Key enrobing and aeration equipment makes its mark on confectionery sector

For our latest production feature, we explore the latest enrobing, aeration and tempering innovations in line with the 2019 trend for premium chocolate and confectionery products. Daisy Phillipson reports

The demand for premiumised chocolate products is growing across the globe, with key players such as Barry Callebaut, Mondelez International and Mars all stepping up their game when it comes to boosting their taste and visual profiles with diverse new products.

As outlined by the Market and Research report ‘Global Chocolate Market 2019-2023’, this trend for premium chocolate products is growing, especially in emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil.

One of the primary challenges impacting the growth of the chocolate market is the volatility in the price range of major ingredients such as cocoa and sugar, which will mean players will have to increase the final product price.

This rise in raw material costs at a time when consumers are demanding more premium products means that no matter what size the manufacturer, investing in innovative technology solutions to ensure continuous and accurate production is a must.

Versatile process
The enrobing process is a method that arms manufacturers with the ability to create decorative confectionery products that appeal to consumers seeking varied options. One machinery supplier who is always progressively looking at new and more effective methods to decrease down time, change overs and cleaning times whilst maintaining a high end product accuracy is PTL.

With these factors in mind, the company developed its removable tank enrober, which Project and Sales Engineer, Brandon Sermaine, said drastically reduces the change time between differing compound and real chocolate products, whilst also greatly improving access to all crucial components that require a thorough and hygienic wash down. This allows a confectionery manufacturer to save on labour costs and reduce changeover times, thus increasing the economical output overall.

In both the fixed and removable tank models, both come with a removable carriage as standard – designed and built for medium to large scale production – a variety of products can be fully or only bottom coated, while multiple options are available for the arrangement of internal equipment such as air curtains, decorators or chocolate curtains. In addition, PTL’s enrobers have a specially designed air temperature control system (ATC) controlling the environment within the enrobing area and ensuring accurate maintenance of temper.

“The removable tank and separate wire belt carriage can be replaced with a flat belt conveyor meaning that unenrobed product can be run whilst having the ability to clean the tank. This makes the machine more versatile, reducing down time,” explained Sermaine.

Top temper
In terms of the demand for premiumisation, the better quality a tempered chocolate can achieve, the better the final product can be, explained Piet Tæstensen, CEO at equipment specialist Aasted. Adding to its solid profile of solutions within the chocolate, bakery, and confectionery industries, the company introduced its StellaNova temper at this year’s ProSweets.

As the only temper machine in the market built entirely in stainless steel materials, StellaNova (featured top image at ProSweets) is a hygienic and longer lasting solution. What makes it like no machine before is that it has separate cooling and shearing processes – it’s now also possible to set the exit temperature as low as 27 degrees while maintaining the highest quality of crystals, giving manufacturers the possibility to raise production line output up to 40% by needing much shorter cooling time.

In terms of slashing on costs on the overall production plant, the StellaNova been developed to save up to a reported 50% of energy compared to the traditional tempering machines and comes fitted with a new simple and user-friendly interface.

Tæstensen said: “Following 1946, when Dr. Kaj Christian Sophus Aasted invented the world’s first patented continuous chocolate plate temperer, Aasted has been continuously advancing and perfecting the chocolate tempering process.” The StellaNova marks Aasted’s most recent innovation milestone in the generation of quality chocolate products.

Two for one

Speaking of milestones, another player in the chocolate production business is the Bühler Group, which recently combined its chocolate, nuts, bakery and coffee business with the acquisition of the Haas Group, the maker of wafer, biscuits and confectionery production systems.

Speaking about the acquisition, Stefan Scheiber, Bühler CEO, said: “This means we are opening a new chapter in the Consumer Food market, and we feel confirmed by the broad approval that we have received from many customers and employees.”

For the enrobing process, manufacturers of all sizes and requirements can choose from Bühler’s ChoCoat range: ChoCoat Premium, with PLC control and precise machine tempering for the highest product quality; ChoCoat Quick Change Over, specifically designed for significantly faster changeover of masses; ChoCoat Premium HD, a new generation of enrober designed to the latest confectionery industry standards of hygiene; and ChoCoat Favorit, a small-batch machine with a compact design for tailor-made usability.

Bühler equips the industry worldwide with plant sizes between more than 2,000 mm and 420 mm standard, bottom and full-enrobing machines, all of which demonstrate high volume output combined with precise reproducibility of masses, weights and decorations.

Air it out
Thanks to the recent acquisition, together Bühler and Haas will focus on the generation of customer value and the strengthening of the companies’ positions in their various markets. “Though we also offer food processing technologies and often have the same customers, our products and services do not overlap in any way – this means, we complement each other ideally,” said Scheiber.
By combining their processes, together the companies are able to achieve more production varieties. Aeration systems is just one of the processes Haas brings to the table – not only can this feature add value to a product, but it also gives items a low weight in relation to volume, thereby reducing the calories in a portion and tapping into the ever-increasing demand for healthier snack products.
When it comes to premiumisation, Haas’ aerating systems allow infinite control of the variables – mixing process, system pressure, flow rate, ratio between the liquid and gas phases, temperature – providing a uniform texture, continuous quality of product and versatility.

To ensure a level of quality is maintained throughout, at the heart of the continuous aeration system process is the mixing head, consisting of a rotor and stator both fitted with intermeshing pins, which provide constant shear to the product. This results in a better temperature regulation and controllable bubble size distribution – a quality assurance that provides more value for money.

The four pillars
No matter which path a manufacturer chooses for their confectionery and chocolate products, it’s worth keeping the four pillar trends for 2019 in mind: indulgence, premiumisation, health and sustainability. As the aforementioned suppliers have shown, benchmark solutions are continually being updated with efficiency and flexibility at the forefront of innovation to allow manufacturers to gratify these demands.

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