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Continuous melters for blocks of fat and butter
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Continuous melters for cocoa mass and chocolate
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SPEEDING UP THE MELTING PROCESS WITH NO HIGH TEMPERATURE COMING INTO PLAY: PROCESSING COMPANIES PREFER THE TECNO3 CONTINUOUS MELTER
Fatty substances are generally purchased by food companies in liquid state in tankers, if the quantities used are significant and turnover is quite fast. The foodstuff, preserved in the molten state at temperatures between 40 and 50°C, after a certain time might undergo such chemical alterations as to affect its quality. For smaller consumption, or exactly to prevent deterioration phenomena, solid blocks are used, weighing about 20 Kg, packaged in a plastic bag inside a carton. These may be stored in climate-controlled premises for quite a long time with no alterations. Before entering production, the grease must be turned into the fluid state and the tradition system entails using static melters where the block is placed on heated surfaces or coils and the liquid is collected in a tank. The operation may require quite a long time, with waste of manpower and energy. These are exactly the reasons that prompted a leading food company to requesting Tecno 3's involvement. This company, in fact, although using significant amounts of fatty substances, had opted for the melting of blocks for reasons connected to product quality.
THE STUDY
The purpose that Tecno3 set itself was to speed up the melting process, without involving excessively high temperatures in order not to chemically damage the fatty substance. The logical consequence - in addition to increased productivity in small spaces - must be energy savings and more rational manpower planning.

THE SOLUTION
Tecno3 has developed a continuous melter, where the thermal exchange is highly efficient thanks to the mechanical work performed by hot rotors, which carry out a scraping action on the surface of the blocks. The blocks of fat are placed on the loading surface by the operator. The surface is tilted and hot, and the blocks spontaneously slide toward the rotors, which are heated and fitted with a protruding spiral. It acts as a scraper and constantly creates a new area to melt in contact with the hot part. While being fed out, the melting blocks are met with an upper tilted surface and are pushed downwards, increasing pressure on the rotors and accelerating the process. The grease is collected in the tank below, where the small scrapings, dropped still in the solid state, quickly melt fully. A transfer pump is used to continuously draw up the liquid and convey it to production.

THE RESULTS
Although the system takes up a relatively limited space, it features exceptional effectiveness: for fatty substances with melting points up to 45°C productive capacity exceeds 3000 Kg/h. The double temperature regulation circuit, higher rotor temperature than the collecting tank, makes it possible to speed up the process with accurate temperature control. The continuous melter is successfully used on all fatty foodstuff such as cocoa butter, cow's butter, vegetable fats, cocoa mass, chocolate, compounds, creams etc., obviously packaged in 20/25Kg blocks. In the event of wishing to fully automate the system, Tecno3 has developed the application of a robotic manipulator that picks the cartons from the pallet, removes the outer packaging and the internal plastic bag, then places the blocks on the warm tilted surface for continuous melter feeding. In addition to solving the problem raised by the above company, the original Tecno 3 technology has also been widely popular among large food companies that use a variety of fatty substances, as it allows them to manage them rationally with no costly investments in storage systems.


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