Chocolate and Conveyors: How Chocolate is Made
Chocolate is one of my favorite things in the world. I love nearly any kind of chocolate, from barely sweet to creamy white chocolate. Until recently, I never really thought about how chocolate arrives at my door. Even though I knew millions of chocolate pieces were made each day, I never thought about how it could happen. The trick to making large quantities of chocolate in any factory is, like many other factory process, conveyor belts. Without these conveyance systems, making chocolate and other candies would take much longer, and probably cost a lot more.
So how does a chocolate factory actually make the chocolate?
If the factory only molds the chocolate, rather than creating the original chocolate recipe, then the factory has a large vat heated by boiling water that melts the chocolate chunks into a creamy liquid. If the factory does make the chocolate, a large cooking pot is used to mix the butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and cream necessary to create the creamy dessert. After the chocolate has achieved the correct consistency, it is sent into a conveyor line that pumps the chocolate into the molds that pass by under the conveyor belt. Conveyor belts are an essential part of the speed and accuracy of the production line. Depending on the size of the mold, it can take anywhere from about 10 minutes to over 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. As the chocolate passes through the different layers of the conveyor belt system, the chocolate slowly hardens. By the time the chocolate leaves the conveyor belt, the chocolate is hard enough to remove from the mold.
A second, unmolding conveyor belt system removes the chocolates from the mold. The molds are flipped so they are face down, and a small strip of metal hammers against the back of the mold to release the candies. The chocolates are then sent down the conveyor line to be packaged into boxes or other containers for final sale.