Published on

September 18, 2023


Nick Halliday

Meet the unsung hero of chocolate and bar manufacturing

In chocolate and snack bar production, taste, texture, and appearance reign supreme. But to get those things just right, a humble (yet pivotal) player often goes unnoticed – the cooling tunnel. To those who know, it’s the key player in the journey from molten chocolate to delectable treats. Here, we dive into the significance of cooling tunnels and optimization tactics for chocolate and bar manufacturers.  

What is a cooling tunnel?

A cooling tunnel is a specialized mechanism designed to perfectly cool products, especially those involving chocolate or bar slabs. It bridges the gap between high-temperature manufacturing and that moment of consumer indulgence. Here’s how:

  • Quality control: the cooling process impacts the final product’s texture, gloss, shelf life and overall quality. The machine’s swift and precise cooling means your chocolate develops a uniform fat crystallization – AKA that trademark snap and sheen.  
  • Efficiency: speeds up the cooling process, allowing quicker production cycles and less downtime. When cooling bar slabs, the tunnels can take the mass from a temperature suitable for mixing and forming down to a temperature ready for cutting, enrobing, and packaging.  
  • Consistency: uniform cooling protects your bars from external temperature fluctuations.  

PTL’s innovation in cooling tunnels  

PTL’s cooling tunnels represent a leap forward in chocolate and bar production. From design to installation, we’ve created a machine that elevates your entire production process. Here’s how:

  • Exceptional hygiene: we’ve removed any areas where product and allergens can build up and created easy access for cleaning. Here’s why hygienic design is so critical.
  • Durability: Our equipment is built in stainless steel – inherently resistant to damage, corrosion and contamination.
  • Agility and flexibility: engineered to be agile, allowing for easy access to components for lightning-speed cleaning and facilitating swift transitions between different SKUs.  
  • Comprehensive turnkey supply and design: an all-inclusive package with services, dropper packages, and belt washers. This turnkey approach streamlines the integration of our solutions into your existing production line, minimizing downtime and maximizing operational efficiency.

Navigating the tunnel

To understand exactly how the cooling tunnel will fit into your production line, here’s a run-down of its main components:

  • Conveyor system: a conveyor belt guides your delicious creations through the cooling tunnel – the perfect environment for an even and consistent treatment.
  • Cooling system: the tunnel’s core system uses one of two techniques – air and glycol beds– for precise and rapid cooling.
  • Insulated housing: well-insulated housing prevents heat and moisture intrusion to maintain the perfect temperature.

The key stages of production:

The cooling tunnel has three stages. Initially, freshly crafted bars and cookies enter the cooling tunnel, warm from the production process. Next, they go through distinct cooling zones, where meticulously controlled temperature and airflow create the ideal conditions for cutting, enrobing or packaging. Finally, as they exit the tunnel, the products come out perfectly cooled, with optimal texture, gloss, and quality.

Types of cooling tunnels

Different products have distinct cooling requirements. Here’s how PTL creates the ideal fit for your operations:  

  • Materials: we opt for materials that align with your product and hygiene standards, like stainless steel for food safety.
  • Capacity: we’ll select a tunnel that fits your production volume and growth projections.
  • Length and size: we tailor the tunnel’s dimensions to your product sizes and available space.
  • Maintenance and cleaning: our signature maintenance and cleaning efficiencies adapt to your needs for better productivity and food safety.

Leveraging the cooling tunnel for business growth

Want to maximize the potential of your cooling tunnel? With precise cooling techniques, innovation and product development become more accessible. You’ll be able to refine textures and flavors, and introduce more new products than ever. You can also eliminate energy-related concerns with intelligent controls designed to optimize costs. Ultimately, the cooling tunnel isn’t just machinery – it’s a partner in the growth and advancement of your business.

Level up to keep up

From better textures to more efficiency, this unassuming machine bridges the gap between manufacturing excellence and consumer satisfaction. With PTL’s pioneering innovations leading the charge, the cooling tunnel allows manufacturers to keep pace with bar innovation and consumer expectations.

Want to learn more about PTL’s cooling tunnels? Get in touch with the team today.