Pomati Tempering machine?

Alek Dabo
@alek-dabo
07/24/16 02:24:51PM
31 posts

I am looking for my first continuous tempering machine - around 12kg capacity - and would like to widen my options beyond FBM and Selmi which can be seen in many chocolate workshop in the Americas. What about Pomati? Since all the makers are Italians, how is customer service in the US? I found Savy Goiseau in France and others in Switzerland and Germany but they only have large machine. Any US alternative?

Thank you very much.




--
Alain d'Aboville
Fine Chocolates
alek@daboville.com
Clay Gordon
@clay
07/24/16 03:09:05PM
1,680 posts

Alek -

There are no companies in the US making continuous tempering machines in the same class as the names you mention - Pomati, Selmi, FBM, Savy Goiseau, etc., and Gami, Bakon, Chocolate World ... names you did not mention.

If you can, I advise you to take a look inside the machines to see how they are made. What is the size of the tempering auger and pipe? How is the chocolate warmed and cooled? What safety features are in place to keep the operator from inadvertantly damaging the machine?

If you look at the evolution of the technology you will see that these all operate using a screw to transport chocolate from a working bowl where all the crystals are melted out through a cooled pipe to generate and mix the crystals. There is an originator of the technology and all of the follow-on brands are engineering copies to one extent or another. That's one of the reasons they all look so much alike.

However, it turns out the there are significant differences in things like the shape of the working bowl (e.g., deep and narrow versus wide and shallow), the auger and the pipe (e.g., the diameter of the pipe and the depth of the auger flights), and the position of the temperature sensors among other details, that make a difference with respect to overall tempering performance, including the ability to resist over-tempering over the course of the work day. In addition, some machines are heated and cooled with water jackets, some use heated resistance wire and recirculating cooling gas, and others use a combination of these techniques; and there are advantages and disadvantages to the various approaches. There are machines, from LCM and others, that use different approaches to tempering. The LCM approach, for example, makes it impossible (in their minds) to add a dosing option.

You should also pay close attention to the power of the motor driving the tempering auger (as well as the ratio of the gearbox) if you are going to be tempering two-ingredient (high viscosity) chocolate. I can tell you from experience that some motors are under-powered and will burn out faster than others. Two-ingredient chocolate also tends to be more abrasive than conventional couverture - especially that made in Indian wet-grinders - so that has an impact on the bearings and seals on the tempering motor, gearbox, and pipe.

Continuous tempering machines need to create and maintain a delicate balance of factors to temper and maintain temper. If you are making chocolate from beans, two different batches of the same recipe might not have identical tempering profiles. If they taste at all different and/or have a different mouth feel, the tempering will be different. This is one of the hardest points for some people to wrap their heads around. These machines are not artificially intelligent and they can only do what you tell them to do, and the vast majority of them are designed to work with commercial couverture that tend to be of a lower viscosity.

Other things to consider are the location the machine will be in. If it's in a kitchen that will never be seen by the public, how important is the sheet metal? Are you paying for bling or performance? Which is more important to you?

Another thing to consider is that some machines are made to order (so they can be customized) while most are built in advance and you can only buy stock configurations.

Finally, I have learned to pay attention to the following phrase, " You do not get what you don't pay for. "




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 07/24/16 03:59:15PM
Alek Dabo
@alek-dabo
07/24/16 03:55:07PM
31 posts
Thank yu CLay fo rthis detailled and thought


--
Alain d'Aboville
Fine Chocolates
alek@daboville.com
Clay Gordon
@clay
07/24/16 04:00:29PM
1,680 posts

Always happy to help as I can ... it's not always a straightforward choice.

Please let me know if there are questions I did not answer completely or at all where you still need some clarification.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Alek Dabo
@alek-dabo
07/24/16 04:17:04PM
31 posts

Thank you very much Clay for this detailed and thought provoking reply. 

I do produce from Beans (I don't do pastry using chocolate pallets) and use a Spectra grinder. I am not concerned by the look at all and am working on an Island where spare parts are harder/costlier/lengthier to get (but not impossible). So My first concern is definitely reliability of the hardware. Although I now have 3 plantations I buy from, I have noticed the beans are never completely the same in terms of fat percentage and therefore viscosity. So I need to be ready for the "heavy duty" mix that would require both a solid engine and ball bearings. Which brand(s) and or models do you believe best meet these 2 major criteria?

Finally, do you think batch tempering with a machine like the Savage, is more flexible and provides better result, for the bean to bar maker? In other words, that these archemedian screws are suited for standard conditions only?

Thank you again,




--
Alain d'Aboville
Fine Chocolates
alek@daboville.com
Clay Gordon
@clay
07/24/16 04:46:59PM
1,680 posts

You are in the Dominican Republic? Rizek has three FBM machines that I am aware of, and are using them for their Kakaw brand. These are custom-built for them but I am not entirely sure of the extent of the customizations.

FBM machines are designed to be relatively easy to repair  - YMMV - once a problem has been diagnosed, and diagnosis is usually done via Skype w/FBM. Most of the parts can be sourced locally as the manufacturers FBM chooses tend to be global; overnight express freight is. If there is a compressor issue then you need a competent commercial refrigeration repair person to take care of that. Routine maintenance is always a good idea on any machine to stay ahead of potential problems.

No one other than FBM that I know of has offered up any bean-to-bar specific upgrades for their machines.

Batch tempering is an option. Many people in the bean-to-bar community use Savage melters for a variety of reasons, including some former FBM customers. The issues there were that the older machines they purchased were too small (mostly the tempering augers were too short) and when working with high viscosity chocolate it made finding and keeping temper really challenging. We've learned a lot about the variables working with high-viscosity chocolate over the past three years and are constantly improving the software and hardware to address the issues we run into.

The smallest FBM machine I'd recommend for bean-to-bar work is the new Compatta 15. Bigger working bowl, longer tempering auger (same length as in the Unica but smaller in overall diameter). Importantly, you can order the option to change the speed of the auger in 1% increments from the control panel, which is a game changer when it comes to nailing temper. 

FBM has just introduced a new 10kg batch tempering machine, the Quadro 10. One of the main differences (apart from smaller size with respect to the Savage) is that it uses resistance wiring and a compressor to temper the chocolate instead of running water. This means no plumbing, no water bill, and no wasted water.

I don't think the batch tempering machines are more flexible or produce a better result than continuous tempering machines. They're just different and they impose a different set of operating thinking to use well. A continuous temperer, once you nail temper, will do a better job of keeping a chocolate in temper over the course of a day. Batch tempering machines tend to be slower to reach temper and the operator needs to be aware of changing conditions and manually make changes to maintain temper. (So make sure you have thermometer and hygrometer right by the machine.)

That said, there are always differences in approach and engineering decisions that require you to make a tradeoff. Is a Chocovision Z3 "better" than a Savage 50? Well, if you are not able to run the plumbing the Savage needs, then the Chocovision may be better. However, if you want greater throughput, Savage may be better. I don't know enough about your situation and chocolate to help you with that decision.




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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Peter3
@peter3
07/25/16 07:27:00PM
86 posts

Clay Gordon:

Alek -

Continuous tempering machines need to create and maintain a delicate balance of factors to temper and maintain temper. If you are making chocolate from beans, two different batches of the same recipe might not have identical tempering profiles. If they taste at all different and/or have a different mouth feel, the tempering will be different. This is one of the hardest points for some people to wrap their heads around. These machines are not artificially intelligent and they can only do what you tell them to do, and the vast majority of them are designed to work with commercial couverture that tend to be of a lower viscosity.

This is a very important thing to keep in mind often forgotten.

I will suggest looking from another perspective, not necessarily better but different 

I had a look at a few tempering machines like Selmi or FBM Compatta.

Pretty.

However the control systems used for control of chocolate tempering were not ideal and not very responsive to any changes. Chocolate flow interruptions caused by using the "filling moulds" function were resulting in unstable chocolate temperature and loss of temper. The temperature control range was wide.

This may be fine in many situations but it may cause serious problems in others.

Another option for people looking at tempering chocolate on a small scale are small scale industrial tempering machines or lab tempering machines. New ones are expensive (but so are the Selmis of this world) but there are second hand machines on the market. Getting a machine with capacity bigger than required is not a bad idea. Normally they use PID controls for temperature with settable parameters which helps to adjust and control temperatures much closer to required setpoint.

Possibly something like the last machine on this page:

http://www.raymondtravel.co.uk/chocolate_temperers.htm

There are a few other dealers in second hand confectionery machines worldwide

Clay Gordon
@clay
07/25/16 09:29:23PM
1,680 posts

Peter:

FBM has developed a response to your concerns about interrupting the flow of chocolate when depositing into molds.

In most tempering machines that use augers to transport the chocolate through the pipe the flow of chocolate is controlled by starting and stopping the auger. When this happens repeatedly over a short period of time the dwell time of the chocolate in the pipe changes, which can change temper. Plus, because the flow of chocolate is not constant the rate of melting in the bowl is not constant, leading to over-crystallization.

FBM offers, as an option on some of its machine, a pneumatically-controlled doser. When installed, a pneumatic valve (i.e., one that is operated by compressed air) is installed at the top of the tempering pipe. When closed (the default position) the chocolate is diverted down a separate pipe into the working bowl. When the dosing function is activated, the valve opens and the chocolate flows to the mold. After the desired time, the valve closes. In other words, the tempering auger never stops turning and the flow of chocolate is never interrupted. This design eliminates virtually of the drawbacks associated with controlling the flow of chocolate by starting and stopping the auger.

I don't disagree with you about getting a machine that is larger than absolutely necessary, because parameter that affects the consistency of temper include how rapidly the amount of chocolate in the bowl changes and how full the bowl is. It's much harder to maintain temper when the bowl is one-quarter full than when it is full and when you're emptying the bowl faster than the nominal tempering capacity. (FBM's rule of thumb is that the tempering capacity/hr of a machine is 3x the bowl capacity - assuming the bowl is kept full.) However, in my experience, people tend to under-buy capacity because of the expense involved. Having an outboard melter that automatically keeps the working bowl of the tempering machine is a great option to consider if high throughput is required.

FBM also offers three-zone tempering on some of its machines. This can help quite a bit in fine-tuning and maintaining the consistency of temper over the course of work shift.

Of course, the chocolate(s) being used also affect the ability of a machine to reach temper in the first place as well as maintain temper over time.

Not surprisingly, the location of the thermocouples used to measure the temperature come into play, and it is possible that a thermocouple is not properly adjusted within the flow of chocolate. This can lead to difficulty in reaching and maintaining temper.

And, finally, there are differences in software that can account for some of this. FBM has, on its larger machines, a "soft" and a "hard" tempering curve. This refers to how aggressive the chocolate is cooled. In the soft setting the chocolate is cooled more slowly. In the hard tempering setting the chocolate is cooled quickly until it comes to within a set number of degrees above the temper point, and then cools more slowly. Some chocolates do not seem to work well with the more aggressive cooling cycle, so that's why the operator is given a choice.

Yeah, it's a lot to learn, but as I said earlier, the machines are not artificially intelligent. They only do what the operator sets them to do.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 07/25/16 09:31:10PM

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