Baker Perkins to make flat lollipops and turns to 3D printing to shorten mold development times
Keith Graham, marketing manager, Baker Perkins, told ConfectioneryNews, the ServoForm lollipop depositor previously made ball lollipops not flat ones.
'Significant difference in the technology'
“Although the products are superficially quite similar there is a significant difference in the technology used to make them,” he said.
“In the ball lollipop system the molds are filled with candy syrup then the stick is inserted vertically and held by the machine until the syrup has set. In the new flat lollipop system the sticks are inserted into the molds horizontally and held by clips in the molds themselves while the candy is deposited around them.”
He added, this means the ServoForm Flat Lollipop depositor is similar to the ServoForm Candy depositor but by changing the mold set the machine can produce hard candies.
“Although the molds are relatively easy to change there are a lot of them. The ServoForm is a high output system so it is not a change a manufacturer would make on a daily basis but weekly is certainly possible.”
The second innovation Baker Perkins has come up with is the ability to use 3D printing to shorten the development cycle for mold development.
“3D printing is well-known as technology that can produce test components very quickly but we are using it not simply to produce models for evaluation but test molds into which hot candy syrup may be deposited on a lab machine or mounted into a full production system,” said Graham.
Quicker & cheaper than metal PTFE coated molds
“This is considerably quicker and cheaper than having test molds made in metal then PTFE coated.
“It is particularly important for flat lollipops as the main attraction of these to manufacturers is the ability for the lollipop to carry an image such as a logo, writing or image.
“The ability to thoroughly test these is important, especially if the image is a licensed character where accurate rendition and a short time to market are vital.”
According to the firm, the mold innovations extend its product portfolio in the fast-expanding lollipop sector.
It claims flat lollipops are ideal for character merchandising linked to television, films and video games with depositing providing a clear image on high-quality candy.
Graham added, double ball lollipops are visually attractive alternatives to conventional ball or flat lollipops, and with a shape that fits the mouth more easily they have a unique consumer appeal further enhanced by the range of colour and flavour combinations available.
“Mold technology is at the heart of a process that brings the highest levels of output, efficiency and quality to the production of 3D jellies and gums,” said Graham.
“This is a rapidly expanding sector driven by products with high levels of fruit addition. Product shapes are often fruit-based and the 3D molds allow very accurate representations of the fruit in question.
“Depositing offers greater quality and production flexibility, with lower production costs, than traditional methods such as die forming, starch mogul or cut-and-wrap.”
Hard candy and lollipops; jellies, gums and fruit snacks; toffee and caramel; plus fondant and fudge are capable of being deposited.
3D jellies can be made in one or two colours; with stripes and layers; with solid or soft centre-fills; and with inclusions such as real fruit pieces. The process uses quick-setting jelly formulations, typically pectin- or carrageenan-based. 3D shapes are not possible with a starch molding system.
Product possibilities include balls or spheres, animals and cartoon characters, and fruit shapes such as raspberries, strawberries and pears.