Transparency in Chocolate Manufacturing

  • With an integrated RFID solution, confectionery manufacturers are able to identify every form

  • Robust data carriers on the forms provide identification and status information at any time

  • Special read/write heads capture forms in different sizes and shapes

To meet the specific requirements of the chocolate manufacturers, Turck cooperates with the industry giants Winkler and Dünnebier, producer of confectionery machines; Hildebrand, maker of cleaning systems; and Agathon, the manufacturer of forms.

Constant identification

For constant identification of the chocolate forms throughout the entire process, the producer of the forms equips them with RFID tags. This allows the different forms for the numerous end products to be identified easily and anytime – even when stocked. The data of every single form is available centrally, so stocking procedures can be carried out without having to count the stocked forms manually.

During the production process, the tags allow the backtracking of every single form – up to thousands of forms can be at one plant. Combined read-write heads at the loading stations, the casting machines or important checkpoints, record and forward the saved data to the controls. The operating staff knows at anytime at which point of the production process the forms are in and what their current status is; for example, if they need to be filled, if they have received their content, if they are cooled down or if they have finished the whole production process and are ready to start the cycle once again. This information helps to organize the load changes more efficiently and avoid plant downtimes – the whole production cycle is monitored in real time and disturbances are discovered immediately.

Chocolate forms that are damaged or contaminated are easily identified through RFID and can be removed from the production process and sent directly to a connected cleaning plant. The special RFID tags and combined read-write heads from Turck even withstand wash-down environments. Thanks to the modular RFID concept, Turck's BL-ident system can be easily integrated into difficult environmental conditions and preexisting automation structures.

Identification with additional value

Wireless identification offers more advantages than the identification of intermediate or end products or product carriers. The EEPROM or FRAM memories, with capacities up to multiple kilobytes, record production dates or cleaning times that are saved with the identification numbers (Unique IDs), so guidelines of hygiene and quality can be monitored. Also, automated procedures, like the loading of the casting machines or the precise placement of the products or product carriers close to handling robots, can be carried out reliably with a RFID system. Last, but not least, the forms that have to be replaced because of contamination or material defects can be identified and ejected immediately before they lead to faulty end products.

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