Cocoatown ECGC-12SLTA Issues

Evan  Langendorf
@evan-langendorf
10/17/14 05:37:29PM
17 posts

Hello Chocolatelifers!

We have now been working with the cocoatown unit for about 8 months and as production increased we have recently run into some problems. I am wondering if these are common and if they have been experienced by anyone else or if we are potentially using same mal-ingredient that might be making the friction increase.

About 2 months ago we showed up to our shop to find out the delrin inserts had ground off into the chocolate, making a whole batch (8lbs) of chocolate go to waste. We contacted cocoatown and they shipped up a new pair of stones.

We carefully watched the following batches with the new stones and saw the same wear pattern developing on the delrin inserts. We also have been noticing that the underside of the metal axle has been slowly wearing away as well. This means we have both plastic and metal grinding into our chocolate.

Now after getting in contact with the company we have been told that we need to pay to ship the parts affected back to the company for them to test them and then they will see if they want to cover them under warranty. Not so good for a new company just getting off the ground...

So has anyone had an issue like this with cocoatown?? We are now going to do what we can to continue producing but it looks like we might be looking into the Santha machines.

If anyone has any advice that would be highly appreciated.

Evan and Brianna



updated by @evan-langendorf: 04/11/15 03:30:20AM
Mark Gerrits
@mark-gerrits
11/06/14 08:13:28PM
14 posts

Hi Even and Brianna,

I am interested to hear if you have found a solution to the delrin insert problem? I have just encountered the same issue with a CT 12STLA. i was starting a batch and a high pitch squeak started to come from the machine. I first thought is was the motor or the belt, but then i realized it was coming from the stones. Then I noticed white particles (plastic) in the bottom of the melanger. i stopped the process immediately and have sent an email off to Cocoatown asking for their technical support to solve the issue. Considering that I live in South America, sending it back to the US for repair is not an option. Anyway, i hope you found a solution and that you are back to making chocolate. any advice you have would be welcome.

cheers,

mg

Evan  Langendorf
@evan-langendorf
11/07/14 01:53:58PM
17 posts

If it was your first batch it might just mean that your wiper (the white peice attached to the cetral axle is too close to the wall of the drum which is creating friction and it needs to be shortened (undo the nut holding the wiper arm and turn the wiper one twist tighter to make it shorter).

We ordered another axle to see if our problem resolves itself, we just received it yesterday so we are putting on another batch.

Good luck friend!

Mark Gerrits
@mark-gerrits
11/07/14 06:10:11PM
14 posts

I connected with Andal from Cocoatown today via Skype video. She was very friendly and helpful. The unit I am using has plastic washers between the bolt and the granite stone. Apparently they added these washers as a sort of a test at a recommendation from someone, but are not necessary for the functioning of the machine. It was the washers that were rubbing and creating friction. They simply suggested I remove the plastic washers and give the unit another try.

cheers,

mg

Evan  Langendorf
@evan-langendorf
11/08/14 12:08:08PM
17 posts

Are you talking about the embedded washers (ie. they run through the stones). They can be seen here in the image I attached, its the best image I could find.

If so, they are not removable. Ours ground down into a batch and we ended having to get more stones shipped to us. I think the stones should have metal wahers and then it woukld be metal on metal to have the least wear.

Let me know if they are removable or not, id be sursprised if they were and that they would be sending beta material.

Anyway hope we figure these issues out fast :)

beth campbell
@beth-campbell
11/14/14 11:00:14PM
40 posts

I had very similar problems with a ECGC-12SL, and had to replace the stones within one year of purchase because the plastic inserts were wearing down and cracking and then even the metal arm broke that holds the stones. After replacing it all at cost (no warranty) I tried using it again and this time the plastic/ metal shaft in the bottom of the drum broke off completely and I gave up. i am at a loss as to whether to fix these machines because the cost is almost as much as a new machine.

I have recent reinvested in a Santha Spectra 40 and I am happy with it except I am having similar plastic issues in the same place (inside the stone roller). And all these issues are with just grinding in sugar to melted liquor and butter. I am looking to find out if anyone else is having this issue with Santha's machines? I am at a loss as to what to do about this because I invested quite a bit and literally have only used it 10 times, and because I live in Canada they will not warranty it, which is very difficult because there is no other machines in my small capacity that are.

Basically I am very disappointed and not sure how to proceed.

I am wondering if the plastics they are using nowadays are just crap? I thought about looking for metal shafts to replace the plastic one thru the middle of the stone. Any ideas, solutions, DIY fixes?

Beth

Thomas Forbes
@thomas-forbes
11/15/14 09:29:44PM
102 posts

I have the 10-12 lbs. capacity Cocoatown and a Santha and have recently been using two Premier Wonder Grinders that hold up to 6 lbs. each. They were $200 a piece and are doing nicely after almost 10 batches. The temperatures when they run after 4 or 5 hours are about 10 degrees different at about 145 and 155F. I adjust the tension and they stay the same. The two larger machines above tended to run around 135-140F.

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
11/16/14 12:24:48PM
527 posts

Hi Everyone.

I don't own any of these machines. However, with my knowledge of the origin of these machines and cocoa and grinding, maybe I can provide you some insight.

The grinders you are using were never originally designed for cocoa. They were designed to grind things like chickpeas and other soft seeds into meal. They were NOT designed to grind cocoa beans.

Cocoa beans are like little pieces of granite. Their shells are even worse. They are very abrasive - almost like a mild sand paper. Over time compounds like plastic will ALWAYS wear out if cocoa is applied to it with any type of pressure. In fact, as time passes so too will the shafts that hold your granite wheels.

I have machines in my shop that are specifically designed for chocolate making. They have sealed bearings, and even rubber seals in front of the bearings, but even those eventually fail and allow chocolate to pass through and destroy the bearings.

The question here will never be, "What can I do to prevent these parts from failing?" The question should be "If I'm serious about making chocolate, how often am I prepared to replace the parts that I know will fail?"

Fan belts as primary drivers, plastic bushings, plastic paddles..... These are all indicators that these machines were not designed for every day use to make chocolate.

I hope that brings some clarity to the reason you always will have trouble with these machines as long as "plastic" is used on any part.

Cheers

Brad

Evan  Langendorf
@evan-langendorf
11/17/14 02:43:01PM
17 posts

Thanks for the reply Brad.

What are the machines you are using so we can think about making that move.

We are fine with replacing needed parts on machines destined for chocolate making, but at this point it looks like every part on the machine needs constant replacing.

Thanks for your insight!

Evan  Langendorf
@evan-langendorf
12/10/14 04:48:09PM
17 posts

Any advice on machines Brad?

Thanks

mariano garcia
@mariano-garcia
12/11/14 12:11:27PM
61 posts

I also had problems with cocoatown service, very poor customer care!

TalamancaOrganica
@talamanca-organica-cacao-fine-chocolate
12/19/14 07:29:50AM
12 posts
We here at Talamanca Organica have had many problems with Cacao Town and have had to replace the stones twice and the wiper is now cracking. Although still under warranty they do not want to replace the wiper and the want $37 for a new one. They made me send the parts back to them and now they do not want to send me back my old parts. I will never deal with horrible people again I would never recommend them.
TalamancaOrganica
@talamanca-organica-cacao-fine-chocolate
12/19/14 07:31:01AM
12 posts
Which machine do you have Brad?
Evan  Langendorf
@evan-langendorf
12/19/14 11:58:11AM
17 posts

Same.

We shelled out to figure things out with them only to be met with horrible service and lots of headache.

I will make a more prominent post about Cocoatown later to warn people of their fraudulence.

For now happy chocolate making!

Donny Gagliardi
@donny-gagliardi
02/12/15 11:39:31PM
25 posts

I've read in another forum of somebody replacing the delrin insert in the roller stone with custom machined teflon bushings.  I have this model melanger but have yet to fire it up. I'm going to be proactive and obtain a quote from a local machine shop. 

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