History & Uses of the Roll Refiners in Chocolate Processing

Roll refiners were being produced in Germany in the 1890s. These refiners utilized horizontal rolls made of granite. By the turn-of-the-century, vertical, five roll refiners came into use. In 1904, Joseph Baker and sons retrofitted a five roll refiner, by replacing the granite rolls with chilled steel rolls. They had encountered a problem with overheating while using granite rolls. While others were quite skeptical of the steel rolls, the advantage soon became quite apparent. The chilled rolls allowed for higher production; the close temperature control of the product, combined with the close tolerances, allowed for very fine grinding.Roll refiners were being produced in Germany in the 1890s. These refiners utilized horizontal rolls made of granite. By the turn-of-the-century, vertical, five roll refiners came into use. In 1904, Joseph Baker and sons retrofitted a five roll refiner, by replacing the granite rolls with chilled steel rolls. They had encountered a problem with overheating while using granite rolls. While others were quite skeptical of the steel rolls, the advantage soon became quite apparent. The chilled rolls allowed for higher production; the close temperature control of the product, combined with the close tolerances, allowed for very fine grinding.
Common uses of Roll Refiners
The Refiner is used to blend the various components that are used in the chocolate recipe and also grind them to a smooth, taste bud pleasing, homogenous, consistency. As the individual particles of the various ingredients, passed between the rolls, they are broken down and smeared into the other ingredients. The individual rolls do not move at the same speed. As the chocolate is ground finer and finer, its viscosity changes. As it’s viscosity changes, it requires the rolls to move faster and faster. Early five roll refiners, used hand wheels to set the distance between the rollers. Modern five roll refiners, utilize hydraulic pressure. Some of these projects were: the development of early bulk dumping systems for unloading tomatoes from trucks, recovering waste pistachios that were not cracked when received, clarified juice systems that enabled processors to utilize over ripe fruit that they would have had to pay to haul off as waste. With the new clarified juice process, everyone came out the winner; the processor turned the over ripe fruit into sweet clarified juice that was then used in the canning process to replace those sugary syrups that had traditionally been used in canned fruit, like peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, etc., The consumer benefited by receiving a product that was all fruit.

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