I am looking at options for increasing production of enrobed pieces.
Currently I use a small chocovision machine, and hand dip pieces that I cut from a slab using a roller or wires. I can dip perhaps 200 pieces per hour, but doing so is exhausting.
Is there an intermediate place between hand enrobing and the smallest of the likes of the FBM prima with enrober or the Perfect Enro-6?
I would like to have:
a take-off belt
ability to do at least 400 pieces per hour with reduced work load compared to hand enrobing
Because these are small pieces, I figure that at 400 pieces per hour I would only be using 2-3kg of chocolate per hour. I can melt and temper external to the machine.
I rather like the results that I get using Mycryo for tempering, both when I temper bulk chocolate in steam table trays, or in the small chocovision machine. So a wheel machine might actually be better for me than a continuous tempering machine.
Are there techniques or tools that which are intermediate between hand dipping single pieces and a machine with a small enrobing belt?
Is there anyone here interested in 'crowd sourcing' the design for a DIY enrober :)
I am an owner of the Perfect Enro 6 . I wrote a pretty detailed post 2 years ago about my experiences with this machine. I have not seen much that is in between this entry level machine and hand dipping. I will say that the Perfect entry level is a very efficient and effective machine that will last an owner for many years. I am sure the same can be said for the FBM machine as well. Larry brings up some good points about the Chocovision machine. It is a lot cheaper, but it also looks like you get what you pay for. If you want to enrobe 400 pieces per hour than you will want an efficient way to remove the chocolates that come through the belt. Most entry level machines have a paper take off belt. Also, if you want to achieve a very clean and polished looking confection, you will want a blower and a detailer. If you don't have a blower you will have a pretty rustic looking chocolate versus a perfectly squared one. Perhaps if you were just enrobing round truffles, a blower would not be necessary. Most of my chocolates are square so it is very important to me. You will also want a belt that is capable of vibrating excess chocolate off before it reaches the detailer. The quality of the parts are important as well. I have learned a lot about mechanics through having an enrober and I now value quality gears and long lasting parts as my production really depends on this machine.
If you are in the business of making chocolate confections than an enrober with a good reputation is a wise investment that will pay off. I purchased my enrober used which made the purchase a little easier than springing for a new machine.