Confectionery producers use conveyors in their operations to move raw ingredients into and through the production process and to move finished product into wrapping and final packaging. At all stages of the production process, careful thought has to be given to preventing contamination while preserving the integrity and quality of the product. For these reasons, equipment capable of safe and gentle conveying of confectionery products should be chosen for these applications.
Conveying of confectionery products: key challenges
The following are some of the key conveying challenges often encountered by confectionery producers:
Preventing product breakage and degradation
No consumer ever wants to buy confectionery products that contain broken or damaged pieces. As product is moved between the various stages of the production process, it is important to use conveyors capable of gentle handling to prevent breakage and degradation. Some conveying technologies, such as cleated inclined conveyors, can treat product somewhat roughly, increasing the risk of breakage or degradation. Replacing these technologies with gentle handling conveyors can significantly reduce product breakage and degradation.
Confectionery producers are usually bound by regulations requiring safe, contamination-free production. In addition to complying with regulations, many producers have adopted good manufacturing practices to ensure that the risk of product contamination is reduced and minimized. Regulations and good manufacturing practices require equipment cleanliness to ensure sanitary performance. Producers are therefore concerned with choosing conveying equipment which is easy to clean and maintain and which supports regulations and good manufacturing practices for sanitary performance.
Assuring mix and blend integrity
Confections are often produced by combining a variety of ingredients. Blended ingredients need to be moved through the production process with no separation or alteration of the mix proportions which could affect final product consistency or quality. Producers should therefore choose conveying technologies which can assure blend integrity as mixed ingredients are moved.
Moving sticky and difficult-to-handle materials and product
Many confectionery ingredients and final products are sticky and hard-to-handle. These materials and products can adhere to conveyors, creating flow problems and making equipment cleaning difficult. Confectionery conveyors may need to be fitted with non-stick surfaces and flow aids to assist in the movement of difficult-to-handle ingredients and final product.
Moving product to wrapping and final packaging
Confectionery wrapping and packing lines need to be supplied with damage-free product. Identifying and sorting damaged product before it reaches wrapping and pack-out ensures final product quality. Confectionery conveyors can be outfitted with sorters that help identify and remove damaged product from the product stream.
Conveying of confectionery products: equipment solutions
UniTrak can help confectionery producers surmount these challenges with equipment designed for safe and gentle handling. TipTrak™ bucket elevators feature fully interlocking bucket assemblies and rubber beltchains which provide spillage-free operation and the gentlest ride possible for ingredients and product. TipTrak™ conveyors can also be fitted with flow aids, such as vibratory feeder or discharge assists, that alleviate the problems associated with conveying materials that are sticky. In addition, TipTrak™ conveyors can be supplied with a Clean-In-Place (CIP) system that addresses the equipment cleaning challenges associated with conveying confections and foodstuffs.
In applications where free-flowing ingredient powders are involved, Powderflight aeromechanical conveyers are a good equipment choice for many facilities. These conveyors aerate and fluidize ingredient powders, rapidly moving them through the conveyor to the discharge outlet. For batch production environments, UniFlex flexible screw conveyors can be used to convey powdered confectionery ingredients. These conveyors occupy a small footprint and are easily disassembled for cleaning.
Cleated inclined belt conveyors are a good choice for moving confectionery product, especially if the product is not particularly fragile or breakable. UniTrak supplies sanitary cleated inclined conveyors which feature FDA-compliant belting for sanitary performance.
At UniTrak, we have the experience and the equipment to solve your confectionery conveying challenges. To find out more about the equipment solutions which we offer for confectionery production, please contact our sales team directly.