chocolate confectionery manufacturing pigging questions

Chocolate: A Global Favourite

Chocolate, loved by many around the world, comes in a variety of types, shapes, and flavours. From traditional chocolate bars, coins, eggs, and heart-shaped treats to milk chocolate, dark chocolate, salted caramel, and ruby chocolate, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

But behind the scenes of this sweet indulgence lies a complex and dynamic industry.

As the industry evolves, manufacturers face many challenges, including fluctuating input costs, increased competition, and changing customer preferences.

In addition, there’s a growing emphasis on sustainability, with pressure mounting to meet waste reduction targets while maintaining impeccable quality and operational efficiency.

Pigging Systems for Chocolate and Confectionery Production

As chocolate and confectionery manufacturers strive to overcome operational hurdles, many are turning to advanced liquid product recovery technology to streamline their operations.

Also known as pigging systems, this innovative technology offers a solution to some of the industry’s most complex liquid processing challenges.

Despite being widely used by some of the largest players in the industry and smaller independents, questions often arise about their application, benefits, and implementation. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common questions we get asked about pigging systems for chocolate and confectionery production.

*Please note, for broader pigging inquiries, make sure to explore our comprehensive pigging system FAQs page or Contact Us.

FAQs about pigging systems for chocolate and confectionery products

What is Advanced Liquid Product Recovery (Pigging) in Chocolate and Confectionery Processing?

Pigging systems are a specialised technology used in chocolate and confectionery processing and production to recover residual product from pipelines.

The process involves using a ‘pig’, a flexible, cylindrical specialist device that pushes product through the transfer lines, leaving virtually no residue behind. The pig is usually pushed through the pipe by a range of propellants including compressed air, gas, other liquids, or even the next product to be processed.

HPS advanced technology typically recovers up to 99.5% of product from full pipelines. This ensures maximum product recovery and reduces waste.

Here’s an in-depth look at what pigging is and how it works.

How Does a Pigging System Benefit Chocolate Manufacturers?

Pigging systems offer a multitude of advantages to companies that manufacture chocolate and confectionery products. The key benefits of pigging include:

Product Recovery: Pigging systems reclaim up to 99.5% of product from pipelines, increasing yields and cutting waste.

Cleaning Efficiency: Pigging systems streamline cleaning and changeover processes by effectively removing nearly all traces of residue from the pipeline, reducing downtime, enhancing capacity, and optimising resources.

Cross-Contamination: The technology minimises the risk of cross-contamination between different chocolate varieties or flavours, ensuring product integrity. Pigging also reduces the risk of bacterial contamination.

Cost Savings: Increased yields, cleaning efficiency, reduced downtime, and waste reduction translate to significant cost savings for chocolate manufacturers.

Sustainability Benefits: Pigging significantly cuts waste and optimises resources, thereby fostering more sustainable production processes that align with environmental and sustainability goals.

What Chocolate Products Can be Pigged?

Pigging systems are versatile and can be used with all types of chocolate and confectionery products, whether in liquid or wet form.

We have a saying at HPS: “If you can pump it, we can pig it!”

From white, milk, and dark chocolate to products such as chocolate coatings, dips, sauces, syrups, and fillings, pigging systems can effectively reclaim these chocolate products from process pipelines.

We can also pig an extensive range of confectionery products, such as gummies, jellies, chews, marshmallow, caramel, plus much more.

HPS custom pigging systems are designed to suit the exact product being pigged.

chocolate manufacturing plant

What components are included in a typical pigging system for chocolate processing?

While some may think of a pigging system solely in terms of the pig itself, the truth is, a pigging system comprises a range of essential components. Though the pig plays a crucial role, it’s just one part of the entire system. The key components of a pigging system include:

  • Pipeline Pig
  • AccuTect Pig Detector
  • Pigging Control Systems and Software and HMI screens
  • Receive and Launch Station
  • Pig Housing
  • Various Valves, Supports and Fittings
  • Pipework plus more

Are jacketed pigging lines used for chocolate and confectionery products?

Pigging systems are designed to seamlessly integrate with the existing infrastructure of the production facility.

In many chocolate manufacturing plants the transfer lines are often jacketed (heated to keep the chocolate fluid), therefore the pigging equipment is also jacketed and able to retain and sustain heat without degradation.

Additionally, specialised valves and pigging automation and control systems are typically required to optimise the process.

HPS has extensive expertise in steam and water jacketing, heat tracing, and hot rooms essential for effective chocolate and confectionery processing and production.

Can pigging systems be implemented into my existing chocolate production lines? If so, what considerations should be taken into account?

Yes, pigging systems can be retrofitted into an existing plant or form part of a new installation.

Here are a few key things to consider when you’re planning a pigging system for your existing or new chocolate production line.

Hygiene and Cleanability: Chocolate production requires strict hygiene standards. Therefore, it’s important to choose a pigging system that ensures efficient cleaning and sanitisation to prevent cross-contamination between different products or batches.

Product Compatibility: Understanding the unique characteristics of your chocolate or confectionery products is essential for selecting the appropriate pigging equipment. Providing detailed information on factors like typical operating temperatures, viscosity, pumping pressures, and other relevant details will enable our engineers to accurately specify a tailored solution for your needs.

Pigging System Automation: When planning a pigging system project for your chocolate production line, you’ll need to consider the level of automation and control required for the pigging system to integrate seamlessly with existing production processes.

You may have your own specialists in PLC, SCADA, or HMI systems who can handle programming and control setup for you. Alternatively, your chosen pigging provider can assist you with this aspect.

Cost and ROI: You’ll need to evaluate the costs associated with installing and operating the pigging system against the expected return on investment (ROI) in terms of increased yields, reduced waste, improved quality, and increased capacity.

HPS hygienic and sanitary pigging system

How does pigging contribute to preventing cross-contamination between different product batches in chocolate and confectionery production?

Pigging systems use a specialist projectile called a ‘pig’ which pushes out the residual product from the previous batch. HPS pigs reclaim up to 99.5% of product from full pipelines. This ensures that there is minimal leftover product in the pipeline, decreasing the risks of cross-contamination.

In addition, pigging systems can eliminate the requirement to use products such as butter oil for cleaning, while significantly speeding up the oil flush.

Coupled with the pigging process, this ensures the thorough removal of any remaining product residues and effectively sanitises the pipeline.

Furthermore, in confectionery applications, Clean-in-Place (CIP) methods may complement pigging to accelerate and enhance the cleaning process, further reducing cross-contamination risks. However, it’s important to note that CIP is not commonly utilised in chocolate applications, particularly those with a high cocoa content, as chocolate does not mix with water.

Our chocolate product cannot be left stationary within a pipeline as it may deteriorate, freeze, or solidify. How can pigging help with this?

In chocolate production, HPS pigging systems are often water-jacketed, which keeps the chocolate at the optimal temperature without risking degradation.

Rather than leaving the product in the pipelines, the HPS pig efficiently reclaims the product, forcing it to its intended destination or even back to source.

This not only enhances lot control but also minimises the risk of chocolate products settling or freezing in the line, ultimately reducing waste and improving product quality.

I have a project involving the implementation of a pigging system for chocolate-related applications. Could you provide me with a quotation for this?

Of course. For us to provide an accurate quotation, we’ll just need some specific details about your requirements.

Get a Pigging System Quotation

Once we have all the relevant information, one of our experts will promptly reach out to you. They will discuss the details further and offer you a comprehensive quote customised to your specific requirements.

If you prefer, you can also contact us via email or phone, and our dedicated team will be more than happy to assist you with any questions or inquiries you may have.

chocolate and confectionery pigging FAQS


Any more questions about chocolate pigging?

If you have any further inquiries regarding the implementation of a pigging system for chocolate production, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Alternatively, if you process liquid or wet products and want to optimise your liquid processing operations, feel free to contact HPS.

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