Innovation to feature at chocolate industry trade fair

Wednesday, 13 January, 2016

Innovation to feature at chocolate industry trade fair

There are few limits to the variety of shapes and flavours produced by the sweets industry, and new innovations are appearing regularly. This is made possible by the highly flexible production lines which will be on display at ProSweets Cologne, the international supplier trade fair for the sweets and snacks industry.

Over 300 exhibitors will be presenting solutions at the fair, which will run from 31 January to 3 February 2016.

Meeting changing consumer demand

Chocolate manufacturers must keep an eye on the diverse tastes of their customers, and regularly experiment with recipes that correspond to new preferences. Not only classic chocolate bars, but also sweet hollow figures, are moving with the trend towards a high cocoa content. A further trend is fillings made of exotic ingredients such as pureed fruit and spices.

Diversity at the sweets counter demands efficient production systems in which as many work steps as possible should be carried out by a single production machine. At the same time, a high degree of flexibility is demanded so that small and medium-sized batches can be produced economically.

In particular, the trend towards innovative fillings requires more complex machinery. On display at ProSweets Cologne will be modular production lines for filled and unfilled products. The machines offer a variety of options, from different pouring and coating methods through to different filling, inserting and moulding alternatives. For example, thanks to an additional module, a production machine for chocolate bars can be converted into a machine for producing hollow figures in just a few easy steps.

Precise moulding

Elegant chocolates demand perfect shapes. Traditionally, liquid chocolate is poured into an existing mould comprising two half shells and is moulded using a multi-axle casting process while cooling the interior walls. A critical point that arises during the casting process of hollow figures is the danger of different shell thicknesses.

Exhibitor Winkler and Dünnebier opens up new avenues for the manufacturers of Santas, Easter bunnies and bears with its ‘flash shell cooling’ methods, where a cryogenic stamp is briefly immersed in the liquid chocolate and a thin layer freezes on the stamp and is moulded. The machine precisely moulds complicated half shells in a few seconds and enables a uniform shell thickness of under two millimetres for the entire surface of the figure. Chunky ingredients, such as nuts, can be processed if they are homogeneously mixed with the chocolate before being stamped.

Chocotech, Bühler and Knobel will be presenting ‘frozen shell’, ‘cool core’ and ‘cold press’ in Cologne — solutions which mould the hollow figure for filled chocolates based on the cold-stamping principle. A multiple-stamping head developed by Bühler allows flexibility in the moulding process.

Filled with a ‘shot’

Traditional methods for filling chocolates entail multistage processes. After the shell has been moulded, the filling is dosed inside in a second step and then the lid is attached to the product. The modern alternative is the one-stage, one-shot pouring machines, which dose the chocolate and the filling at the same time using two concentric nozzles.

Normally, low-viscosity fillings cannot be dosed together with the chocolate mass using the one-shot method. However, a joint research project by Winkler & Dünnebier, sugar manufacturer Pfeifer & Langen and the Institute for Food and Bioprocess Engineering of the Dresden Technical University has registered a patent for a method that enables the production of liqueur chocolates using the one-shot method. In this method, starch is added to the liqueur 24 hours before use to increase the viscosity. Before the pouring process begins, a natural enzyme is added as a liquefier, which breaks down the starch in the course of a few days. By the time the chocolate reaches the consumer, the filling is completely fluid again.

More information on Prosweets Cologne can be found here.

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