Hitting the sweet spot

Digital dosing gives candy makers new flexibility
Candy’s secrets

Candy makers standardize with a one-size-fits-(nearly)-all digital dosing pump

PHOTO: Chocotech's Sucromaster® line produces embossed hard candies.

Take a fruity gumdrop.

Notice its colour. Pop it in your mouth. Taste its flavour.

Good?

Like most candies, this one started as a sticky mass of glucose syrup and water.

Glass cases display candy like jewellery around Martin McDermott. This is Chocotech, in Wernigerode, Germany, a nearly 100-year-old company and maker of “kitchen” equipment for sugar confectionaries: hard and chewy candy, jellies, caramel, nougat, marshmallow, fruit snacks and chocolates.

PHOTO: A worker walks by a Chocotech confectionary ‘kitchen’ – a system of equipment for candy makers. Three Grundfos SMART DDA digital dosing pumps are visible in the centre of the picture, one each for dosing colour, flavour and acid.

He holds up a clear-coloured wine gum.

“It’s all about colour, taste and texture,” says Martin McDermott, Chocotech’s Director of Sales & Marketing. “All of these pieces basically start neutral in flavour as cooked sugar. What we’re doing is making goodies out of them.”

Three key ingredients
To get personality – say, a sour-orange gumdrop – a candy-maker needs to add three things to the sugar mass before processing: colour, flavour and acid.

“In order to do this, there are many changing parameters around the colour-flavour-acid additives. You must meter them consistently and accurately into the mass. You can’t manually add them.”

That is where good dosing pumps come into the picture.

Piston pump drawbacks
Jens Fleisch, Chocotech’s Technical Director, draws a diagram to show how Chocotech used to build its equipment to dose the additives. Each tank had its own piston pump: one for colour, one for flavour and one for acid. One motor drove all three pumps.

PHOTO: Chocotech's Technical Director Jens Fleisch

Using the same pump three times was possible, but it needed an additional collateral flow meter and was difficult to hit the accuracy and cost required in the marketplace, he says.

Plus, the previous piston pumps had been adapted from an application in power plants, able to pump up to 800 l/h and 700 bar – many times the capacity needed for dosing for candy. Not only were they cumbersome but Chocotech needed to have on hand 20 different sizes of pump heads and their spare parts to cover all its needs.

“A piston dosing pump itself is very accurate,” says Jens Fleisch. The piston moves forward and backward, sucking and feeding a liquid precisely, depending on the length of its stroke. “It’s not so flexible, however, because the diameter of the piston must match the amount of liquid you are feeding, and the stroke must be set to values between 3.0 mm to 15.0 mm, or a range from 1:5.”

A frequency drive runs between 20 and 80 Hz, giving the motor four speeds, or a range of 1:4. Therefore, in the old system, the possible variations were (1:4) x (1:5), or 1:20 for each pump size, he says.


"We’ve secured substantial orders due to the new Grundfos pumps. We could not have done this due to the older way, which was so much more expensive."

Martin McDermott, Director of Sales & Marketing, Chocotech

PHOTO: Twenty-five across, five down: Inside Chocotech’s production facility.

One size fits all
A Grundfos Digital Dosing DDA membrane pump (for more information see the tab "Facts on pump supply") can be adjusted steplessly in a range from 12 ml/h and 12,000 ml/h – or a range of 1:1,000 – that is 1,000 variations in dosing volume. Thus, one pump size fits all – or at least 95% of the applications in Chocotech’s machinery.

Add to that the accompanying stepping motor technology, flow control monitor, user-friendly design, “E-box” electronic control system and Profibus connection, and for Chocotech, the package is complete.

“Grundfos made life much easier,” adds Martin McDermott.

First for candy
Chocotech was the first confectionary company in the world to use the Grundfos DDA for processing. The pumps are typically used in other industrial applications, such as water treatment, washing and cleaning or clean-in-place (CIP) systems.

We’re getting feedback, like ‘Wow, this is good you’re offering something new.’ It allows us to innovate.

Martin McDermott, Director of Sales & Marketing, Chocotech

Chocotech’s customers have responded well to the new type of dosing pump, McDermott says.

“We have had at least two cases where we’ve secured substantial orders due to the new Grundfos pumps. We could not have done this due to the older way, which was so much more expensive,” he says.

“If you have 20-30 pumps in your kitchen and you need to upgrade them all – including all their variants and spares and drives and flow meters, the price is very high. But we’re getting feedback, like ‘Wow, this is good you’re offering something new.’ It allows us to innovate. And we can only be innovative if we have innovative suppliers.”


"Grundfos made life much easier."

Martin McDermott, Director of Sales & Marketing, Chocotech

About Chocotech
PHOTO: Martin McDermott, Director of Sales & Marketing, Chocotech, in the company’s laboratory.

Chocotech GmbH of Germany designs, manufactures, installs and commissions kitchens for hard and chewy candy, jellies, caramel, nougat, fondant, foam, jellies and fruit snacks, as well as speciality equipment for chocolate, chocolate shells and chocolate lentils.

The company was founded in Wernigerode in 1920. In 1991, it became part of the Sollich Group.

Facts on pump supply
PHOTO: A lab worker configures test equipment for cooking sugar mass.

Grundfos supplied the following pump models and equipment to Chocotech:

DDA 12-10
DDA 17-7
E-box 150

Read more about the Grundfos SMART digital DDA dosing pumps.

Pumped liquids:
Flavouring agents based on oil or water
Citric acid,
CFA (food colouring)
Vitamin dissolution
Sugar syrup

 

TAB_3_MG_8251-73
PHOTO: Closeup of the Grundfos SMART digital DDA dosing pumps




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