Quality control in chocolate production


For the enjoyment of chocolate, taste is not the only crucial factor. It should also be a feast for the eyes too. Perfect appearance conveys a sense of sophistication and full chocolate flavor. As modern laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon are directly integrated in the processing line, the complete product range undergoes real-time inspection based on non-contact, efficient high speed measurements.

Whilst chocolate production has become a fully automated process, there are often still time-consuming quality controls. If quality control at the end of the production process is a manual one, either based on tactile measurements or using laser point sensors, this can be time-consuming and costly to the business. Visual inspection by employees is also time-consuming and does not provide consistent quality results, as this manual process depends e.g. on the daily mood of the employees.

In contrast, laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon offer a solution that involves significant time savings compared to previous inspection procedures and, at the same time, high precision quality control of the entire production range instead of relying on random checks. The scanCONTROL 2960-100 laser scanner inspects the whole production range in real time.

With a throughput rate of more than 60 m/min, the high speed laser scanners detect each profile of the finished chocolate bars without contact and transmit this to the software. The scanCONTROL Configuration Tools software enables sensor set up and configuration.

Subsequently, measured values are calibrated to pre-defined parameters. Typical measured quantities are profile, width, height, depth, edge, groove, flatness and deformation. Once the scanner has determined the measurement values, either an ‘OK’ or a ‘NOK’ signal is directly transmitted to the control system of the processing line and any associated steps in the production line can be carried out. Therefore, it is possible to immediately intervene in the production process, thereby minimizing rejects.

The scanCONTROL laser scanners operate on a non-contact basis and can be placed at some distance from the measurement object. These systems provide reliable results even with different surface properties of the conveyor belt or multiple colors from light to dark chocolate.

In terms of their size, accuracy and measuring rate, the scanCONTROL series of laser scanners are among the highest performing laser profile sensors in the world. Even the smallest of parts can be measured to the highest precision, enabling a new dimension of quality control.

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