As you may know, I represent FBM machines here in the US and to ChocolateLife members around the world and ChocolateLife members are entitled to a 10% discount. [THIS DISCOUNT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.] Most FBM 220V machines can be purchased in either single- or three-phase. Smaller machines can be run off 120V with a step-up transformer and there are step-up transformers we recommend. While you can use phase converters to turn single- to three-phase, because of the reactive load (compressors cycling on and off) you can't use static phase converters. Rotary or the much more expensive digital option.
That out of the way ...
One of the misconceptions out there is that throughput, when it comes to an enrober belt on a continuous tempering machine, is dependent on working bowl capacity. It's not.
Time to do some math.
Let's say you want to enrobe 250 pieces an hour. If each piece has 10 grams of chocolate on it, then you only need to temper about 2.5 kilos of chocolate per hour. You should not have to purchase a tempering machine with a 25 kilo working bowl just to be able to kit it out with an enrober belt. (The general rule of thumb for continuous tempering machines is that they will temper about 3x the capacity of the working bowl per hour. So if you need ~100 kilos of chocolate per day and are actually working 4-5 hours per day, a continuous tempering machine with a working bowl capacity of between 7-12 kilos will do the trick. Of course, if you are doing molded work and bars as well, you may need a larger tempering machine.
Let's get back to that 250 pieces per hour. That's only about four pieces per minute which is trivial for a 150-200 mm-wide belt. The real gating factors on throughput are how the pieces are going to be decorated. If you are going to be putting transfers on or hand decorating, a single operator should easily be able to do 250 pieces an hour, even if the work is not well organized. As you need to increase your throughput, organization becomes more and more important - how the work is organized before it goes on the belt, how it is handled to decorate it, and what happens after it gets decorated.
Maximum throughput is going to depend on the sizes of the pieces. If you are doing, say 40 mm-square pieces, then you can comfortably get three across a 180 mm-wide belt with lots of room between them. As the operator becomes familiar with the operation of the belt, they might be able to get four across. Keeping in mind spacing, I would estimate that an organized operator could get 10-12 rows of three pieces in the length of a sheet pan. You'd run those pieces through, take the pieces off, decorate, and then start the process over again. That's with one operator. If you have two you can have one put the pieces on and another take them off. So, ultimately, throughput is dependent on the number of people operating the line.In order to know what size belt and tempering machine is right for your production situation, it's important to know how many (number of pieces) of what kinds of work you plan to produce, on average, and during peak production seasons. From there it's possible to size the machine that will fit your requirements.Hope this is helpful. If you have any more questions about tempering machines and enrober belts I will be happy to answer them. If you are interested in getting catalog pages and pricing, please let me know and I will send them to you via email.
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
updated by @clay: 12/28/16 01:43:55PM