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Refining is arguably the most important process in chocolate production as it determines the consistency and texture of the final product. We know from experience that only by using high-quality, high-performance industrial control and automation solutions, backed up with global support on a local level, will builders of chocolate refining machinery succeed in gaining market share.
MARCH 2022 One of the world’s leading manufacturers of premium baking ovens for the large-scale industrial production of wafers is using SMC air-blow technology to reduce the energy required for a key cleaning process. In this article we set out the solutions and products that turned this ambition into a reality.
Around 70% of electricity consumption for air-related activities in a conventional factory is attributable to air-blow applications. However, by switching to SMC valve, blow gun and nozzle solutions, we can reduce this figure to around 56%, representing a significant saving. Knowing these savings are available, end users are today pressing OEMs to ensure their solutions reduce air consumption and, subsequently, electricity usage.
Brush aside inefficiency Wafer ovens are heavy users of compressed air due to the need for blowing. The fragility of wafers means it’s not viable to use brushes for the removal of crumbs from the surface of wafer sheets before the application of chocolate cream. Instead, air-blow technology provides an effective, quick, non-contact alternative. The efficacy of this process is important as failure to remove crumbs effectively means they stick to the baking plate and turn black upon passing through the oven for a second time after adding the filling. These crumbs then become part of the wafer sheet, which means they are visible on the finished product, compromising both aesthetics and taste.
Some OEMs also use blowing to separate the wafer sheet from the baking plate, and to clean the plate prior to the application of fresh wafer dough. Again, the use of brushes for these tasks is too harsh as they can potentially destroy the patina of the baking plate.
We all know that the issue with using conventional air-blow technology is its high energy consumption. Wafer ovens can feature multiple baking plates that produce up to 60 wafer sheets per minute. Clearly, an energy-efficient solution is required, which is why our meticulously engineered portfolio of SMC solutions is proving increasingly popular.
The SMC air-blow system comprises a selection of pulse blow valves, impact blow valves/guns, nozzles, and pressure and flow valves. These energy-efficient solutions are not available elsewhere.
Finger on the pulse Our AXTS pulse blow valves, for example, reduce air consumption by 50% or more due to their specially designed intermittent operation. The pulse/non-pulse operation is freely adjustable and no special control is required - you simply supply compressed air.
Another proprietary SMC solution is the IBV/IBG impact blow valve/gun. Thanks to a start-up peak pressure that is three times higher than standard products, impact force increases while air consumption reduces (by up to 87%). We can also offer our KNH high-efficiency nozzle, a solution that makes use of the Bernoulli effect to ensure compressed air consumption is lower than standard nozzles. A further innovation is our AS-R/AS-Q pressure/flow valve series, where the return stroke operates at a reduced pressure to cut air consumption by up to 40%.
The leading wafer oven OEM is now enjoying rapid return-on-investment and ongoing savings thanks to its adoption of our solutions, backed by expert know-how and support. Many other OEMs can also take advantage of these products, reducing air consumption in a cost-effective, easy way, and providing an important USP (Unique Selling Point) that can drive sales.
With a grade on high technical school, Karl-Heinz joined the SMC Austria family 27 back in 1994. All those 27 years fully dedicated to his passion, sales.
When not supporting his customers, Karl-Heinz enjoys the most elaborating amazing wood crafts and if time allows doing some hiking and skiing.
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