SWITZERLAND – Bühler has expanded its offering in the chocolate industry with a new moulding solution, the ChocoX moulding line, to enable chocolate producers combine flexibility and agility in production and hygienic design, which the company notes will result into significantly lower operational costs.

The new ChocoX, a flexible pronunciation of “Choco Cross”, comes in a completely modular design allowing for unlimited crossovers of the process line and quick adaptation to different products.

Bühler explains that every function of the line is placed in an independent module, to be freely adapted for the production process customers need. In under 30 minutes, chocolate producers can change a module.

“With the new ChocoX, customers are able to react quickly to changing consumer tastes and market trends – while reaching new heights in efficiency,” says Fritz Dorner, Head of Business Unit Confectionery.

With the new system, the Swiss company said that it offers a significant time reduction especially in industrial operation where refitting of a moulding line used to take more than a month on site.

“An entirely modular approach led to a line arrangement that can be used almost like a toolbox. Each module of the new ChocoX is built on wheels. This allows for easy reconfiguration of the sequence and, thus, more product variety. Arranging new processes only takes 30 to 120 minutes depending on the sequence changes. Thereby, more individual recipes will see the light of day with just one production line,” the company explains.

Performance and sustainability

Together with its customers, Bühler says that it can set up the new ChocoX and launch its operation on site within one week. Furthermore, the system’s standardized self-contained modules also allow assembling and removal of each module within less than 30 minutes.

According to the company, line extensions can be ready in half the time than other solutions while delivery of standard modules takes three to five months, with an implementation on site of just 24 hours.

Bühler added that the new ChocoX comes with a reduced footprint, thanks to integrated control boxes that replace all central switch cabinets. Optimized shaking modules shorten the shaking time and the decreased cooling volume adds to the line’s lower energy consumption.

Integrated buffering, automated mould handling

“The new ChocoX is unstoppable – in the truest sense of the word,” Bühler says. The moulding line also includes a highly efficient buffering system making the extension with an external buffering system obsolete and offers exceptional cost advantage immediately after its launch.

In addition, Bühler explains that the process keeps the important thermal consistency at an ideal level, including the transition to packaging: the smart buffering reacts to the packaging output, so the new ChocoX can keep running even during a stop in the packing process.

The fully automatic mould handling system further increases the line’s efficiency. “There is no more need to carry the heavy moulds. The handling system simply distributes the moulds automatically for you,” says Fritz Dorner adding that it is only one of the line’s highlights that reduce operation efforts.

Delivering much more uptime

While, moulding lines are prone to getting dirty quickly and often they are hard to access the company observe the new ChocoX sets new standards also in terms of hygienic design. All modules work without chains.

In addition to increased food safety, the chainless line design lowers the maintenance efforts. Generally, cleaning time per module is only 30 minutes, also because there are no installations underneath the depositing sections.

“Large doors offer free accessibility to all modules from the front and the back,” adds Frank Huperz, Head of Design & Engineering. Huperz explains that the demoulding section, for example, comes with an extendable quick-change system on wheels.

In general, “depositing tool changes can be done while the modules are running empty – with a highest level of safety,” Huperz adds. The completely new cooling technology relinquishes the complicated, hard-to-clean and voluminous Paternoster system.

Thus, the new ChocoX provides for a considerable reduction of downtime thanks to less cleaning and maintenance efforts needed. Bühler noted that several patents are currently pending for this new state-of-the-art moulding solution. The company said that it is looking forward to share more information on its commercial use by the end of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.