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Wrigley pioneers new gum production method

By staff reporter , 30-Aug-2006

Gum production could be revolutionized thanks to a new method developed by the Wrigley company.

The US gum maker has been awarded a patent for continuous gum manufacture, allowing flavours and sweeteners to be added to the gum base in a single step process.

Previously manufacturers have resorted to adding the delicate supplements at a later stage and, in some cases, in a different factory - driving up processing costs.

 

But Wrigley's invention consists of a single continuous mixer that allows every stage of the process to be completed in a single machine, cutting down on costs, labour and time.

 

The mixer contains built-in openings through which ingredients can be fed to the base mixture at the optimal temperature and feed-rate.

 

Chewing gum typically consists of a water soluble component, a water insoluble gum base and flavouring agents.

 

But high-intensity sweeteners and flavouring agents are more unstable than the standard gum base and therefore have traditionally been processed in a separate environment.

 

By developing a range of different sized apertures on the mixer and adding specifically-engineered pumps, Wrigley have devised a way of adding the heat-sensitive, structurally delicate compounds to the mix without fear of degrading.

 

Continuous gum production is not entirely new to the industry as several companies have employed the method with varying degrees of success.

 

Initially the gum base was prepared separately and added to the mixture and, when a method which encompassed all stages of production was developed in 1990, it made use of unconventional bases lacking in essential ingredients such as elastomers.

 

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