14 Dec 2012 Article

NETZSCH at ProSweets

Innovative Plant Concept maximizes Value Added and Flexibility in Chocolate Production

The best way to predict the future is to create it!
(Abraham Lincoln)

Intelligence used for value added solution, space saving, hygiene and flexibility are the needs for modern chocolate mass and premium compound production. As the number of products and specialties increase the confectionery mass manufacturing becomes more and more less a commodity and demands more flexible solution like for product variation, exchange and for new products in the same line, the feature of cleaning in place and fully enclosed equipment with wide application range are preferred.

NETZSCH-Feinmahltechnik GmbH, nowadays represented through his NETZSCH Confectionery Division, has between others developed a plant design which is firmly based on the pillars of flexibility and efficiency. The project was defined a few years ago as follows: design a confectionery mass preparation system that is fast, user friendly, hygienic, compact, highly energy efficient and capable of producing all kinds of sweet treats, even in smaller quantities – a plant with which the imagination of the user knows no bounds.

The NETZSCH Confectionery engineers performed a contemporary redesign of the classic traditional production processes mixing, pre-grinding, refining, dry and wet conching, but without neglecting or reducing any of them. The result is a fully enclosed, integrated and high utilization level system can be selected for the chocolate mass production.

Chocolate Process “by NETZSCH”

On this modern concept of totally enclosed production line all the main equipment of the line can work on their specific steps simultaneously, reducing significantly the losses in time and process adjustment when one of the equipments is not in operation or must be adjusted for other product.

Due the revolutionary “Conching by NETZSCH” concept, which employs very low fat content during the exclusive dry conching step, it is possible to achieve the whole flavor and rheological development in much shorter time and saving energy. The acids from cocoa fermentation, like acetic acid, are volatilized in very efficient way on this step giving the mild flavor desired for chocolate mass. This is obtained through the exclusive thoroughly volumetric aeration of the dry chocolate mass under slow agitation. The surface chemical reactions and flavor diffusion between the main raw materials cocoa, sugar and milk, as well the reduction of the starting moisture, occur efficiently in a suitable environment due the perfect temperature control and controlled porous aeration of the Conch. It is the result of intelligent combination of temperature, time and process sequence, no need of complex machinery adjustments for each product variation or high energy agitator to disperse the cocoa-sugar-milk particles on this moment of the process.

How is this possible?

The secret of this provocative concept stays primarily on the process sequence, the final refining of the mass being done after the conching gives the producer a lot of freedom in process parameters like lower fat content during conching, no need for high shear / energy consuming Conch to disperse the particles, as this is done in the subsequent process step.

“Refining by NETZSCH”: with a modern line of refiners specially developed for the Confectionery Application, the worldwide known NETZSCH enclosed bead mills are successfully employed for the refining of the high quality Chocolate or Premium Compound Mass after the conching. Due the high performance materials employed and the very high process efficiency with lower specific energy demand, the product is preserved. Additionally the flavor development achieved in the Conch is even improved in the bead mill due high mixture and contact forces acting in the turbulent grinding and mixing chamber. The process, which is slightly modified in comparison to the traditional manufacturing process, also facilitates very easy and accurate adjustment of fineness and quality going down to extreme finenesses below 10 Microns (µm). NETZSCH offers the modular plant in six different sizes. In this way, requirements from 750 kg all the way up to 6,000 kg batch size and over 100 Tons/day can be met precisely. The NETZSCH Plant machine like the ChocoEasy® U-Conch and LME Bead Mill series can be scaled up with high accuracy. Flexibility is the primary advantage common to every model. Each model can easily produce white, milk and dark chocolate and even allows the production of lecithin-free chocolate. In addition, all kinds of flavorings and additives can be mixed into the recipe anytime in order to reach new target groups or to surprise existing ones.

However, it must be clear whether and how new varieties can be produced perfectly from a technical standpoint before mass production can begin. After all, variables such as temperature, aeration and processing time are crucial to the well-balanced desired flavor of the end product. In order to achieve the optimum, NETZSCH-Feinmahltechnik has established in Germany a WhiteLab specifically dedicated for demonstrating and testing all possible recipes and machine configurations in advance. Thanks to customers who continuously bring us new challenges the components of the NETZSCH System are being refined on an ongoing basis in order to make production of the perfect chocolate even more efficient, even faster and even easier. The latest successful innovation of our engineers is the production of the new Samba components, which facilitate direct feeding of granulated crystal sugar into the agitator bead mill. This has made the production process even more flexible.

Everyone interested on really modernizing the chocolate mass production and getting the most efficient and flexible solution with hygienic enclosed systems, or the same for Premium Compound masses and wanting to try out a new recipe quickly and easily prior to mass production, can find all the information they need about the technology, the possibilities and the advantages of the NETZSCH Process in early 2013 at the NETZSCH Confectionery booth at ProSweets Show in Cologne. There will be live demonstrations of chocolate production – from addition of the raw ingredients through to packaging and distribution of the finished product. You can make no mistake by tasting the product that can be yours soon.

Please visit our booth G40/H49 in hall 10.1, from January 27 to 30 at ProSweets Cologne.