February 04, 2016
Our Top 5 Favorite Candy Machines
If you were a fan of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like I was growing up, you no doubt view candy facilities as magical places, full of amazing chocolate rivers, gumdrop mounds, and candy cane trees. While the reality of the situation may differ slightly from the majestic wonder presented by the world's greatest chocolatier, Willy Wonka, the truth is that food facilities are pretty incredible. This is especially true for the wondrous machinery that works so diligently to bring us that sweet, sugary goodness.
Valentine"s Day is fast approaching, and it is arguably one of the biggest holidays for candy and chocolate manufacturers (alongside Halloween, of course). Just like at other facilities, preventative maintenance managers must prepare their equipment for this busy time just as they would any other machinery, with a good PM schedule and an eye toward proactive maintenance.
I would say most manufacturers have pretty unique and interesting equipment that they used to produce and package their goods, but candy and chocolate producers have some truly fascinating machines at their disposal. Not only are they technological marvels, but they are just plain fun as well!
Probably the most bizarre of all of the candy machines is the taffy-stretcher. Consisting of several "arms," this handy tool slowly rotates and stretches out large folds of taffy until it reaches the desired consistency. While these candy-pullers are usually relegated to a factory setting, you can still see them in some confection shops, especially along boardwalks.
Another favorite candy-making machine is Hershey"s Kiss-maker. Using specially shaped pipes, drops of chocolate are gently plopped, row after row, on cooling sheets. The pipes squeeze out chocolate in just the right portion to form that perfect Kiss shape we have all come to know and love before sending them down the line to cool, retain their shape, and ultimately be packaged.
While I tend to lean more toward chocolate versus other candy, the machine that makes jawbreakers is truly mesmerizing, particularly the part that shapes a long tube of plain-looking gum into the giant round balls of deliciousness we all broke our teeth on growing up. Once the soft part of the jawbreaker is formed into these balls, it is sent further down the line to receive its candy coating and to undergo the remaining processes.
Just as hypnotic in its function is the equipment that twirls the licorice candy Twizzlers into its rope-like shape. It's truly a sight to behold. Metal tubes slowly twist the sweet candy into long rope strands, giving it its signature shape. From there, the candy is cut and sent off for packaging before being shipped out to the consumer.
Finally, I would be remiss if I were to leave off an all-time favorite: the Tootsie Roll. While some argue that Tootsie Rolls are taffy and others declare them to be a form of fudge, the fact remains that they are tasty and fun to watch as they squirm, snake-like, from their molds. From there, they are sent to be cooled, shaped, and packaged.