You want to start / boost up a craft chocolate manufacture. A question resounds: should I buy a cool and expensive machine that will definitely do my task (because it’s cool and expensive, obviously) or a cheaper alternative will suit me, because it can also run it. There are plenty of moments to consider to answer this question. Today we will try to discuss them all.
In our review — an automatic tempering machine by KADZAMA for more than a 10 «large» and not so expensive wheeled chocolate molding machine from the same company. Right from the titles it’s clear that they seem to be the same thing, but there is a huge gap in their costs. So, what’s the point?
Let’s find out what the differences are between them.
Perhaps the most fundamental difference. Automatic tempering machine by KADZAMA costs 12 000 € (at the time of November 2022), while wheeled chocolate molding machine costs 1 800 €. Note: in the case of both machines the price does not determine the functionality: both machines are great for manufacturing the bars, sweets and other chocolate products. But the WAY it’s done is notably different. Let’s talk about it.
The price does not determine the functionality: both machines are great for manufacturing the bars, sweets and other chocolate products.
Automatic tempering machine (ATM) pre-crystallizes chocolate itself in just 15 minutes via one button. In terms of functionality, this is the key advantage. This allows to a) save time, b) optimize staff costs, ‘cause you won't need an experienced chocolatier to manage the process, unlike a wheeled chocolate molding machine (WCM), which requires a qualified employee who knows how to work with chocolate due to the lack of smart functions inside.
Every manufacturer knows that staff moments can turn up a pain in the ass. Qualified and cool ones are expensive and rookies need to be trained, which is time (tons of time) and money. At the end you are not insured from the quit of this leveled-up rookie. An ATM won't run away :)
In an ATM you can temper the entire 30 kilograms at once, and produce 3 full capacities per hour, which is 90 kilos. The machine is designed the way that the chocolate circulates in a looped circle inside. In some different spots chocolate mass is cooling (thanks to the refrigeration unit) and heating. Stable crystals are formed and the chocolate is tempered as the temperature drops inside the machine. Important note: recrystallization is impossible in such conditions and stability of the chocolate is saved for a long period of time. An ATM is equipped with a low-voltage vibrating table, as well as a control for the flow of chocolate via a pedal. You can set the dose from 12 to 2000 grams, also adding a dosing cap, which will simplify and speed up the process of making the filled candies, delivering chocolate exactly to the cells of the mold.
A WCM is not so fancy and smart. All it can do is heating and mixing the chocolate, keeping it melted. You can load up to 20 kilograms of chocolate at once. A WCM is equipped with a digital controller, which allows you to set the desired temperature with the precision of up to 0,1°С. Infra-red heating elements, placed all over the entire area of the inner surface, allow smooth and energy-saving heating. But it doesn’t temper itself. And there is no refrigeration unit as in an ATM.
So why is it still a «tempering machine»? Despite the fact that this machine doesn’t pre-crystalize the chocolate itself, it allows the specialist to do it. And there are plenty of different methods. The easiest is to add a concentrate of stable cacao butter crystals (a.k.a. «silk») made in incubator for stable cocoa crystals and pre-crystallize the chocolate right in the bowl in just a minute. There are other methods we are teaching in our offline class «Profession of Chocolatier» (Moscow-only) such as seeding (or sowing) and «island» pre-crystallization (the same as seeding). You can always pour chocolate into a bowl from the drain spout and temper it by hand on a granite piece. The old fashioned way, baby.
This is the incubator for cocoa butter crystals
The main advantage of an ATM is the ability to build a fully-fledged automated line right at your manufacturing site by purchasing various cool gadgets for it. For example, grab an enrobing machine and a cooling tunnel so you can have the same amazing identical chocolate products ready for packing.
You can also make a desktop factory for sweets & bars with a WCM, building some kind of an ATM on a budget — just buy an incubator for cocoa butter crystals (a.k.a. easy tempering machine) and a vibrating table. KADZAMA even has such a kit. Moreover, a WCM can be customized with small and handy devices such as a shelf for the instruments and a rack for the containers with loose stuff.
The ATM can do a lot and, as a result, eats a lot of energy — 2,7-3 kW, which is equal to about 3-4 microwaves. It requires a 380 volt socket to power it up. That is very important when designing your manufacturing site (it can’t be set at home that easily). From the maintenance point, an ATM can be compared to an expensive car: it requires a qualified master and special details.
A WCM eats only 0,3 kW and works from the usual 220 volt socket. It’s as simple as an electric kettle and, as a result, the risk of malfunction is much lower. (the simpler the machine, the more reliable it is). In case of malfunction it can be fixed by almost every master with minimum skills.
An ATM is not movable at all. It weighs 185 kilograms and can be easily damaged by wrong transportation.
A WCM can be easily transported from one work surface to another if needed, it’s easier to move somewhere and taken out to any event from an exhibition to a fair due to its small size (only 470 х 540 х 500 mm), light weight (19 kilograms) and powering by usual 220 volts. You need to go somewhere — throw it on the back seat of a small car and hit the road! Such a kit can easily turn the process of making chocolate into a spectacular show.
The main advantage of an ATM is the ability to build a fully-fledged automated line
Let's check the pros and cons of both machines once again.
You can build a fully-fledged automated line at your manufacturing site;
Easy to use, saves time;
Optimizes staff costs;
Huge chocolate products output by hour;
Low-voltage vibrating table & control for the flow included.
Eats a lot of energy and requires a special socket;
Can’t be set at home and taken to events.
20 kg capacity;
Simple design and maintenance;
Can be set at home.
Requires special training (opportunity to learn a new things at cool classes);
Can’t be transformed to a fully-fledged automated manufacturing.
Automatic tempering machine is freaking lit. Handsome, powerful, fully-automated. Buy some cool gadgets for it, and it will become the soul of your manufacture. Yep, it can hit your wallet hard, but price is not as important in business as payback time. To understand how quickly this investment will pay off, look at your produced or potential bulk. Let’s say you make 100-200 kilograms of chocolate products per month and sell it for 20-25 € per kilo. Well, you won’t pay an ATM off so quickly. If your bulk already about a ton of chocolate products per month, then why do you still have such a question? An ATM is for those who want a fully-fledged automated business with a large amount of produced stuff, but not for those who want a handicraft business. By the way, choosing the perfect ATM among huge variety of models is a real art and we gladly share this knowledge here.
Wheeled chocolate molding machine is great for a fully-fledged manufacture of chocolate bars and sweets on a budget. It is simple, easy to maintain, but requires advanced skills in working with chocolate. If you are not chasing (yet) the automated manufacturing processes and looking for a relatively inexpensive option to solve your production problems, then this is totally the machine you need.
Automatic tempering machine is freaking lit. Handsome, powerful, fully-automated. Buy some cool gadgets for it, and it will become the soul of your manufacture. Yep, it can hit your wallet hard, but price is not as important in business as payback time.