Hygienic design for confectionery machines

Flicker roller in hygienic design for the confectionery industry. (Image: WDS)

As a specialist in molding systems, Winkler und Dünnebier Confectionery Machines (WDS) covers the full range of molded confectionery with a variety of applications and performance areas. Already in 2018, the company recognized the market trend for functional confectionery such as over-the-counter products and supplements recognized. The range of systems has been extensively optimized according to the standards of hygienic design. The solution provider decided early on to tackle the challenges of cleaning processes in confectionery production using know-how from the pharmaceutical industry and has expanded its team of specialists from the field of GMP-compliant plant construction.

Challenges in classic confectionery production

First of all, the company had to analyze the current status in the design and production of systems. In the classic confectionery production, systems for processing chocolate masses have been made of stainless materials for many years. However, painted components or whole systems are still often used in mogul systems for processing rubber and gel masses. The particular sensitivity of the processing of confectionery with additives therefore required a further rethinking of the existing hygiene concept of the systems.

The molding specialist assesses its many plant types and designs for hygienic design and optimization options. For this purpose, the designers were thoroughly trained in hygienic design. First, the team began redesigning individual components to optimize the design principles of Hygienic Design on a smaller scale.

Starting with the redesign of a laboratory-scale plant, the plant manufacturer implemented the strict specifications, guidelines and standards of the legislator for hygienic design. First of all, the internal processes had to be adapted in terms of GMP-compatible design. Among other things, the risk assessments had to be carried out be expanded. The perspective is expanded to a new level, for example in terms of product pollution and how to deal with it during production at the customer.

To validate the materials used, WDS collaborated with other companies, among other things to test materials in a non-destructive way. The machine builder called in specialized consulting firms to upgrade all the processes. In addition to the design, special emphasis was also placed on production and procurement in order not only to improve the welding processes, but also to be able to make the necessary documentation. This included, among other things, weld seam inspections, batch traceability, material certificates and calibration reports.

As a result, there was also an increased focus on the greatest possible automation in the documentation process to keep the costs for the operator low in addition to the high standards. To this end, the company introduced in 2017 a powerful PLM system, which thanks to the correct configuration and storage in advance compiles all certificates and documentation almost at the touch of a button and publishes them clearly in the 3D spare parts catalog.

laboratory molding machine

The laboratory casting machine type 998 is a result of the new hygienic design concept. (Image: WDS)

From the laboratory to the high-performance system

Only two years after first dealing with the subject of hygienic design, WDS had already completed several projects in the GMP field to the great satisfaction of the customers and the company itself. Additional projects are being prepared and implemented – only three fully validated high-performance systems are currently in the order book.

In the first step, the focus was mainly on the design and manufacture of laboratory systems based on hygienic design to optimize the processes to establish first. The all-new type 998 laboratory molding machine was created. It is now possible to serve operators with different production capacities and manufacturing processes. WDS has developed a system concept that breaks with established conventions and breaks new avenues in terms of drive technology. This was actually to be presented to the world public at Interpack 2020 and 2021 – due to the corona pandemic, it was shown to interested customers internally. Despite the difficult circumstances, it has already been possible to carry out two customer projects, which would be difficult to satisfy with classic concepts in terms of hygiene requirements and allergen-compliant cleaning. The new system type is called Confecvario and is characterized by the new drive concept with hitherto unattainable flexibility for the entire confectionery industry from chocolate to chewing gum and jelly.

The manufacturer also goes a step further with its existing machine concepts such as Confececo and Confecpro. Although the plant types were originally designed to make chocolate, the company quickly recognized the potential of the chewing gum and jelly sector. Proven hygiene benefits such as the powder-free production technology in polycarbonate molds and high-precision dosing of the mass using our own molding machines were combined with new developments such as the finest, precise wetting of the mold cavities with a pre-molding release agent and a hygienic, orderly molding process.

The interest in the development is clearly noticeable in the industry. Carsten Butz as technical manager at WDS and former strategy manager and Engineering early understood the trend and potential of WDS systems for hygienic flawless design. He explains: “Only the perfect design of the confectionery machine leads to the perfect product. We therefore see optimization of our systems according to the principles of hygienic design as an opportunity to support our customers in setting up tailor-made, law-abiding production right from the start, in addition to product development and production support. “

production facilities

The Confecpro and Confecvario production lines were also revised and upgraded to chewing gum and jelly products. (Image: WDS)

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