Easy to clean chocolate machine cuts hygiene risks

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hygiene

New chocolate moulding equipment which can be cleaned quickly and
easily has been developed by British firm Spooner Vicars,
targetting manufacturers wary of hygiene considerations.

Displayed at the IBA trade fair for the first time last week, the vdE Chocolate Moulding machine is designed for decorative, filled chocolates and promises reduced downtime for sanitation.

Health and safety have always been a high priority for chocolatiers but recent scares in the industry, such as the UK Cadbury Schweppes salmonella contamination, have prompted manufacturers to reassess cleaning procedures.

Designer Hans van der Ent of Van der Ent Machines told confectionerynews.com the machine was created to suit manufacturers prioritising cost and cleanliness and estimated that it could be cleaned within 20 minutes.

He said: "Hygiene is a big factor. We kept the design of the machine simple so that it can be cleaned easily but it is still very efficient - with one machine you can do a number of products."

The Spooner Vicars equipment, which can process 25 moulds a minute and accommodates a range of differently weighted moulds, carries template trays down a conveyor belt where they are filled with jets, vibrated and cooled.

The company claims the deposit accuracy of the jets means moulds cannot be overfilled, reducing waste and mess.

Once the trays are filled they are vibrated to allow the chocolate shells to set.

According to Van der Ent, vibrating rather than the commonly-used tapping process is more effective as it reduces the risk of air pockets forming and produces a good shell for the chocolate filling.

Trapped air and weak shells in the final product can prove a problem for manufacturers as shelf life and chocolate quality are badly affected.

In addition to safeguarding chocolate freshness, vibrating rather than tapping dramatically reduces noise during processing, an important consideration in the factory environment.

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