A chocolatey research project
Scientists at TU Dresden want to make industrial chocolate production more sustainable.
In industry, several chocolate products are manufactured on one production line for efficiency reasons. In order to prevent the quality-reducing contamination of flavors, colors and other components of ingredients, rinsing processes are necessary in the pipes of the line, in which the liquid predecessor chocolate mass is literally pushed out by the successor chocolate mass.
In the SchokoSIM project, researchers from the Chair of Processing Machinery and Processing Technology and the Chair of Fluid Mechanics are particularly concerned with the so-called mixing phase when the chocolate type is changed. "During the cleaning process, chocolate products temporarily mix. Before the purity of a product is established, a mixture is therefore created that cannot be directly reused and unfortunately can only be used as an alternative product in the rarest of cases. At present, there is insufficient knowledge about the exact interrelationships in the rinsing processes and, consequently, about possibilities for process improvement," explains Dr. Hannes Köhler, head of the project on the existing problem in the industry.
The aim of the research project is to understand the rinsing process more precisely and to be able to predict it. To this end, the researchers are using a flow simulation from the Chair of Fluid Mechanics and are using it to simulate cleaning scenarios. The simulation considers the material and flow properties of chocolate. This enables the research team to take a close look at the rinsing processes and optimize them. The results help to reduce mixing phases of chocolate products, save resources in chocolate processing and minimize food waste.
In the next step, the simulation model will now be tested using an industrial-scale test facility, through which chocolate will flow for experimental measurements in the coming months.
Dr.-Ing. Hannes Köhler
Technische Universität Dresden
Faculty of Mechanical Science and Engineering
Chair of Processing Machines and Processing Technology
Phone: +49 351 463-42273