Supporters of turnkey solutions argue in favour of their efficiency, flexibility and scalability as it supports a growing nutraceutical market, writes Managing Editor Rebecca Spayne
In its simplest definition, turnkey solutions are appropriately named for the way in which they perform production in one seamless line. Speaking more technically, turnkey solutions represent a seamless blend of automated solutions in one production line and what can be achieved when turnkey lines are applied to confectionery processing. Today, it has since expanded to complete solutions to serve gummy and jelly production, where manufacturers embrace starch-free technology and others continue with starch technology, while complete chocolate production lines also represent what can be achieved.
Trends driving turnkey solutions
“There are trends in different candy segments which are influencing candy production,” stated Volker Gunnel, Head of Sales and Marketing, CHOCOTECH. “Protein bars, for instance, are becoming more popular. We can serve production for these bars with our and SOLLICH’s capabilities. We manufacture the cooking gear, raw ingredient handling, weighing, mixing, blending and cooking while SOLLICH offers equipment for forming and enrobing.”
Other trends of note, explained Volker, include OTC products: “These are products containing additional ingredients, whether it’s an active ingredient or an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). These ingredients are used to create more valuable candies and jellies compared with conventional products.”
The continued popularity of chewy and soft candy has meant CHOCOTECH continues to serve producers creating these products. “When we talk about turnkey solutions, we are including a candy market which is very much still alive,” said Volker. When asked why he thought hard candy is falling out of fashion while chewy candy is skyrocketing, Volker confessed: “It depends on the market. I think texture perhaps makes chewy candy more attractive. You can also have a variety of fillings with powders and liquids, which makes jellies more attractive than hard candy.” However, a trial they are undergoing with a large German candy producer refutes this.
Producers are seeking higher production capacities and greater flexibility, particularly as they battle challenges related to raw material costs and high energy prices. Other demands shaping notable features in turnkey lines include lines that are easy to clean and maintain and ensure high product quality – as well as offering an automated answer to a shrinking number of skilled labour. “In countries such as the US or Western Europe there is a great challenge related to finding skilled operators for production lines,” added Volker. The challenge for producers is seeking out operators and operating in a competitive market, which can be helped by automating production. CHOCOTECH is prepared to provide these automated solutions.
“These are the challenges, to make the processes more intelligent but also save raw materials,” he said. “This means you aren’t left with half a tank of gelatin, one of pectin and another of sugar solution as CHOCOTECH provides an intelligent PLC supported raw ingredient weighing and process control with an automated 1 button line shut down with almost no raw ingredient residues which perfectly matches with the increased costs for raw materials and makes the process and the equipment much more efficient.” According to Volker, the shift from manual processes to automated has been significant…
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