Has anyone used the NETZSCH chocolate machines?

Robert Cabeca
@robert-cabeca
11/10/09 10:08:02PM
12 posts
I have a small space (500sf) and want to do bean to bar chocolate making. I cannot seem to find the right assembly of traditional equipment that would work in that space (There is another 300sf working space not suited for equipment).Has anyone used the NETZSCH machines or know someone who does? It seems like a solution, but I am concerned about reliability, cost, consistency, and of course quality.I would appreciate any input you have.Best regards,Robert
updated by @robert-cabeca: 04/10/15 04:42:02PM
holycacao
@holycacao
11/11/09 07:26:47AM
38 posts
What equipment have you looked into and what volume are you trying to make in a batch/week etc?I haven't used NETSCH but think that you could do bean to bar in that space.Jo
Clay Gordon
@clay
11/11/09 09:22:10AM
1,680 posts
I just got back from London where I was able to see a 300kg Netzsch ChocoEasy in operation at Artisan du Chocolat at their workshop in Ashford, Kent. Sir Hans Sloane, also in London, has a machine. From my first connection with the machines (nearly two years ago now) and my closeup contact I can say that the machines are suited for production of fine chocolate - as long as you approach their use correctly.At more than US$85,000 for a 50kg machine, however, they are not cheap - though this figure does include the electronics which are a very appealing part of the machine because, once a recipe is dialed in it can be repeated totally accurately. With one of these machines, once you know what you are doing, you can produce a very high quality batch of chocolate in under 24 hours. You don't need to conch for days because that would beat the life out of the chocolate.Where the Netzsch machine falls down - and this is a criticism of EVERYTHING in this space - is that there is no support equipment that is sized appropriately. Assuming a 50kg batch of finished chocolate every 24 hours, you need a suite of support equipment that can process between 25-40kg of cocoa beans, from the bag to liquor, in under 8 hours. Most machinery seems to be sized to handle <5kg hr or >50kg hour. So you're stuck with:a) machines that can't keep up with the demands of the concheb) machines thatoverproduce by many, many times, what you need (overpaying until demand meets capacity)c) making/adapting machines yourself to meet your specific requirementsAt some point, virtually all small chocolate makers have a production scheme that encompasses aspects of all three. Jo Zander (holycacao) has posted pictures here on TheChocolateLife of a clothes dryer that he modified to roast beans. Samantha Madel and Langdon Stevenson of Tava in Australia have developed their own winnower - as have many others. The Mast Brothers have a very interesting collection of equipment they've modified and adapted and opted to spend real money on only one machine - a Selmi temperer/depositor.Where you come down on this question is a matter of budget and where you think it makes the most sense to spend your money, and your appetite for invention and shop skills.Jo is right when he says that 500sf is large enough to set up a working small-batch chocolate factory though, as I mention above, you'll need to think hard about the organization of the space, including the need for storage for the beans and storage for chocolate in its semi-finished and finished states, plus space for wrapping, etc. One more thing I would caution you about your space is that working with beans is dusty so you'll want to think hard about separating the space where you store, clean, roast, and winnow the beans from the rest of your facility. There are lots of ways to do this from clear-plastic flaps and air curtains to physical walls.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Robert Cabeca
@robert-cabeca
11/11/09 10:50:24AM
12 posts
The information that you have all provided has been very helpful in getting me to think "out of the box". I have to admit i have much to learn about the start to finish process and am constantly absorbing information wherever i can.It seems i can pump the finished batch into my temperer/enrober. The CE50/300 will hold the completed batch until it is ready to be pumped out, but no new batch can start until it is pumped out. One of the other challenges with the machine is that it only accepts liquor that already has all the ingredients you want to include in the finished product.Again, Thanks for the great info!Regards,Robert
Harry Way
@harry-way
11/11/09 12:27:32PM
6 posts
Hi Guys,The ChocoEasy system has to start with a liquid, NETZSCH does not currently have any bean roasting, cracking or winnowing equipment, I have been to Bottom Line Technologies in Sarasota Florida, they make a small cracking and winnowing machine suitable for use with the ChocoEasy 50 Kg unit (CE 50)http://www.blt-inc.com/winn15.htmWhat I would like to try sometime with the CE 50 is bean grinding in the machine itself. We can pump solids as large as 3-5 mm. So if we start out a chocolate batch with just a small amount of liquor in the machine, we could add the nibs, grind them to the desired fineness. We have made dark chocolate fine as 8 microns using micrometer measurement.Then add Sugar or whatever sweetener you want to use, milk powder if milk chocolate (another thing I want to try is using whole milk or condensed milk since the drying capability of the CE 50 is quite efficient)The space required for a CE 50 is about 10 x 6 this includes room to move and work around the machine. A power panel can be mounted on a wall as far as 100 away for the machine. It does require 230 or 460 volts, 3 Phase power and cooling water (intermittent use) it has its own hot water system for controlling temperatures.Thanks for the interesting discussing,Harry
Channy
@channy
05/27/10 09:04:42AM
11 posts
Hello everyone,I am very grateful of all the knowledge on these forums that people willingly share, I think it's fantastic. I have so far just been perusing all the forums and trying to get an understanding of what people are using and the kinds of outputs that people can achieve from cost effective set ups. I would like to be able to set up to make small batches of chocolate for sale, with an artisan approach not dissimilar to the Mast Brothers of Brooklyn.I have been looking at the Mast Brothers set up, they seem to have 4 grinders that they use to grind down and conche their roasted nibs. They say they run them for something like 72 hours I think. Does anyone know what kind of grinders they use? I know they also have a Spectra Melangeur there too but it seems it might be for test batches. If anyone knows of any other machinery out there that is for the small/artisan approach I'd be grateful to hear of it.Thank you to all,Chantelle
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
05/27/10 11:44:26AM
527 posts
Having done over 5 years of research into the chocolate industry, I can tell you that Netsch prices and Bottom Line Processing prices are insane. Period.I was able to set up my entire chocolate shop, capable of producing approximately 200lbs of HIGH QUALITY chocolate per day, for approximately $150,000, which also included several tons of beans, cocoa butter, and packaging.The winnower I made myself for $1,000 does higher volume and takes up less floor space than the $50,000 Frankenstien that BLP wanted to charge.The refiners? You're better off buying a couple of small, new, MacIntyre conche/refiners, which WILL process chocolate right from the roasted nib. You could even purchase a couple of used ones through Jim Greenberg at Union Machinery in the Eastern US, for MUCH less than Netsch.Just this one piece of advice alone will save you $25,000 (MacIntyre conche/Refiners are about $24,000 each), give you redundancy (TWO machines instead of one Netsch) in case of failure, AND more production.I've already put the bill for this tidbit of advice in the mail to you! LOLCheers.Brad.
Clay Gordon
@clay
05/27/10 05:04:28PM
1,680 posts
The Mast Brothers are using machines from CocoaTown.com - the Grindeurs.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Channy
@channy
05/27/10 08:47:19PM
11 posts
Thanks Clay,Has anyone ever used any of Cocoa Town's products? I'm really keen to get started. I was going to go with Santha but if anyone can recommend me something to start off with, that'd be great. I think in the future I would need something something bigger than the 10 lbs melangeurs but I do need to start somewhere.Cheers
Kerry
@kerry
05/27/10 09:21:19PM
288 posts
I've been playing around with the Cocoa Town Deluxe Melanger - works very nicely. They also make bigger units (look under Grindeur on their website) for when you are ready to make larger batches.


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www.thechocolatedoctor.ca
Duffy Sheardown
@duffy-sheardown
05/28/10 12:19:03PM
55 posts
Hi Chantelle,I use the ECGC65 grinder from Cocoa Town - here are my impressions after 6 months useage:- it arrived late- the machine has no switching on it so it is switched on and off at the wall. I can sort this but I also need to put a cage around it for safety reasons- the wheels and base were not a great match to start with. Despite their advice I ran the machine for a good few hours through many changes of water until they were a better fit and running more evenly- the drum leaked at the edge of the steel where it meets the granite. Only a small amount and they sent me glue to fix it, which worked.- I have made I think 22 batchs through the machine up to now. I throw the nibs in gradually from lunchtime until the machine will run and not clog and then leave overnight with no heat applied as a "refine" step.- Next morning I add pre-ground sugar (done beforehand in the same machine) and the conching process starts. The machine generates a bit of heat in the bowl anyway so you don't need to add much heat to it.- Overall, a few very minor teething issues but it works and the chocolate tastes pretty good. The texture is good now that I pre-grind the sugar too.- I will be buying another one - they are cheap and efficient.DuffyRed Star Chocolate Ltd
Kim Vessa
@kim-vessa
05/28/10 03:39:10PM
1 posts
We would like to take this opportunity to respond to Brad Churchill's post. Bottom Line offers three different winnowers with capacities ranging from 15 kgs/hour to 150 kgs/hour. We aren't sure which model Brad is referencing, since none of them are in the $50K range, and none are referred to as "Frankenstien" (sp)! We will gladly quote pricing and offer demonstration tests to anyone interested. Feel free to contact us via cacaocucina.com.Thanks,Kim
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
05/28/10 06:08:10PM
527 posts
About 6 months ago I was provided a quote for your larger capacity machine. I still have it. I'll dig it up and post it here so we're all clear.Bottom line (no pun intended) in my opinion? It was WAAAY overpriced, and still required the additional purchase of a high volume air compressor, air lines, and required babysitting by the operator.Last month, a small Lehmann winnower was sold through online Auction by Jim Greenberg for about $9,000 USD +/-. It's a great size for artisanal production, and is the same one that a well known New York Chocolatier (I think Jacques Torres) uses in his facility. I bid on it, but mine works well, so didn't pursue it aggresively.As far as calling it "Frankenstein" (I spelled it correctly this time), what can I say? In my opinion, it's how I truly feel. It's apparent that whomever designed it doesn't work in the food industry, and/or doesn't have a good understanding of winnowing. There are a million nooks and crannies, hoses, and wires, and open circuitry to catch the dust that winnowing creates (and it ALWAYS creates dust), along with other debris and cast off that the industry always creates (ESPECIALLY the chocolate industry). Nothing is enclosed and kept away from staff who can be very rough on equipment. It simply doesn't have a professional, easy-to-clean and maintain look/design for a commercial food establishment.There are much better, and less expensive options out there. That's my opinion, and that's all I'm saying.Brad.
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
05/29/10 12:36:04AM
527 posts
Ok everyone.... My mistake.The quote I received was even MORE INSANE!This company wanted $77,000 USD for the winnower, and ANOTHER $5,000 for the feed hopper that goes on top, so the operator doesn't have to keep feeding beens into the machine.Note, that this doesn't include shipping (quoted weight of 2,500lbs), the cost of the air compressor, set up, and electrical work needed.By the time it's all said and done Frankenstein will cost you about $90,000 to winnow 8 sacks of cocoa beans per day.I've attached the PDF quote I received from Kim Vessa on January 11, of this year.Talk about pricing yourself right out of the artisanal marketplace..... Wow....Again, this is JUST MY OPINION. You can accept or reject it as you see fit.I have written quotes for their others as well, and for the 15kg version, the likes of which you can find plans on the Internet which will process the same amount, they wanted $11,000.00 not including shipping, set up, electrical, etc, etc. Again, by the time you're done it's a $15,000 kick in the keister.Why not just design one INTELLIGENTLY - like maybe a scaleable one - and sell it for a price that an artisan can actually afford?Brad.
Wendy Buckner
@wendy-buckner
05/29/10 05:45:31PM
35 posts
Much appreciated Brad! Thanks! ~Wendy
Dave Elliott
@dave-elliott
05/30/10 06:49:00AM
17 posts
Thanks - I'm at the early stages of designing an artisan shop and this detailed info is invaluable!
Clay Gordon
@clay
05/30/10 12:56:22PM
1,680 posts
This conversation, with a different emphasis, is being continued here.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Clay Gordon
@clay
05/31/10 11:30:47AM
1,680 posts
This is an edited version of Brad's response to his own reply.Apparently Clay has had some pushback from my incendiary posts above. He's asked me to delete my posts, and I've agreed. However I don't readily know how to do that. Instead, now that I've openly slapped a company I think is ripping people off, I'm going to substantiate my claims, and help those of you who are looking for a winnowing solution for your business:CRACKINGYou can buy a good quality cracker from Commodity Processing Ltd in the UK for about $3500 USD, which allows you to completely control the size of your cracked product. One of these units will easily do 100lbs per hour all day, every day without fail. It's a product I use in our shop. (Don't buy their fanning device. I did. It's a POS)John Nanci on Chocolate alchemy also sells a hand unit that you can attach to an electric drill for about a hundred bucks. I started with this, and it works ok, until you get into more industrial long term use. It would be a good start for an artisan.You can then have the nibs fall from the cracker directly into the rotating screen (described below).WINNOWINGWinnowing is about airflow and particle separation. Airflow can be created by both suction and/or blowing. The challenge with cracked cocoa is the disparate sizes of the beans and shell, so the first thing that needs to happen is that the particle size needs to be made uniform.Traditionally screening cocoa is done using a series of vibrating flat screens. The problem with flat screens is that eventually, they clog up with nibs and need to be cleared out by an operator. They are also very very noisy. A better solution (one that I've designed) is a cylindrical screen that the nibs, once cracked, tumble into. The screen is tilted 10 degrees and slowly tumbles the nibs and shell, causing the large pieces and large shell to tumble out the end, and the smaller pieces to fall through. The benefit to this design is that it's not noisy, and the large pieces that get caught in the screen fall out once the screen rotates to where the nib is at the inside top. This design also requires only a small servo motor and a belt to keep the screen turning. Nibs and shell that fall out the end, can continue to be run through the cracker to create more uniform pieces, until such time as product falls out the "reject" end of the rolling screen. Screen size should be no larger than 3/8 ths of an inch.ONCE THE NIBS AND SHELL HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS PROCESS, YOU HAVE A UNIFORM MAXIMUM SIZE PRODUCT, AND LOTS OF OTHER SMALL SIZES.DUST COLLECTIONA single cyclone dust collector with a particle bag, and heppa filter can be purchased from any large woodworking supply company for just a few hundred dollars. I purchased mine at Busy Bee Tools here in Calgary for $269. It creates the CFM draw I need, doesn't use a whack of electricity, and plugs into any standard North American wall outlet.3. Blowing: You can purchase a series of enclosed fans from any commercial fan and motor supply store for a couple hundred bucks each. the fans you need put out about 300CFM each, and allow a cervo control to be attached (like a dimmer knob on a light) so that you can control the fan speed as it's blowing.4. Winnower design: Create a box (plywood works) about 4 feet tall, and 1 foot by 1 foot wide, with slopes inside. On one side of the box, cut holes and mount your fans. On the other side of the box cut a slot and mount one of your dust collecor input hoses. The top of the box is open, and is where you dump the nibs. As the nibs fall into the opening, they are directed by the slopes you add to the inside of the box, INTO the airflow of the fan at a 45 degree angle. The fan blows the shell through the nibs, and UP another slope into the airflow of the dust collector. You have three fans mounted on this box, so the nibs pass through the airflow three times, then fall out the bottom of the box and into a bin, ready for use.Not only is this a system that can be designed and built for less than a thousand bucks, it's scaleable, so that as your business grows, you can build more boxes, with more fans, and just increase the size of your dust collector.[ this paragraph removed because of offensive language ]


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Clay Gordon
@clay
06/04/10 04:33:33PM
1,680 posts
One of the issues that does not get covered in these discussions is why equipment costs as much as it does.While it is possible to build inexpensive solutions like the ones outlined in this discussion and others, problems arise when moving from a hobby stage into manufacturing for commercial sale - which is where serious food safety and liability issues arise.To the best of my knowledge there is no such thing as food-contact-safe plywood. Anything in a food manufacturing facility made of plywood should instantly fail a health inspection. In the US, you can't even use plywood as a housing for parts that don't come in direct contact with food because of concerns with preservatives and solvents in the woods and glues. NSF-approved stainless steel is a lot more expensive than plywood and a lot more expensive to work with.Food safety has a range of concerns, the most important of which is that you don't want customers to fall ill from consuming your product. On a practical level, should you get sued by a customer who gets sick and they find out that you've been using non-approved materials to fabricate your equipment well, you can count on your insurance not covering those bills.Another thought to consider is the potential impact on the still-small craft chocolate market here. Remember a few months ago and the peanut butter scare? It didn't matter if you bought your peanuts from a supplier that was safe no one was buying peanuts. What would happen to the craft chocolate market if a customer got sick? While it doesn't make sense that all craft chocolate makers would be affected, history has proven, time and again, that consumer's react emotionally and not rationally, so a food scare is likely to have a relatively broad affect.Other reasons that much food processing equipment (and equipment for chocolate is included in this list) is that the parts are designed and built to industrial tolerances and duty cycles, not the duty cycles of home appliances, and the fact that they tend to be made in small runs. Anyone who's had a 5-liter countertop grinder knows all too well that they weren't designed to run continuously for 8 hours let alone 48 or 72. Longer duty cycles require that everything be built accordingly and that's more expensive.In looking over all the wonderful designs that have been proposed here on TheChocolateLife, it's important to keep food safety in mind. The plastics being used may be food-safe, but are they getting cleaned properly? Is everything that comes in contact with the cocoa is food-contact-safe (did you remember to sanitize the inside of that PVC tube before you started winnowing - and to sanitize it regularly)? Before you move from being a home hobbyist to selling chocolate to the general public, it's worth considering the implications of food safety on your equipment choices.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Brent Peters
@brent-peters
06/21/10 08:26:50PM
7 posts
I agree with Clay 100% on food safety. Never take for granted that you are producing a food for people and in this litigious day and age I wouldn't cut corners. Also, as Clay mentioned, the peanut butter scare created some serious problems for affiliated producers. As a result, it's not only going to effect peanut processors but anyone manufacturing a packaged food product. The Food Safety Modernization act is about to become law and it's going to be costly and time consuming to comply. I won't say it's not necessary, but it only takes one reckless company to create headaches for the honest ones. I recommend anyone starting out in the USA, to get the FDA involved early on in your process. Find out who does the inspections in your area and contact them. It was the best advice I received. Unless of course you plan to stay under the threshold for enforcement. Although, you won't be exempt from lawsuits.On the equipment side. I started seeking equipment back in early 2007 and the options, especially for winnowing, were very limited. In fact, I contacted Commodity Processing and they dug up the plans and built the unit for me. I now have one of the BLT winnowers, the smaller Winn-15 and I can tell you, it is worth every penny and very affordable. Let's put in perspective too, even at $77k for the 150, your next option for a new machine would be a large industrial winnower for probably no less than $500k, and you would be lucky to get it in your building.I can also vouch for Kim and John Vessa at BLT, they are honest people, very professional, and it shows in their machines. They've also been in the manufacturing side of the food industry for a long time and Kim knows her stuff as her background is in confectionery technology. She offered up her knowledge at no cost and her advice was invaluable. John's no slouch either. If you take the time to meet them and visit their facility you will see it firsthand. My winnower is all stainless steel, accessible for cleaning, and contains the necessary signage for warning operators. If you have staff and they get injured without them, you're done. It doesn't matter if you built it yourself or not. I spent time in risk management and compliance for a manufacturing company and I've seen what can happen, even with the simplest machines.Just my two cents, I'm not being paid by BLT for my statements. Anyone starting out now, is fortunate to have them as an option.Best,David MasonBlack Mountain Chocolate
Joaquin Villafuerte
@joaquin-villafuerte
09/05/10 07:13:07PM
1 posts
Hi guys,I red all comments about machinery, prices, risk and quality.I am looking for cacao machines, used, or new. Reasonable price.Id like to process chocolate bars and bombons, in the first stage.My production could be 400-1000 lbs/month.Could anyone help me with this?Thanks.
updated by @joaquin-villafuerte: 09/08/15 03:50:25AM
Clay Gordon
@clay
09/06/10 09:58:06AM
1,680 posts
Rafael:There should be quite a bit of used machinery in Ecuador. You might want to check through Tulicorp or one of the other processors to see what they have or can get. Do you have a budget for equipment? I am also curious - are you planning to make chocolate from beans or melting and flavoring chocolate to make bars, bonbons, etc.?


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Adam G.
@adam-g
12/16/10 03:02:41PM
20 posts

I too share the same concerns regarding food safety Clay mentioned and like David would like to see more in a selection of winnowers. Has anyone gone through the process of getting a homemade winnower (or any equipment for that matter) approved for commercial use - either formally or simply getting a pass from a health inspector?

For example, what if I where to build this one using food-grade materials? What challenges would I face using this in an approved manner?
[Presently set aside issues related to production rate and time-to-build vs. cost - which are quite valid - for this particular design.]

vincent mourou
@vincent-mourou
04/07/11 12:20:42PM
5 posts

Hi Duffy,

How many pounds of cocoa nibs can you work with at a time in a ECGC65? The website says 65lbs but just thought your experience might be helpful.

Thanks,

Vincent

Jason Whitney
@jason-whitney
10/04/12 02:01:48PM
1 posts

Hi Brad. Is there a possibility I could chat with about your equipment knowledge skills. I have a special application and needs some guidance.

Jason 10-04-2012

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