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Chocolate enrobers can coat almost anything you can imagine with a solid, uniform, chocolate layer, saving significant manual labor and turning ordinary snacks into chocolate covered confections. The following guide offers an introduction into the marketplace for enrobers, detailing different sizes, capacities, and prices to help you make the right choice.
The chocolate enrobing process occurs in stages. Most enrobers, especially larger systems, come complete with equipment that handles the enrobing process from start to finish. These all-in-one machines are very convenient. Smaller enrobers can also be purchased separate from the cooling tunnel, although this is less common. At the very least, most enrobers will come with a tempering system that ensures the chocolate maintains a constant, melted consistency suitable for enrobing. Here are the steps involved in a full enrobing line:
Generally, the body of the enrober is made from stainless steel to minimize contamination. Enrobers come in a wide array of sizes, ranging from industrial sized machines – with over 100" belts that process thousands of items per hour – to much smaller machines, with belts as narrow as 6". Generally the wider the belt, the higher pieces per hour output (PPH) the enrober will generate. The enormous selection of sizes allows users to find an enrober that best fits their production needs.
Suppliers usually offer a large selection of enrobers, customized for industrial production, large scale production, medium scale production, or small scale production. Sometimes the supplier will market certain enrobers as better for producing certain kinds of products. For example, there are machines specialized for enrobing cheese with wax, machines specialized for enrobing frozen or chilled products, machines specialized for ‘mounds’ of chocolate (with precise, temperature-constant air for eliminating excess chocolate), among many others.
Some suppliers may also offer additional customizations for their core enrober machines. You pay extra to gain certain additional capabilities. For example, there may be an option to get an enrober with a removable stainless steel rack for easy cleaning. This could prove useful, especially if your business is tight on labor.
Enrober capability is quite diverse, so be aware of all your options, and before discussing these different options with suppliers, try to prioritize your needs first. For example, some machines come with cooling tunnels, which allow for greater product throughput and enables a higher production ceiling, while some machines come equipped with double curtains to guarantee better total coverage. Consider your business’s specific requirements, both present and future, before moving forward with your purchase.
Most enrobing lines come with a single control panel that allows the user to precisely monitor the quantity of chocolate pumping through the coating pumps, determine the exact speed of the conveyer, and monitor the temperature of the chocolate in the temperer.
Chocolate enrobers are often made exactly to the buyers liking, as certain components can be added or removed and belt widths can be customized. In most cases, buying an all-in-one enrobing line will save the buyer significant time and money. An entry level, all-in-one enrobing system will likely cost around $15,000. Generally such an enrobing line would not have the fancier features such as vibrating tables, blowers, or product toppers. Larger, industrial-sized enrobing lines can run over $100,000. For some, however, only specific parts of the enrobing process are needed. When buying individual parts of an enrobing line, the buyer must make sure the new parts are compatible with the existing system.