Elephant-shaped gum: Wacker highlights 3D printer capabilities
Dr Martin Seizl, director, gum, Wacker, demonstrated its capabilities for producing chewing gum in the shape of the Empire State Building in New York for example and animals such as an elephant.
“The advantage using a 3D printer is you can make personalized shapes, which is a big trend in the industry right now looking for unique, individualized products to a consumer’s liking,” he said.
“The 3D printed elephant is a solid shape, and the challenges we faced were trying to retain its shape after it is printed, so that it is stable, tasty and turns into a chewing gum.”
He added, its Candy2Gum innovation is produced in a cooking process instead of being made in a conventional chewing gum process and can incorporate real fruit juice flavors, coffee, and chocolate.
“The products are wrapped in twist or fold wraps with a pan-coated process for candy to give it that crisp extra layer,” he said.
The Candy2Gum basic ingredient is Wacker’s pre-formulated Capiva C03 mixture, which is insoluble in water and melts fully, which means it can be blended.
Wacker developed the process in December 2013 when it successfully boiled chewing gum at its food-technology laboratory in Burghausen, Germany.
“We wanted to find out whether what we did in a cooking pot would work on an industrial scale,” said Seizl.
The team then got in touch with confectionery machinery maker Chocotech in Wernigerode, Germany, to make a completely new type of candy.
“We wanted to find out whether the technology would work with conventional equipment,” said Volker Günnel, engineer and area sales manager, Chocotech.
Chocotech equips German and international confectionery manufacturers with machinery for producing hard and soft candy, fruit-flavored jelly candy, caramel and whipped sugar mixtures.
Chocotech tests showed Candy2gum technology can be used in a continuous boiling process, but some adjustments were required.
For two years, Wacker food technicians refined the pre-formulated Capiva C03 mixture so it could be used in industrial production and Chocotech worked on adapting conventional production machinery and processes for the gum.