Have you ever analysed the structure of your favourite candy or chocolate bar? If you have, you’ve probably noticed the kind of complex jobs confectionary machines have to take care of on a daily basis: Melding a number of complicated ingredients together into fragile, layered treats meant to burst, or melt in the mouth, or contain a delightful crunch.
Flavour trends within the candy business are also constantly changing (after all, this is an industry that needs to maintain a constant appeal with children, who are constantly looking for what’s new and interesting and have short attention spans by nature). Candy makers have to be ready to adapt at any time to brand extensions, size options, additional flavours and seasonal colours, all trying to woo a fickle market.
And then you add packaging requirements: Confections have to be made for a wide range of packaging configurations, ranging from single bites to servings to multi-packs.
The life of a confectionery plant manager is therefore a constant balancing act between changes and changeovers, maintaining perfect quality, and still somehow making a profit.
Understanding the Needs of Confectioners
According to David Kirk, market manager-hygienic at PSG Dover (in the United States), better cleaning capabilities are a key need in the industry: “I think the challenges faced by confectioners fit into three categories. One is being efficient; two is being clean; and three is being able to move from product to product and from flavour to flavour. Following cleanliness, I would say they are looking for more flexibility and to be able to shift gears more quickly.”
Fortunately, emerging pump technologies are stepping in to offer needed performance improvements; the Mouvex C series eccentric disc line, for example, has no mechanical seals, provides extremely low shear, and is clean-in-place (CIP) compatible.
“For chocolate, because of its viscosity, nearly every positive displacement pump in the market is fitted with special self-cleaning chocolate rotors, which makes the pumps less efficient,” Kirk explains, but notes that new technologies like the Mouvex C Eccentric Disc line do not rely on these motors, and as such, work much faster without sacrificing cleanliness.
While this may seem like a small change to someone outside the industry, for people like Kirk, it’s a lifesaver: “With some of the added flavourings and just the cost of quality ingredients being used in confections, higher efficiencies can lead to a very big savings for companies.”
Such developments in confectionary machine technology are riding a ten-year wave of innovation that started with CIP capabilities; previously, most confectionery manufacturers had relied on industrial grade rather than sanitary grade equipment, but more and more often, today’s confectionary machines are meeting 3A standards. The stainless construction, energy efficiency, and hygienic design of sanitary equipment means safer, better-tasting candy for consumers, and in a serendipitous turn of events, is coming to represent savings for confectioners as well.