People of all ages love sweets as treats for themselves or their loved ones. Whether it is a white or dark chocolate bar, a milk chocolate truffle, or a white chocolate candy, its irresistible taste brings joy to anyone’s palate. However, behind every bite is an intricate process to make every piece. And this process is steered by the assembly of a filling machine.
This machine transforms a simple cocoa shell into an extraordinarily savory blend of flavors, creating a match. Learn more about this machine and how it’s used to make your favorite sweets.
The Fascinating Origin of Chocolate
Chocolate-making dates back thousands of years, when the first civilizations cultivated cacao trees and used the seeds in a chocolate-like beverage. It is made by concocting ground-roasted cacao beans, water, and spices.
It underwent many transformations and product innovations until it became a solid chocolate bar in the 18th and 19th centuries. They continued improving the process until they finally introduced the automatic filling machine.
However, before that, in the 20th century, modern makers explored new flavors and flavor combinations. They focused on using high-quality ingredients and technological advancements in various processing techniques and machines.
Today, we enjoy various chocolates — each has unique tastes and distinct characteristics, like dark chocolates with a high content of solid cocoa and lesser sugar and a bar of white chocolate with a creamy taste made of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder.
There are also unsweetened chocolates used for baking and cooking, milk chocolates, couverture chocolates, and many more. From the manual filling machine, the equipment and processes evolved. Now, all these are made through distinct, intricate, and automated processes.
Mastering the Craft: The Art of Chocolate Making
Every manufacturer can have a different chocolate-making process. They can employ techniques unique to the type of chocolates they experiment with according to the flavors they want to achieve. They can also vary according to the machines, like the chocolate filling machine.
Regardless of their dissimilarities, they undergo a typical multi-step process from harvest to finished product, and this involves the following:
- Harvesting: This is gathering cocoa fruit from the cocoa tree and deshelling to remove the cocoa beans from their pods.
- Fermentation: Cocoa beans are fermented using shallow heaps or wooden boxes, covered, and left for a required number of days under anaerobic conditions, which means they are exposed to heat and moisture. This process helps the beans produce a richer chocolate flavor by breaking down the pulp and sugar. This step is essential in making your favorite chocolates and candies.
- Drying: Fermented cocoa beans undergo either typical sun drying or using a piece of special drying equipment to remove the moisture content in preparation for the following process.
- Roasting: Dried beans are roasted at a controlled time and temperature. Roasting removes moisture and loosens the outer shells of the beans used to make chocolates and candies.
- Grinding: After roasting, cocoa beans are cooled down, cleaned from shells, and cracked into smaller pieces before grinding. The grinding process converts the beans into a smooth, liquid-like paste known as cocoa mass or chocolate liquor. The method also generates heat which causes the paste to liquefy, exposing the cocoa butter in the beans.
- Pressing: Pressing the chocolate liquor separates the cocoa solids from the cocoa butter. The cocoa butter will be collected for another application, while the solids will undergo refinement to refine it for baking and other edible applications.
- Conching: Conching is essential in making it because it further refines and thoroughly mixes the necessary ingredients. The chocolate mixture is continuously mixed, ground, and kneaded using a conching container filling machine to bring out the flavor.
- Addition of Ingredients: All the other ingredients will be added in this step while introducing heat while continuously stirring to ensure a homogeneous mixture.
- Tempering: The tempering machine creates a smooth and glossy product texture. It prevents chocolates from appearing dull and grainy in texture.
- Molding and Cooling: Tempered chocolate is molded using specialized molds and filling machines to achieve the desired shape. It can be in bars, truffles, or bonbons. Molded chocolates are cooled to solidify.
- Packaging and final bagging: Hardened chocolates are removed, packed, or filled from molds. Different products use specialized packages and machines appropriate for each product and process like the vertical form fill seal machine. It may also use the premade pouch bagging machine, the shrink wrapping machine, and many others.
The Best Machines for Chocolate Making
Machines are crucial in almost every process. It improves efficiency, maintains accuracy, and increases productivity. It improves cost effectiveness by implementing machine-related cost savings initiatives and establishing quality control measures.
Indeed, in making it, every manufacturer should have state-of-the-art machines like a chocolate filling machine. It is designed for unique and special production requirements, ever ready to meet the changing needs of the industry.
On the list are the most popular machine types:
The piston-type filler device
This machine fills chocolates into molds or containers with precision control on volume. It uses a piston to draw a specific amount of liquid or viscous product from the storage tank into a container or molder.
It injects creamy fillings into a product, like a chocolate ganache filled into a cupcake. It uses a piston or a nozzle to inject or deposit fillings into molds. It comes in different sizes with different configurations.
Auger-type filler machine
Auger-type machines or agitator machines measure, fill and push products using auger screws. It can dispense products in powder or granulated forms like powdered coca or thick, viscous products like chocolate fudge.
Often auger machines are best for the accuracy of weight or volume measurements, used together with a vertical form fill seal machine.
Rotary filling equipment
This fully automated machine can handle significant volumes of chocolate products. It continuously operates an assembly of rotating carousels for circular filling, capping, and labeling.
It has multiple nozzles and uses pistons to dispense the product into a pouch bag container, like chocolate fillings. It is a highly automated and accurate machine filler.
It is not a filler machine but is of equal importance in production. It is commonly used in the confectionery industry to coat a food item, typically chocolate products like chocolate bars, nuts, cookies, and biscuits.
One Last Note
When selecting which machine to use in chocolate making, always consider every factor your process requires, like the filling capacity, accuracy, and the type of product you make. You even have to look after the machine’s versatility, specialization, and ease of cleaning and maintenance.
To get the best ones, always ask and get assistance from reliable sources and experts in the industry, like the Plan It Packaging System. They can guide you in searching for the best filling machine to make the best chocolates. You can only have the best of your product when using the best machines, which makes them a match made in heaven.