More Specialized Equipment in a Chocolate Factory

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 | Blackbird TV

David is joined by Jim Greenberg from Union Confectionery Machinery to discuss more specialized equipment found at chocolate factories. In this segment, we take a look at a C&M press, a mixer, and a refiner.

About this segment of Blackbird TV

Guest: Jim Greenberg, Co-President / Owner, Union Confectionery Machinery. To learn more about our guest, visit, or call 718-585-0200.

Recorded: March 23, 2021

Published: September 21, 2021

Segment transcript

This segment of Blackbird TV is Jim Greenberg, Jim is the co president of Union Confectionary Machinery, they’re out of Connecticut. What town in Connecticut are you in, Jim? We’re in Fairfield, Connecticut. That’s my home office. Jim, when we talked about doing this segment. I dug up some photographs of an old deal that that we worked on together quite a long time ago up in Fulton, New York. And it’s an old Nestl√© chocolate factory that you and I worked on and sold together. It was a great project. And so I pulled out some old photographs. And for the appraisers and the people that might have an opportunity to see this kind of equipment, we thought we put a little segment together. This is a C&M press. Tell us what this piece of equipment does and for scope how big it is and how it works and what it does in the process Well, physically, this is one of the largest presses that was ever made for cocoa butter production. And the way this machine works is that you deliver the cocoa liquor into the machine, which is a byproduct of grinding the cocoa bean into a nib. And then from there, hydraulically, this machine presses the fat out of the liquor. The byproduct, of course, being cocoa butter. And the dry material that gets caught into the into the press itself is what they call press cake that gets ground up and pulverized into drinking chocolate. How big is that piece of equipment? Do you remember how long that that particular one was? A machine like that’s normally about twenty five feet long, and it will produce upwards of about fifteen thousand pounds an hour If my memory is correct, this one actually went through the floor and there were components beneath it, weren’t there? Correct. Yes. It was actually dropping those press cakes down into the floor where they were pulverized. That was a giant machine. So after that press, it goes into a mixer. And this is the mixer that they used. Tell us about this piece of equipment. So the paste mixer is the machine that then agglomerates all of the ingredients that are used to make chocolate which might be sugar liquor, cocoa butter, lecithin, other material that’s part of the cocoa bean. That paste is then a gritty paste that has to go through a refining machine for particle reduction. The critical point there is that by reducing the size of the particle in the material, the mouth feel when you’re eating, it makes it smooth as opposed to gritty. And the proof of that pudding is in eating it. And we’ve all had chocolate that has different feeling and different textures to it. That all happens on the factory floor. This refiner that they have, they had several of them in the factory. This is one of the newer pieces of equipment that was in this transaction. And it brings up the question of what is the lifespan of this equipment if we go back to that press? How long does something like that last? And have there been any innovations in the older equipment? Yeah, the original presses that go back almost 100 years ago were all mechanical. They were gear driven. They had very, very large motors. Back in the day, all machines were run off to what they call the line shaft. That was a single shaft running through a factory with leather belts. And every machine had a pulley on it. So each machine was driven off the same gigantic GE motor. Now, of course, each machine is autonomous. And this particular refiner has moved up into the 21st century with hydraulics, touchscreen and computer controls, with automatic controls on there for heat reduction on the rollers so they don’t crack. The temperature of the water that’s flowing through them to keep the material from burning. So there’s a tremendous amount of innovation. So that refiner you put the chocolate in there in the chocolate just stays in there for a certain amount of time and sticks and rolls. And it’s almost a mixing process in itself, isn’t it? Well, what happens is the chocolate is fed to the bottom two rollers and then actually travels upward and is discharged off the top roller where there’s a stainless steel conveyor system to catch what they call the refiner flake. So it doesn’t remain in the machine very long, but it does remain on the surface of the rollers long enough to be refined. Here’s a guy who absolutely owns his space. Jim, it is always fascinating to talk to you. Really appreciate your knowledge today. Thanks for your help. Have a great morning. My pleasure.