NETZSCH-Feinmahltechnik, which is represented through the NETZSCH Confectionery division, has developed a plant design that is based on the principles of flexibility and efficiency.
NETZSCH wanted to design a fast, hygienic and compact confectionery mass preparation system that would be user friendly, highly energy efficient and capable of producing all kinds of sweet treats, even in smaller quantities. The NETZSCH Confectionery engineers performed a contemporary redesign of the traditional production processes – mixing, pre-grinding, refining, and dry and wet conching – but without neglecting or reducing any of them. The result is a fully enclosed and integrated system that is ideal for chocolate mass production.
Enclosed chocolate production lines
In this totally enclosed chocolate production line all the main equipment can work simultaneously, significantly reducing the time usually lost to process adjustments when some equipment is not operational or must be adjusted for other product.
The revolutionary ‘Conching by NETZSCH’ concept employs very low fat content during the exclusive dry conching step, enabling complete flavour and rheological development in a much shorter timeframe and with considerable energy savings. The acids from cocoa fermentation, such as acetic acid, are efficiently volatilised, resulting in the mild flavour desired for chocolate mass. This is obtained through the thorough volumetric aeration of the dry chocolate mass under slow agitation.
The surface chemical reactions and flavour diffusion between the main raw materials cocoa, sugar and milk, as well as the reduction of the starting moisture, occur efficiently in a suitable environment due to the perfect temperature control and controlled porous aeration of the conch. This is the result of an intelligent combination of temperature, time and process sequence, with no need for complex machinery adjustments for each product variation and no need for a high-energy agitator to disperse the cocoa-sugar-milk particles.
Innovative plant concept for flexibility in chocolate production
The secret of this concept is primarily within the process sequence; as the final refining of the mass is performed after the conching, the producer has a lot of freedom in terms of process parameters, like lower fat content during conching. There is no need for a high shear / energy consuming conch to disperse the particles, as this is done in the subsequent process step.
NETZSCH’s product portfolio includes a range of refiners specially developed for confectionery applications. World-renowned NETZSCH enclosed bead mills are successfully used to refine high-quality chocolate or premium compound mass after conching.
Due to the high-performance materials employed and the very high process efficiency with lower specific energy demand, the product is preserved. Additionally the flavour development achieved in the conch is further improved in the bead mill due to high mixture and contact forces acting in the turbulent grinding and mixing chamber.
The process, which is a slightly modified version of the traditional manufacturing process, also facilitates very easy and accurate adjustment of fineness and quality to extreme finenesses below 10µm.
Chocolate production equipment
NETZSCH’s modular RUMBA chocolate production plant is available in different sizes, enabling a variety of requirements to be met, from 750kg all the way up to 6,000kg batch size and more than 100t/day.
The CHOCOEASY® U-Conch and LME Bead Mill series can be scaled up with high accuracy. These models are extremely flexible and can easily produce white, milk and dark chocolate and even lecithin-free chocolate. In addition, all kinds of flavourings and additives can be mixed into the recipe any time in order to reach new target groups or to surprise existing ones.
Testing laboratory for chocolate production
In new product development, it is vital to understand whether and how new varieties can be produced perfectly from a technical standpoint before mass production can begin. Variables such as temperature, aeration and processing time are crucial to the well-balanced desired flavour of the end product.
In Germany NETZSCH-Feinmahltechnik has established a WHITELAB specifically dedicated to 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.
Support from raw material to chocolate mass
NETZSCH provides worldwide support for your confectionery mass production projects, from the raw materials all the way through to the finished product. To ensure the success of your investment from the beginning, we take on the planning and implementation of your new production lines and can also train your personnel.