Most premium chocolatiers are familiar with the art of creating thin-walls of chocolate, acting as “shells” ready for an assortment of filling types. First, pour chocolate to flood and coat the mold. Next, invert the mold to dump out excess chocolate. Finally, once the mold has cooled, scrape the top so that only individual shells remain.
We take inquiries from many chocolate artisans who -- in the face of increased product demand -- are ready to automate the production of chocolate shells. One common solution replicates the manual process. It automates the dumping of molds into a “shell dump” station, where excess chocolate can be partially reclaimed. Mold scraping can also be automated, and some manufacturers melt and re-process the scrap chocolate. Just like hand-forming, however, the mess remains and the chocolate that can’t be re-used is wasted.
There is a way to automate that eliminates the messy, wasteful dumping and scraping method, and it may not be as costly you might imagine.
The Cold-Pressing Solution
Egan Food Technologies’ Shell Forming System uses cold-pressing technology, sometimes called cold-forming, to create thin-walled chocolate shells. First, a precise amount of chocolate is deposited into a mold. Then a chilled plate fills the mold cavity, flash-freezing the chocolate walls between the mold and the plate. This results in perfectly consistent chocolate shells, read to be filled with creamy centers or free-flowing ingredients like liqueur blends. Truffles, boxed chocolates and dessert cups are just some of the chocolates that can be made with cold-pressing technology. For cannabis-infused chocolate makers, cold-pressing is a popular option because of its dosing accuracy.
The Importance of Depositors
The precision of cold-pressing equipment is largely dependent on the accuracy of the depositor feeding the molds. Overfilling will create a flash on the edge of the shell, while under-filling will leave holes or gaps in the product. For chocolate makers with existing depositors, an important first step in the automation process is to weigh the chocolate being deposited from each nozzle. Egan Food Technologies’ Shell Forming System can be added to any brand of depositor with accurate weight control.
Scaling Up Automation Affordably
Because Egan Food Technologies’ Shell Forming System can be added to existing depositors, it’s an affordable solution for chocolate makers who want to take incremental steps toward full automation. Priced at less than $100,000, the cost of our system can often be quickly recouped through the reduction in ingredient waste, the increased production speeds and the elimination of energy and labor costs associated with the “cooling rooms” that other methods require.
As automation needs increase, our Shell Forming System can scale with the manufacturers. Additional depositors and cooling tunnels, also available from Egan Food Technologies, can be added over time to fully automate a chocolate manufacturing line.
If you have a question on shell forming that we haven’t answered, contact us today.