Whether you're the owner of a candy shop in Brooklyn or you're one of the giant chocolate makers like Hershey's or Nestlé, experimentation is essential.
In this episode of Here's an Idea, we explore how candy manufacturers large and small turn to technology to support their newest, sweetest confectionery creations.
Listen to the episode below.
- (0:29) Eugene, a chemical engineer turned candymaker at the Eugene J. Candy Company in Brooklyn, takes us behind the curtain and shows us how he makes his favorite candy creations – from "Freaks" to "Superfreaks." (Read a 2016 Bushwick Daily feature article, written shortly after Eugene opened the store.)
- (14:11) Sandra Link, product manager at Bosch Makat Candy Technology in Germany, explains her team's much faster way of making gummy bears, and why we should pay attention to their expressions.
- (5:49) Dean Elkins from Yaskawa Motoman reviews the (many) robots helping to sift through, package, and palletize candy. (Read a Yaskawa Motoman candy case study.)
- (8:36) Crystal Lindell covers the candy beat. We speak with the editor of Candy Manufacturing about the innovation happening on the conveyor belt, from 3D printing to "hands-free" factories. Here are excerpts from our interview:
On the use of virtual reality to design factories:
Lindell: "You can create an entire candy factory and walk through it, and check and see if the line is going to work, or if things are fitting where they need to be, and if the packaging line is in a good place compared to where they're finishing or pulling their chocolates.
It's kind of like a video game. I go to conferences and I get to put the goggles on and walk through factories that don't even exist. And, it changes the ability of the companies to create a space without spending a ton of money to really get a feel for how it looks."
On the use of wearables in candy manufacturing:
Lindell: You have people wearing bar code scanners on their gloves, so they can scan product as they're tracking it throughout the process. Google Glass didn't do well with consumers, but factories are embracing it. The employee can wear the glasses and see how to operate or fix a machine.
On the use of 3D-printed parts:
Lindell: If you have a robot packing those fragile candies into a box, it has to have a different arm for each shape. So, any time you launch new shapes, or you want to package a multi-box, then you have to have a different robot arm. And so, that's where 3D printing of parts is coming into the candy industry, because if they want to launch a star shape, instead of ordering a new robot hand from Europe, they can just 3D print it in the factory.
On "hands-free" candymaking:
Lindell: I was just in the Smarties factory, and they say the complete production of the smarties candy is hands-free until after it's packaged, which means no human beings are touching it, which they look at as an advantage because it's better for food safety and food quality.
Want more Here's an Idea? Listen to our previous episodes, focusing on everything from car hacking to asteroids.