Leading companies in the chocolate moulding industry, including WDS, SACMI, and SELMI, are driving innovation, adaptability, and sustainability, revolutionising the world of confectionery production. Kiran Grewal reports.

The world of chocolate manufacturing has undergone a profound transformation in recent years, driven by groundbreaking innovations and an unwavering commitment to excellence. In this extended exploration, we delve deeper into the latest advancements in chocolate moulding equipment and technology through the insights and experiences of three industry leaders: Winkler und Dünnebier Süßwarenmaschinen GmbH, SACMI Packaging & Chocolate, and SELMI. 

Winkler und Dünnebier Süßwarenmaschinen GmbH: A Century of Mastery 

Winkler und Dünnebier Süßwarenmaschinen GmbH’s storied history is deeply entrenched in the world of chocolate manufacturing. Carsten Butz, Technical Director at WDS, takes us on a journey back to 1916 when the company delivered its first chocolate enrobing plants. Carsten underscores that the legacy of WDS is defined by “over 100 years of expertise in the field of chocolate moulding plants.” This century-long journey has equipped WDS with an unparalleled understanding of the entire spectrum of moulded confectionery products. 

But what truly distinguishes WDS in the industry? Carsten Butz asserts that “WDS covers the entire spectrum of moulded confectionery products.” Whether it’s intricate pralines or grand chocolate bars, WDS offers versatile solutions that cater to the dynamic confectionery industry. Their capacity to precisely dose various chocolate and fat masses, whether in the form of small droplets or using the one-shot and triple-shot processes, demonstrates their adaptability and innovation. 

Innovations from WDS: The ConfecVARIO Revolution 

One of WDS’s most recent groundbreaking innovations is the ConfecVARIO, a game-changing machine designed to enhance the efficiency and economic viability of confectionery production. Carsten Butz explains that “the modular design ensures a high degree of scalability of the plant, minimising production faults or downtimes.” What sets the ConfecVARIO apart is its innovative, chainless transport system, which incorporates additional functions such as lifting, vibration, and ribbon depositing movements, while ensuring maximum hygiene and cycle independence. 

The ConfecVARIO’s introduction has been instrumental in addressing the common challenges encountered in chocolate moulding processes. Carsten Butz elucidates that this revolutionary machine picks up where traditional chocolate moulding plants reach their limits, providing new possibilities for hygienic confectionery production. Additionally, the machine’s flexibility and easy maintenance empower producers to integrate maintenance and cleaning sections, allowing individual segments to be serviced without disrupting the ongoing production. 

But what truly sets WDS’s chocolate moulding equipment apart? Their high-performance ConfecPRO plant boasts a modular design that guarantees investment security by facilitating subsequent extensions. WDS’s elimination of central switch cabinets has drastically reduced on-site installation time. Furthermore, their ability to mould a wide variety of masses under one roof, including chocolate, pasty masses, jellies, and hard candy, is a testament to their ingenuity. WDS’s commitment to synergy, allowing depositors to be used for both chocolate and filling masses, exemplifies their forward-thinking approach. 

Quality and Consistency with WDS Machines 

WDS places a paramount emphasis on ensuring the highest process reliability and reproducibility of chocolate products. Carsten Butz highlights their precision in moulding technology, with accuracies as precise as 0.8% and better. WDS’s dedication to customer success is further manifested through their five food technologists, who are readily available in their in-house technical centre or at the customer’s site to facilitate continuous product improvement and development. 

The evolution of chocolate moulding technology in recent years is undeniable. Flexibility and hygiene have become paramount, with EasyClean (facilitating fast changeovers without tools) becoming the industry standard. The pursuit of an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) as high as possible is evident, as highlighted by Carsten Butz. Moreover, WDS has embarked on digital integration through the manufacturer-neutral platform SweetConnect, which aims to provide producers with a comprehensive one-stop shop for their production data, documents, and spare parts. 

Sustainability Initiatives 

WDS’s dedication to sustainability is readily apparent in their modern plants, where they offer electrically operated functions to eliminate the need for compressed air. Energy consumption is monitored and tracked, with plans to use SweetConnect to output the CO2 footprint of individual pralines. Beyond this, WDS is making substantial investments in sustainable production, including large photovoltaic systems and heat pump systems, with the goal of becoming self-sufficient in the future. 

“SACMI has incorporated sustainability initiatives into their equipment, including high-efficiency brushless servomotors and electronic control of fan motors”

To remain at the forefront of the industry, WDS maintains close contact with customers and industry experts. They foster a collaborative environment through participation in worldwide trade fairs, engagement with trade journals and associations, and the provision of symposia and training courses globally. Their active involvement at the ZDS in Solingen, coupled with partnerships, allows them to stay at the forefront of industry trends and bring their own innovations to the market. 

SACMI Packaging & Chocolate: A Century of Excellence 

SACMI Packaging & Chocolate, as narrated by Raffaele Pellegrini, Sales Manager Process & Moulding, boasts a rich history that traces its origins to 1907 through the brand Carle & Montanari. Over the past century, SACMI Packaging & Chocolate has transformed into a full-service solutions provider for chocolate processing and moulding, impacting the primary and secondary packaging of both food and non-food products. 

Recent Innovations from SACMI: Adaptability and Efficiency 

The commitment to innovation at SACMI is relentless. Raffaele Pellegrini underscores one of their recent innovations, an “automatic mould change system.” This innovation, as he explains, “allows a quick and effective changeover of the moulds,” ensuring increased line availability and improved working conditions for operators. 

But what recent innovations has SACMI introduced in the field of chocolate moulding equipment? “In chocolate moulding, the constant development of new solutions has followed the main market developments over the decades,” Raffaele explains. Among their recent innovations is the “automatic mould change system,” employing anthropomorphic robots for safe and rapid mould changeovers. This innovation increases production line availability and enhances operator working conditions. 

In what ways are SACMI’s chocolate moulding machines adaptable to different chocolate types and shapes, including artisanal and customised creations? 

Raffaele highlights their commitment to versatility, stating, “The increase in versatility and the evolution of dosing systems allows you to handle a large variety of products and formats, even more so in the production of limited edition and seasonal batches.” Their lines are equipped with dosing systems designed to efficiently process masses with different densities and characteristics, even accommodating products with allergens or different colours without contaminating the production chain. 

Sustainability Initiatives 

SACMI has incorporated sustainability initiatives into their equipment, including high-efficiency brushless servomotors and electronic control of fan motors. They are committed to reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency. 

One notable success story involves a large production line with the need to produce over 50 different formats with different ingredients and colours. SACMI’s solution allowed for rapid and automatic colour changeovers without stopping the line, enhancing efficiency and productivity. 

SACMI stays at the forefront of industry trends through their investment in a comprehensive training and development centre. This facility allows customers to undergo training and trials on SACMI machinery, fostering close interaction and enabling the company to understand and react to product trends effectively. 

SELMI: A Vision of Agile and Affordable Production 

SELMI, under the leadership of CEO Paolo Selmi, has established itself as a prominent supplier of chocolate machinery to artisan and semi-industrial chocolate producers and bakeries. With a history rooted in hazelnut processing, SELMI shifted its focus to chocolate machinery under Paolo’s guidance, introducing agile production solutions that can be delivered in “8 weeks or less.” 

SELMI’s most recent innovations include the “Mould Loader 175” and the “TUTTUNO 9 One Shot Depositor.” The Mould Loader 175, as described by Paolo Selmi, is capable of filling up to “300 moulds per hour.” This innovation effectively doubles the cooling length of cooling tunnels, significantly enhancing overall efficiency. The TUTTUNO 9 One Shot Depositor, featuring nine nozzles and designed for filled bars, demonstrates SELMI’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in chocolate moulding, with production capability up to 240 moulds per hour. 

One of SELMI’s most popular innovations is the removable Archimedean screw on their EX Continuous Tempering Machines. This innovation enables customers to clean the machine thoroughly and make seamless transitions between different chocolate types, colours, and flavours, including those with small inclusions. 

SELMI’s commitment to customer success is apparent in their newly established training and development centre, inviting customers to undertake training and trials on SELMI machinery. This facility fosters close interaction with customers, enabling SELMI to understand and react to product trends, developing machines that empower customers to manufacture the products of the future. 

A Bright Future for Chocolate Moulding 

In conclusion, the dynamic and innovative nature of the chocolate moulding industry is exemplified by the insights and innovations presented by Winkler und Dünnebier Süßwarenmaschinen GmbH, SACMI Packaging & Chocolate, and SELMI. These companies stand at the forefront of the industry, continuously shaping its future through cutting-edge technology and adaptability to evolving customer demands. Their commitment to excellence, adaptability, and sustainability paves the way for a brighter and more delicious future in the world of chocolate. 

As the chocolate manufacturing landscape evolves, these industry leaders will continue to drive innovation, ensuring the world of confectionery remains as exciting as ever. The chocolate industry, with its centuries-old legacy, thrives on innovation and progress, and the dedication of these companies to advancing the art of chocolate moulding ensures that the sweet delight of chocolate continues to evolve and enchant taste buds worldwide. 

Editorial contact:
Editor: Kiran Grewal kgrewal@kennedys.co.uk