Whether it's a creamy mousse, a fruity, nutty or exotic filling, whether a bread spread or aromatic chocolate: increasingly sophisticated recipes and creations are meant to continuously whet the consumer's appetite anew for chocolate and sweets that contain cocoa. At the same time, profitability and efficiency must add up on the production side, especially for processing essential commodities such as sugar and cocoa. The agitator bead mills from Netzsch set the standard for design and features – and facilitate a variety of applications with just one machine.
As flavor enhancers for chocolate and fillings containing chocolate, sugar, cocoa and milk powder delight the taste-buds. And the lower the processing temperature, the better the taste experience. Generally, temperatures of 50 to 75 degrees Celsius are generated when grinding confectionery masses with traditional agitator bead mills.
In contrast, depending on the application and requirements, agitator bead mills from the NETZSCH MasterRefiner series operate in the range of 40 degrees Celsius and are easy on the valuable feedstock - to the benefit of the flavor quality as well as the economic efficiency. In numbers: if the conventional production process for a chocolate mass requires a total of around 250 kilowatt hours per ton, for example, a comparable Netzsch plant requires only 140 kilowatt hours.
This is based not least on the ingenious design and features of the separator system and grinding media with a bead diameter of only a few millimeters. As a result, the agitator bead mills can achieve an efficient, high throughput even for the fine grinding of sugar, cocoa or milk powder in highly-viscous confectionery masses. During the grinding process, the DCC® separator system mechanically prevents the beads from creating unnecessary frictional pressure at the grinding chamber outlet. Combined with optimized grinding tools, this reduces the energy expenditure by up to 40 percent, thus considerably lowering the process temperature for the very same production capacity.
This essential advantage for energy-efficient production is not the only advantage of the NETZSCH agitator bead mills by far. "This concept and design opens not only a broader window of temperatures but a broader range of product properties as well," explained Theron Harbs, Managing Director of NETZSCH Confectionery. With one and the same machine, the user can expand his variety of applications and products with respect to fat content and viscosity." In addition, the mills can be equipped with the Samba pre-grinding system, which increases the hourly output of the MasterRefiner 6, for example, from 20 to 36 kilograms per hour.
In this way, the most varied recipes can be run and frequent, rapid product changeover cycles are possible - a prerequisite for continuous utilization during contract production. A manufacturer that produces fillings for waffles today can make chocolaty spreads with the same plant tomorrow. "Thus," stresses Theron Harbs, "manufacturers can meet customer requirements and emerging taste preferences far into the future."
The concept of the Netzsch agitator bead mills, optimized for confectionery products in design and features, delivers another advantage in addition to the expanded application range: the risk, that high temperatures during the grinding of confectionery masses could result in undesired caramelization and compromise the quality of the end product, belongs once and for all in the past in a well-run production process. This creates reliability for a consistent flavor profile and ensures stable product quality.