Cologne, Germany — Thousands of confectionery manufacturers descended on Germany last week to learn about the latest in packaging and processing technologies from suppliers to the confectionery and snacking industry. Following are just a few of the packaging and processing innovations on display during the four-day event.
Loesch Verpackungstechnik presented its RCB-HS wrapping head machine used to produce hermetically sealed bars of chocolate. In addition to small chocolate items, the latest version of the LTM-DUO die-fold machine reflects the growing popularity of tightly sealed chocolate bars.
“The R series for small chocolate products and bars combines a premium look and ideal product protection in an end-to-end hermetically sealed pack,” says Loesch CEO Dr. Thomas Cord. “The extremely compact RCB-HS machine platform has been rigorously designed for top performance and handles the primary packaging in modern chocolate production reliably and flexibly.”
The RCB-HS operates continuously and produces the fold wrap in one wrapping head. It circumferentially heat-seals or cold-seals the packaging material as required, according to the company. The sealing jaws seal film against film, ensuring extremely tight packaging and preventing thermal damage to the products. Set-up time for a format changeover is around 60 minutes, while in most cases belt changes and cleaning can be carried out without the use of tools, Loesch maintains.
LoeschPack also presented the LTM-DUO. The latest generation of the flexible fold wrapping machine packs up to 215 bars of chocolate a minute in a primary wrap and an outer wrap. Alongside conventional packaging materials, the primary wrap can also use bio-degradable packaging film with an output of up to 180 bars a minute, the company claims. The outer wrap can be executed as a paper envelope from the stack or reel, or as a cardboard box.
The ECOGRAV from Chocotech is a flexible gravimetric weighing unit with a buffer tank and an integrated continuous pressure dissolver which uses the moisture of the glucose (corn syrup) to dissolve crystal sugar (or sugar free ingredient i.e. Isomalt) without having to add any or little water. The result, according to the company, is substantial energy savings. The unit is ideal for hard candies, chewy candies, fondants, and cooked sugar solutions for bars and allows a dry solids level of up 90 percent to be achieved prior to cooking. This approach, the company maintains, substantially reduces the energy required compared to traditional processes which start the cooking step at 75 percent to 80 percent dry solids, resulting in steam savings from 30 to 70 percent. Other advantages, the company reports, stem from the flexibility of a gravimetrical weighing system, which enables easy recipe and ingredient changes and last but not least the savings of potable water in the recipe.
In addition, the company showcased its PRINCESS SUCROMASTER, a hygienically designed cooking and vacuum system for sugar and sugarfree hard candy. The standard system is designed with a static cooker type SUCROTWIST. The system on display included a dynamic thin film cooker type SUCROFILM, which the company says is ideal for hard candies which contain milk in the recipe. The system comes with a vacuum extraction screw and a specially designed dynamic mixer for adding color, flavor and acid into the cooked mass. It is also designed for; laminated, center filled, caramelized, sugar free, aerated, layered (multi-color) and medicated hard candy.
A main highlight at the Winkler und Dünnebier Süßwarenmaschinen stand was the ConfecPRO type 670 chocolate production line. The plant meets the needs of manufacturers who want to target a medium to high output quantity – but at the same time are planning a subsequent growth-oriented expansion of the plant, according to the company.
“Concerning the ConfecPRO type 670, we are talking about a production capacity of up to 5,000 kg per hour. Important here is the wide range of different chocolate products that can be produced. The greatest possible product flexibility is a particular concern for our customers,” said WDS Managing Director Rainer Runkel. “For confectionery manufacturers, the ConfecPRO type 670 is definitely a future-oriented investment because the modular design allows for subsequent and easy expansion that can be carried out at any time and with very little effort.
Sales Manager Thomas Kleppel also pointed out the advantages to the customers: “This system is durable, of high-quality design that meets the highest hygienic requirements thanks to the EasyClean execution.”
When asked about the effort involved in converting to a different product, he explained: “From the very outset, the ConfecPRO type 670 was designed in such a way that changeover times can be kept as short as possible. This is due to, among other things, its particularly good accessibility, and the fact that almost all parts of the system that come into contact with the product masses can be replaced without any tools.”
Tomra Food showcased both horizontal belt and vertical free-fall sorting equipment for gummies and delicate confectionery products at ProSweets 2019. The systems are designed to remove defective articles and foreign materials.
Genius optical belt sorters use a combination of technologies to remove discolored products and foreign materials. A variety of inspection technologies such as high-resolution cameras and lasers are deployed in different areas of the system. State-of-the-art ejectors remove faulty gummies or delicate confectionery within milliseconds in two or three streams.
The Nimbus free-fall sorter represents a new generation of sorting solutions, according to the company. The modular platform uses laser scanning and camera technology to separate falling products based on discoloration and deformation. The Nimbus is also able to sort articles by biological characteristics. The front ejection system (FES) uses optimal pitch for the enhanced removal of defects, reduce false rejects and improve yield.
Karel Strubbe, regional sales director EMEA at Tomra Food, emphasizes: “Our innovative sorting systems for sweets such as gummies demonstrate TOMRA’s many years of expertise in food sorting systems. Reliable detection guarantees food safety. This protects our customers’ brand reputations through consistently high product quality, and therefore provides a real competitive advantage.”
A T-Gel Pilot Plant was the focus of the Tanis Confectionery stand. The plant is a small capacity T-Gel Kitchen offering one-skid preparation, cooking and blending, completely wired and equipped with software and, optionally, an HMI. According to the company, the plant has a capacity range of between 100kg and 750kg/hr, making it ideal for special hand-formed products, test products and small-scale production.
The company’s turnkey solutions for the entire gums and jellies production process, from concept to finished project, have capacities ranging from 250kg up to 6,000kg/hr.
Showcasing products with unique taste sensations, new textures, bright colors, exquisite mouthfeel and the emotional enjoyment that comes from “Multi-Sensory Experiences,” Doehler GmbH presented a broad range of natural ingredients and product concepts to meet these demands.
Visitors to Doehler’s stand found spoonable cookie dough enriched with brown flavors and malt extracts, which provided a unique taste experience. The “Naked cake – Mango” featured high-quality fruit preparations, natural flavors and fruity mango taste, while the newly developed “switcher gums” provided a special taste sensation. These fruit gums combine two flavors, with the sweet vanilla coating making way to a sour rhubarb center when chewing the gum.
Doehler also presented its coating systems. The portfolio includes sugar polishes and glazes to give products a shining appearance even in combination with natural colors, as well as chocolate polishes and confectioners’ glazes for visually appealing chocolate sweets. These can be combined with the wide range of natural flavors. The company also exhibited gum polishes based on natural waxes alongside polishes for extruded licorice products to prevent the product from sticking together.
The company’s portfolio of sweetening solutions, which enable sugar reduction of up to 100 percent, is complemented by a new range of MultiSense flavors. These can be used to achieve significant sugar reduction without having to use sweeteners, or to significantly improve the taste and mouthfeel of reduced sugar products, according to the company.
The first public showing of MacIntyre Chocolate Systems Ltd.’s next generation refiner/conche was at ProSweets 2019. The unit represents what the company calls the simplest method of mixing, refining and conching chocolates and fat-based masses, and are available alone or as part of MacIntyre’s Artisan Line — a complete system for cocoa bean to liquid chocolate.
The firm claims the range offers more flexible and enhanced control of the refining process, together with improved design and easier maintenance. With processing capacities from 500kg up to 5,000kg the units can produce particle sizes as low as 15 microns.
The company maintains the unit can grind nuts into paste and cocoa nibs into liquor for artisanal bars in addition to producing compounds, ice cream coatings, chocolate spreads, yoghurt coatings and sweet and savory cremes. It incorporates roasting, winnowing, liquor grinding, chocolate refining and conching, in a single compact production line.
“MacIntyre is committed to setting the very highest standards in fine chocolate making,” says Joe Gorman, operations director, MacIntyre Chocolate Systems. “The New Generation Refiner/Conche and Artisan Line give confectionery and savory snack manufacturers the opportunity to produce exciting new products.”
Highlighted by GEA during the expo was the SmartPacker CX250-S, a vertical form-fill-seal packaging system (VFFS) for high-speed packing of confectionery, snacks and nuts and the GEA Aquarius TwistWrapper for lollipops with its unique OverlapSeal option. The easy-to-open option provides unique added value to lollipop packaging.
The new SmartPacker CX250-S vertical bagger builds on its predecessors and integrates new technologies, which make it quicker and easier to use while providing increased production efficiency and improved bag quality, the company claims. The jaws operate with a high seal force – almost twice as high as the previous model – to enable gas-tight bags across a greater range of film materials. The jaws also create more accurate and stable longitudinal and cross seals for improved pack quality and presentation, according to GEA.
The low-drop design between weigher and jaw-head enables compact and high-speed filling and reduces the chance of damage to brittle products. The improved product-in-seal detection function helps facilitate uninterrupted production even if product fouls the seal area. The detection function automatically creates a double-bag to deter contamination or damage to the sealing jaws or knife, ensuring that the process continues.
The CX250-S produces pillow bags 70 to 250 mm wide and up to 0.3 kg in weight and can run up to 250 bags per minute.
The GEA Aquarius TwistWrapper has the OverlapSeal option, developed especially for the TwistWrapper. The hermetically sealed twist wrap style extends the shelf life of lollipops, particularly in environments with high humidity. A tear slit makes the OverlapSeal double-twist is easy to open. The machine uses less wrapping film during production when compared to other wrapping techniques, according to the company. The standard TwistWrapper 600 with OverlapSeal handles lollipop diameters from 18 to 30 mm and accommodates film reels up to 420 mm in diameter. The minimum wrapping speed is based on 600 lollipops per minute.
“Twist-wrapped lollipops give producers the opportunity to offer consumers another look and increase shelf appeal on the retail floor. Products attract more attention and can even make the lollipop look larger,” says Kees le Loux, GEA segment sales manager confectionery.
Calling it the “most striking advance in the chocolate tempering process since 1946,” Aasted ApS introduces the new StellaNova temperer. The units are the only temperers built entirely with stainless steel materials, the company claims, which “makes it a longer lasting and hygienic solution.”
The StellaNova has separate cooling and shearing processes and allows for the ability to adjust exit temperature and the temper index separately. It also makes it possible to set the exit temperature as low as 27ºC while maintaining the highest quality of crystals, allowing for the possibility to raise line output up to 40 percent by reducing cooling time.
Overall, the units produce no unwanted crystals, use a smaller motor and no required reheat results in a 50 percent energy savings. It also has no required add-ons and a compact design that weighs 50 percent less than traditional units.
Sollich KG’s Turbotemper e type TE 1100 D with a tempering capacity of 1,100kg per hour provides optimum tempering of different types of chocolate, resulting in a constant enrobing quality, a high shelf-life and an attractive gloss of enrobed or moulded products, according to the company. The integrated touch panel with intuitive surface and recipe management offers easy handling and reproduction of the machine settings. The Tempergraph is designed for online measuring of the degree of temper and ensures a constant product quality.
The company also offers Enromat enrobing machines with working widths of up to 2,600 mm and Temperstatic series with belt width of between 820 and 1,300 mm including integrated tempering. The Enromat M6-1050 CIP, with a belt width of 1,050 mm, allows options for precise adjusting of the product coating. Mass changeovers requiring a thorough cleaning are now possible automatically within two to three hours, the company claims.
Sollich’s new compact mini enrobing machine type Minicoater MC 420 is available in 320 mm and 420 mm working widths. The Minicoater MC has a built-in tempering system and mobile execution. The subsequent cooling tunnel Thermo Flow LSK 420 combines radiation and convection cooling
The Tempermeter Typ E6 for the manual control of the temper index of chocolate masses offers an integrated touch-screen panel that simplifies the operation and provides additional options for data analysis and transfer, according to the company.
Gerhard Schubert GmbH and Schubert Packaging Systems GmbH presents its lightline Flowpacker equipped with the company’s latest heat-sealing technology, which allows for heat-sensitive products to be packaged gently while maintaining a high level of performance. The Flowpacker is part of the company’s new lightline machine series of three attractively priced, preconfigured machines for standard packaging tasks.
The lightline consists of the Flowmodul flow-wrapping component and a picker line, which packs unpacked or trayed products into flowpacks. The Flowmodul is compatible with all common hot and cold sealing films and delivers maximum flexibility in terms of product mix.
The series also includes the lightline Cartonpacker for packaging products into cartons and the lightline Pickerline for pick and place applications. The units are all compact and efficient with “attractive investment costs” and very short delivery times.
Hamburg Dresdner Maschinenfabriken featured the lab version of its 5-Roll Refiner at ProSweets 2019. The refiner allows the company to prove the capabilities and quality achievable for refined high quality chocolate, compounds and cremes. The belt measuring system provides consistent production to a defined particle size through automatic adjustment of the rollers, operating 24/7.
The vertical and horizontal conching option is designed to accommodate a wide range of customer processing requirements. The continuous conching system offers an alternative for continuous processing.