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Cocoa processing equipment

Cocoa beans are typically treated in a process called ‘Dutching’. In this process, the beans are fermented, roasted, alkalized and lecithinized in order to give the resulting end products, such as chocolate and cocoa powder, a milder taste.

Cocoa beans are processed into two product groups: cocoa butter and cocoa powder. The beans are cleaned, blended, crushed/broken, alkalized, roasted, wet-ground and pressed. After pressing, the product is divided into butter and cake. The cake discs are crushed/broken, blended, micronized, cooled under controlled conditions and packed.

The Hosokawa Group offers technological solutions, know-how and support for several of these processes:

  • Pre-cleaning of cocoa nibs
    ZigZag classifier, Hosokawa Alpine AG
  • Alkalizing of cocoa nibs
    CPD conical paddle dryer, Hosokawa Micron B.V.
  • Pre-breaking of the pressed discs after cake pressing
    Pre-breaker, Hosokawa Micron Ltd.
  • Homogenizing batches of cocoa nibs, kibbled nibs or cocoa powder
    CPM mixer, Hosokawa Micron B.V.
  • Micronizing pre-broken cocoa cake into typically < 75 microns
    ACM classifier mill, Hosokawa Alpine AG
  • Lecithinizing of cocoa powder
    High speed paddle mixer, Hosokawa Micron B.V.
  • Instant agglomeration of cocoa drinks
    Flexomix agglomeration system, Hosokawa Micron B.V.

CPD for alkalizing cocoa nibs

To alkalize cocoa nibs, Hosokawa Micron B.V. has designed the robust CPD conical paddle dryer following several years of internal fundamental research and experimental work into the mixing process. The result is a combination of high mixing quality and low friction thanks to a single-shaft paddle rotor and a well-thought-out vessel design.

The design is proven to give an equal temperature and composition profile of the mixture from top to bottom. The single-shaft design is an extra benefit in challenging circumstances with overpressure, vapour or an alkaline environment. The CPD typically requires less frequent maintenance than the traditional Nauta® design, which until recently was the designated solution for this alkalization process.

CPM for homogenizing cocoa nibs

The CPM atmospheric vertical paddle mixer offers principally the same benefits as the CPD. This robust, high-quality and efficient solution is a popular alternative to the more complicated horizontal and vertical systems available for the cocoa market, which is traditionally a no-nonsense, cost-conscious industry.

ACM classifier mill for micronizing cocoa cake

Drawing on its expertise in micronizing a wide range of wear-sensitive materials in the mineral industry, Hosokawa Alpine has further optimized its unique ACM classifier mill for the specific needs of the cocoa powder market. This has resulted in easy access to exchangeable interior parts and a straight vertical product exit, thus minimizing cleaning times and production interruptions.

The use of optimum construction materials maintains the perfect balance between the investment costs and the durability of product-contact parts such as hammers and liners, while the mill also includes tools to monitor temperature and bearing vibration. The ACM classifier mill is proven as a reliable mill with a low cost of ownership in the cocoa market.

High speed paddle mixer for lecithinizing cocoa powder

Lecithin solutions are added to (instant) cocoa powder to improve solubility in water-based drinks. The unique high-speed (20-30m/s), cylindrically shaped high speed paddle mixer achieves the necessary intensive contact between individual fluidized powder particles and liquid droplets.

The powder is transported under controlled conditions between the paddles and the temperature-controlled mixer wall, resulting in a homogeneous well-soluble product. The high speed paddle mixer combines a compact design with a surprisingly high capacity.

Flexomix for agglomeration of cocoa-based mixtures

Instant cocoa-based powder mixtures consist of milk powder, sugar and (lecithinized) cocoa powder. Low-price, low-quality products are simply mixed dry components, whereas the more expensive brands consist of homogenous porous agglomerates with a narrow particle size distribution, resulting in ideal instant properties.

The agglomeration process takes place in the Flexomix agglomeration system, a unique compact vertical high-speed mixer with typical residence times of just a few seconds. The innovative design comprises a flexible mixing chamber which includes an external roller massage system for self-cleaning.

The agglomeration process can be optimized by changing various process parameters such as rotor speed, number and angle of the paddles and/or liquid percentage. This enables the user to adapt the process to the quality required for each application, from consumer products (low density) to vending-machine products (high density).

The addition of minimal liquid during agglomeration optimally shortens the final drying step afterwards (in the fluid bed). As a result, the Flexomix reduces energy consumption and saves investment costs.

One-stop shop for cocoa processing technology

The Hosokawa Group has several technology centres across Europe, each of which is an expert in one or more specific powder processing technologies. This in-house knowledge is combined as necessary for each project, allowing customers to benefit from a one-stop shop and a single point of contact for all their cocoa processing-related issues. Besides the manufacturing activities, every location also provides extensive research and test facilities that are perfectly outfitted to help customers determine the best processing solution for their specific situation.

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Hosokawa Micron B.V. is a process machinery supplier, providing mixing, drying and agglomeration equipment and systems for the powder and bulk processing industry.