchasing more than $1 billion worth of biscuits each year. However, the long-term outlook for Indonesian biscuits might not be so sweet. The biscuit industry is only expected to grow at around 4 percent per year until 2018, the same as back in 2008, which means biscuit-makers will find it harder and harder to stay profitable. Biscuit-making companies have a few options to stay in business: continue to compete on price, quality, or be innovative. The latter will involve creating new biscuits that capture the hearts and taste-buds of Indonesian consumers.

One biscuit brand designed specifically for Indonesia has almost 300,000 people who “Like” it on Facebook – that's a lot of love for a single biscuit! It shows that biscuits inspire a lot of brand loyalty in Indonesia, particularly around emotive issues like children's health.

What if they could do all three? This would be of huge benefit to not only manufacturers, but biscuit-buyers all around Indonesia. In fact, imagine if you could not only get high-quality sweet biscuits at a low price, but even customize them to your own tastes!

With 3D printing, biscuits take on a whole new level of personal creativity.

3D printing biscuits the way you like it

3D printing could make this possible. That's right, even biscuits can be printed with today's 3D printing technology. Oreo, a cookie made by Nabisco combined the use of 3D printing with personal experience by allowing customers to build customized cookies in a little over a minute. This offers a whole new experience for customers when consuming a cookie. Will customized biscuits be the solutions to biscuit manufacturers in Indonesia today? Right now, most of the 3D biscuits are made either by freehand or depend on the use of biscuit molds to get the same size, shape, weight, consistency, while maintaining their taste. Biscuits produced this way not only differ in color or shape, but can elicit a more positive reaction when it comes to consumer's opinion and brand loyalty.

With 3D printing, biscuit-makers can produce a far greater range of biscuits but only in smaller batches and higher price. That's because 3D printing is very different from today's manufacturing processes that are automated.

3D printing has the potential to bring joy to millions of people both in Indonesia and around the world.
Budi Sutanto, Managing Director PT, Omron Electronics Indonesia.
Smart cameras allow for precise monitoring of biscuits produced.

See biscuit, print biscuit, eat biscuit

This is where Omron's suite of advanced sensor technologies come in. The key to producing perfect biscuits lies in closely monitoring the biscuits produced. Precision sensors from Omron can ensure consistency in production by feeding data about the printed biscuits back to the production machine. For example, Omron's advanced thin-beam fiber sensor can detect even a 0.5mm increase in the size of the biscuits and send information to reduce the amount of dough used. In the same way, using Omron's innovative twin-output fiber-sensor, we can detect the color of the biscuits, making sure none of them are pale and underdone and adjusting the oven temperature to ensure each cookie is baked to perfection. Omron's keen sensor technology can even detect if the biscuit labels have been well printed! This ensures that the whole process of production, down to the taste of each biscuit, can be closely controlled and quality can be ensured.

"The implications of 3D printing are huge for any manufacturing industry, including those in food retail like biscuit producers,” said Budi Sutanto, Managing Director PT, Omron Electronics Indonesia. “Manufacturing in Indonesia, whether of chocolate chips or computer chips, will quickly move towards greater efficiency and greater variety of more personalized product."

Omron's precision sensors can truly help innovative manufacturers in ensuring quality and consistency in delivery. This will be essential to keep production lines responsive enough to meet the quick changes in consumer tastes and personalization of their preferences.

Ultimately, 3D printing has the potential to bring joy to millions of people both in Indonesia and around the world, allowing even biscuits to be so personal that they spark an emotional connection. Every biscuit will be your favorite biscuit. The sweetness that 3D printing will bring to consumers is not just about the taste of food; it’s just another example of how automation, as a critical part of 3D printing, is a key ingredient in the happiness of everyday people.

Can automation create happiness?