People like sweet things, and analogs to candy even appear in ancient literature. For instance, one proverb states, “My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.” Historians record how civilizations as diverse as the ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese would drizzle the sticky stuff over nuts and fruits to make confections. However, mass-produced candy only came into being in the middle of the 19th century with the introduction of the revolving steam pan and the candy press. Today, candy production has skyrocketed, and the available kinds of candy processing equipment have similarly exploded.
In this Candy Processing Equipment Buyer’s Guide we will detail the most popular types of candy processing equipment, things to consider when purchasing used candy processing equipment for sale, and commonly available accessories.
Popular Types of Candy Processing Equipment
Caramels and chocolates. Cotton candy and lollipops. Licorice and gummies. Brittle and Turkish delight. The many types of candy truly run the gamut, but despite their delicious diversity, they basically fall into two categories: hard candy and soft candy. Following you will find the most common candy processing equipment for sale that produces these two broad kinds of candies.
One of the older types of candy processing machines, candy enrobers were introduced in France in 1903, and the July 13, 1913, edition of The Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer reported that the device “was brought to this country, modernized and perfected, and now does the work of twenty persons perfectly and in a more sanitary way.” Although enrobers can be used with sugar panning (i.e., the covering of an item with a crunchy candy shell) and similar kinds of food coating, the most common enrobed substance is chocolate.
Enrobers function by heating the coating and pumping it into a flow pan that dispenses it in a slow-flowing curtain. A conveyor belt transports the items to be coated through the curtain, thus enrobing them. The conveyor belt is constructed of thin mesh, and the catching trays beneath them contain drain holes, which allow the coating material to be recycled.
Sometimes candymakers need to liquefy chocolate or some similar topping for coating, drizzling, or decorating. In such instances, they employ candy melters, which heat their contents to a certain degree to ensure liquefaction. Candy melters range in size from small (350 pounds) to very large (20 tons). They usually include agitators to ensure the constant motion of all of the liquefied material, as well as boilers, pumps, drain gates, and integral thermometers.
Candy Tempering Machines
Tempering is a process used in chocolatiering to produce a very specific effect in finished candies. Tempering involves heating a specific form of chocolate to a certain temperature, cooling it, and then heating it again. Unlike molding, which merely changes the shape of the chocolate, tempering changes the characteristics of the chocolate, making it harder and shinier. Candy tempering machines tend to contain features such as heaters, multi-layer insulation, internal pumps, built-in water chillers, and programmable controls.
Candy depositors are either semi-automated or completely automated candy production machines, and you can find models appropriate for chocolate candies, gums or jellies, hard candies, and toffees or fondants. These machines combine multiple processes into a single unit and include modules such as:
- Heated Panels: In order to deposit different sorts of candies and ensure that they will behave in a desired way, the temperature must remain constant, and heated panels help ensure this.
- Heated Hoppers: This is the intake section of the machine, and it can be calibrated to keep ingredients warm or to melt them.
- Nozzles and Molds: Nozzles deliver the soft or melted candy solution into the shaping molds in specific amounts, which determines the weight and size of the candies.
- Transportation Unit: This moves the candy through the various stages of the depositor’s system.
- Shot Size Control: Candy depositors feature adjustable deposit (“shot size”) controls that allow them to create multiple sizes of candies.
In addition to these common ingredients, depositors can come in different sizes, temperature ranges, capacities, and material construction types.
Candy slicers are sometimes known as guitar slicers, and it’s easy to see how they got their nickname. Designed to slice soft candies and candy fillings such as nougat, ganache, caramel, and fudge, their wire-like cutting implements look like guitar strings. Candy slicers are comprised of a heavy base, a grooved cutting surface, thin cutting wires that will fit into that cutting surface, a frame to contain those wires, and a handle for an operator to grip. Candy slicers can have multiple arms, allowing for different kinds of cuts.
Also sometimes called guillotine cutters, candy cutters differ from candy slicers in that they cut along a single line using a heavy, metal blade. These semi-automated systems feature the following components:
- Frame: A metallic frame of a certain size that anchors the machine and its attached components.
- Rollers: Food-safe rollers that compress the candy into a sheet that’s a specific thickness.
- Blade and Blade Housing: An enclosure resting perpendicular to the belt that contains a large slicing implement which will cut the candy at regular intervals.
- Belt: A food-safe conveyor belt that directs the candy toward the blade and blade housing.
- Control Panel: The means by which the cutter is programmed.
Candy cutters are primarily measured in width, speed, and roller dimensions.
Designed to create hard candies by heating a sugar syrup solution to a particular temperature (usually 320°F), candy cookers allow confectioners to process candies en masse. Sizes are normally denoted in either batch capacity or amount of candy able to be processed hourly. Candy cooker options include vacuum pumps, double-jacketed construction, and computerized controls.
Candy coolers can come in enclosed or open models, the latter of which are more regularly used in retail stores that produce smaller batches in-house. Candy coolers help solidify various kinds of soft candies and make them shelf stable. Some models include multi-stage cooling for different kinds of products or for more gradual cooling.
Candy Sizers and Rollers
Even though they share the same function, candy sizers and rollers differ dramatically in technological advancement. Simpler models involve little more than food-safe tables with integrated rollers and cutters that are operated by hand. Automated options connect with extruders or batch rollers, allowing the production and processing of ropes of hard or soft candy in specific diameters and lengths.
What to look for when buying Candy Processing Equipment
As we have listed in the above sections, most new and used candy processing equipment will have various options available as part of your initial purchase or as add-ons in the future. In addition to considering the general condition of the item you’re interested in, you should confirm the following factors:
- Size: Every piece of equipment has a physical footprint, and you should ensure that it will fit into your available space and not obstruct your workflow.
- Processing Capability: Determining how much candy a particular piece of equipment can process is essential prior to making a purchase.
- Included Options: Compare the configuration of your desired device with other commonly available options; you should also check to see if your candy-making equipment is upgradeable.
- Power Requirements: Some equipment is manufactured in Europe or Asia and may not work in the United States without adaptation.
- Material: While all materials that come in contact with candy during the manufacturing process should be food safe, not all are created equal, and you may want to make a decision based on the durability or ease of cleaning a particular material.
- Part Availability: The manufacturers of many excellent machines may have gone out of business, which could dramatically increase the maintenance cost of a used line of equipment.
Naturally, candy machines find the vast majority of their usage in the confectionery sector, which includes industrial candy production, artisanal sweets crafting, baking, chocolatiering, taffy pulling, toffee production, fudge making, and the like. However, other sectors of the food industry may use candy processing equipment. For instance, some candy equipment is used in the commercial preparation of cheese and pasta.
The accessories available for candy processing equipment basically fall into three categories. First, they can include additional options for different models (e.g., computerized controls versus analog controls). Second, they can include spare parts (e.g., replacement wires for candy cutters). Third, they can include secondary items required for the marketing of candy (e.g., packaging and wrapping).
Finding Candy Processing Equipment on Surplus Record
Candy making involves many kinds of processes and an equally large number of machines to perform it. Fortunately, it’s easy to find exactly what you need on Surplus Record! Click within the search bar at the top of our website, and type in “candy” to see the various categories of processing equipment that we have available.