The Chocolate Life

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I have a somewhat random question.

We are on a tight budget, and I keep hunting for a deal of an enrober. It hasn't come up yet, but it occurred to me that I may not need to match the enrobing belt to the tempering machine. 

- yes a matched set would be best, but would it be possible to get a selmi enrobing belt (everyone seems to love Selmi) and retrofit it to a JKV, Perfect, or other machine? I recognize this would require some machining as the Selmi equipment is set up to attach to their hose, but I'm confident I can handle that. I think it would just require adding a funnel adapter to the hose connector. - The funnel (with an overflow slit) could make the transition from open pour to the narrow hole.

I wonder if this would allow me to get a Selmi belt, and a cheaper tempering machine with the goal of moving to a Selmi tempering machine in a few years.

Has anyone else experimented like this? Was it successful or foolish? My hypothesis is that an unmatched set would allow for more effective bargain hunting.  Or at least moving in smaller steps towards a great setup.

Thanks,

Larry

 

Tags: enrober, selmi

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Larry:

Like many things, it can probably be done - but it's probably not as straightforward as you think it's going to be. 

One thing that I would like to know is ... what's your production throughput requirement? Pieces per hour? Kilos of chocolate per hour. There may be off-the-shelf integrated solutions that are in your price range.

:: Clay

Currently chocolate is the equivalent of a hobby. We have been dipping at night after the kids go to sleep. So while we aren't moving a lot of chocolate right now, that is partly due to the fear of over-committing and not being able to produce enough chocolates.

I am looking for a machine that I can run once a week & produce plenty of chocolates to sell. 

I think I'm looking for a machine to do 300 + pcs / hr.   

My number crunching suggests that I could put 3 chocolates across on a 6" belt. I think we could put 5 rows per foot of belt. That would mean we need to do 15 belt feet/hr. it should be doable.   I doubt I'll have a cooling tunnel to start so I'm not sure what to figure on belt speed. With not having a cooling tunnel I think we'll need to use the paper and cut it every so often & transfer the chocolates. That will slow us down a lot but hey it works.

I'm looking to spend around 7-9K so I recognize the need to shop around.

I truly appreciate your insight and wisdom.

Larry

It may also help to add that our chocolates are 7/8" square before dipping.
Thanks

Larry:

You've got a pretty good handle on how to figure production, which is more dependent on the width of the belt than it is on the capacity of the working bowl.

If your pieces are 7/8" square, with practice you'd be able to get 4 pieces on a 6" belt and 5 pieces on a 7" belt. At the same spacing you'd be able to get 8 rows/foot with practice.

That's between 30-40 pieces per foot with a belt running at between 1.5- 3 feet per minute.

Now you are right that taking the product off the belt will slow things down, but that's also a factor of what kinds of decorating you're doing and how many people are working the belt.

300 pieces/hr is not a lot of production for an enrober.

A new Selmi R200 belt, all by itself, is more than your entire budget (list is €6900/$9400).

A new Hilliard's Six Inch Coater cost about US$18,000 last time I priced them (2011).

FBM offers a 7kg bowl capacity machine with a 7" enrober belt for about €11,000 (less 10% for ChocolateLife members) new.

A new machine that might be in your price range is a Bakon wheel tempering machine with mini-enrober. Last time I looked it was squarely in your price range and I have been able to offer discounts to ChocolateLife members in the past, I would have to contact Bakon to see what current pricing is and if there is still a discount program I can offer. In looking at the video I notice there is no air blower but there is a de-tailer. I would call a blower a requirement, so I would ask them about that. If you want to DIY a blower, it'll be easier than trying to hook up a Choco-TT to a Selmi R200 belt.

Thank you Clay! I haven't used an enrober yet, but I've done a fair amount of research & dreaming. - Not to mention stalking the classifieds.

I really appreciate your insight about how many chocolates we'll be able to get per foot of belt. Getting an extra row on the belt really changes the math of how much we can do.

I'm not ready to jump on a purchase yet. - Perhaps by saving up through Christmas we'll be able to make something happen.

I'll also keep watching the classifieds. - Larger tempering machines come up on a regular basis, but I've had questions about getting a larger temperer and getting the belt later. - Thus the mix & match question. :)

Boy! If I could push 20 belt feet/hr (with two people) that turns into an awful lot of chocolate per hour. It would be so much easier get control of our man-hours.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Larry

Larry -

The issue is NOT NECESSARILY a larger tempering machine. If you put 500 pieces/hr through the enrober at (given the size) 5gr of chocolate per piece, you only need 2.5kg chocolate/hr. A 30kg working bowl capacity wheel machine (batch) should keep you going for 10 hours easily. A 7kg working bowl continuous temperer will keep you going for as long as you want to work if you keep the working bowl topped up as you go. You cannot begin to use the capacity of a 25kg working bowl continuous tempering machine with a 6 or 7" belt.

20 belt feet/hr is 1/3 foot per minute. Slowest most machines run is about 1.5 feet/minute. You have a lot of headroom here to grow production. If your work is organized well you can think about 2000-2500 pieces in 4-6 hours without pushing things. 

Make sure that whatever belt you get has a blower to remove excess chocolate or be prepared to make one DIY.

Clay,

Please forgive my poor choice of words. In referring to a 'larger machine' I simply mean an enrobing capable machine. i.e. a hilliards 80 or 240, a choco TT, an Air 2.0... We are currently using some revolation 3210s & a Hilliard Little Dipper to dip by hand. - There are a lot of 'larger machines' out there. :)

 

In setting my goal at 20 belt feet per hour, I'm thinking along the lines of run 16 inches, stop - cut paper, run 16 inches, stop cut paper... So while the belt may be moving at 1.5 Feet per Minute, is isn't running continuously.

I'll do more homework on blowers. From my preliminary reviews, it is interesting that a blower isn't listed as an option on the Perfect  Enro 6, any of the Hilliard machines, or the Bakon Mini Enrober. If they are listening, perhaps adding that option would be a bright ideal. ;)

I'll hunt for the posts about DIYing a blower.

Thank you,

Larry

 

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