Combining more than a 100 years of moulding tradition with modern injection processes
The US division of Bole Machinery, specialising in injection moulding equipment lines, offers an insight into its relationship with fellow American business Micelli Mold Co, delivering moulding for the country’s confectionery sector for over a century
New York-based Micelli Mold Co, in West Babylon, has been in business since 1917 making chocolate moulds for leading chocolate companies throughout North America. For the 60 years these intricate chocolate moulds were made of metal. In about 1987, the company changed over to produce precision chocolate moulding through an injection process.
Today, the business is regarded as the only company in North America that produces these high-tolerance chocolate moulds supplied to 700 chocolate companies. Only nine companies in the world are believed to deliver such lines. Consequently, making these precision chocolate moulds from polycarbonate requires injection moulding presses that offer a stable platen design that reduces deflection and provides longer life for the aluminum moulds out of which the candy moulds are made.
Tim Goddeau, co-owner of Micelli who, along with a partner, purchased Micelli Mold in 2007, said that Bole Machinery offered the best moulding machine for the job. Micelli was one of the first US. customers to purchase a Bole EK series machine, and it was the toggle design that sold Goddeau on the Bole machine.
Bole’s EKS line incorporates this patented, German-engineered toggle linkage design known as the “Center Clamp” toggle system. Traditional toggle designs place the toggle pins near the outside edges of the platens resulting in platen deflection – the bending of the platen around the mould. This deflection causes parting line wear – something aluminium moulds are particularly susceptible – and can result in a poor quality chocolate mould.
“The toggle system is unique – the toggle lock is 100% horizontal and is very efficient in that there are certain jobs in which we can run less tonnage and hold the part weight accurately,” said Goddeau, adding that part weights range from one pound for the smallest chocolate mould up to eight pounds for the largest, and have wall thicknesses of .0150 in. to .0160 in., and up to 4 feet long by 1 ft. wide that can mould 244 pieces of chocolate at a time. Flatness is absolutely critical and the chocolate moulds need to hold 0010 in. over 4 feet.
“These are very high tolerance chocolate moulds,” emphasised Goddeau. “Our customers have a system to check to make sure the tolerances on every cavity are exact within .0002 in. tolerance. A lot of the chocolate machinery is made in Europe and operates with incredibly high tolerances for the chocolate pieces.”
Micelli purchased the first Bole machine in 2015 when Goddeau was looking to add some equipment. “I came across the Bole machine and it was the same cost as a used machine I’d been looking at that had no warranty,” said Goddeau. “That plus the customised features of the Bole to give me exactly what I needed made the decision easy.
Micelli has been running that machine – an 800-ton press – for the past five years, six days a week, and it has proven to be ideal for the job.
“Because we do not have high-volume production we build our moulds out of aluminium, and need good clamping to extend the life of these moulds,” explained Goddeau. Micelli builds about 250 chocolate moulds each year, most of them built for 100-200 pieces and the biggest producing 2,000 pieces of chocolate. They are produced in the company’s five Bole injection moulding machines – including a Bole DK two-platen machine – that range from 200 to 1400 tons.
“Our relationship with Bole is more than just a customer and a supplier,” commented Goddeau. “We help each other. They go out of their way to help us with customising the machines specific to the work I do. I’ve looked at several machines but I believe these are the best on the market.”