By installing an electric infrared heating system form Heraeus , Magna Speciality Confectioners, of Telford UK, have achieved control over the quality and finish of their filled chocolate products.
Magna Speciality Confectioners make a wide range of chocolates, under contract, for well-known chocolate manufacturers. They have particular expertise in filled chocolates, such as caramel-filled, chocolate eggs.
These are made on a book moulding line, where chocolate is poured into moulds, to form half of the finished product, and then chilled to solidify the molten chocolate.
Two similar blocks of moulds then pass down the line, one of them is filled and moved sideways while the following mould is inverted over the top of it.
At this stage, it is important that the two halves of the finished chocolate product are fused together, before the block mould passes to another chiller station, to allow the individual chocolates to be removed.
Obviously, the fusing of the two half shells is important part of the process, both for the final finish and to ensure that there is no leakage of the filling. It is achieved by heating the shell rim to soften it, without changing the constituency, or temper, of the chocolate.
Previously, Magna had used a bank of electrically heated ceramic plates to apply the heat but this had certain limitations. The bank had to be pneumatically positioned over the relevant mould block for each softening operation and this involved setting-up time.
Furthermore, the heat-up time of the bank meant that there was often product quality inconsistency. The short wave infrared system from Heraeus has solved both of these problems.
The 21kW cassette is an integral part of the production line. It is switched on when necessary and reaches the required operating temperature instantaneously, allowing precise controllability of the chocolate softening process.
The emitters themselves are thyristor-controlled and this control incorporates partial load failure detection, which flags up an alarm should an emitter fail for whatever reason.
The result has been a total elimination of the leakage problem and a significant improvement in the quality of presentation of the chocolate.