This week, kids will run from house to house collecting as much candy as their bags will hold. They will be completely unaware that without bearings, their beloved chocolate bars would never exist.
Bearings plays a critical role in the production process of chocolate, ensuring the little ghouls and goblins enjoy the same quality taste each time they trick-or-treat. There are three important areas in the chocolate production process where bearings are used:
- Conching machines
The conching machine is one of the most important in the entire process as it determines the final flavor consumers expect when they unwrap their favorite sweet treat. These machines can run for up to 60 hours mixing and kneading the chocolate mixture for flavor and consistency at average temperatures of 110 degrees. With this type of demand on the production equipment, bearing reliability and durability are imperative to maintaining a consistent temperature and texture.
Ritbearing was approached by a chocolate manufacturer needing a stainless steel bearing that would be able to withstand frequent washings, sanitation, extreme temperatures and meet FDA regulations.
The engineers were able to work closely with the chocolate manufacturer on the following areas to determine:
- Correct bearing selection to maximize product life
- Speed and load ratings
- Life calculations
- Shaft and housing fits
- Material selection
- FDA-approved grease selection
Through its network of manufacturers, Ritbearing was able to offer the custom engineered bearing with a shorter lead time, lower minimum order quantity and was able to inventory the product according to the scheduled release.
During this Halloween week, Americans will consume over 90 million pounds of chocolate, thanks, in part, to the bearing industry. Ironically, soon after the jack-o-lanterns burn out, the bearings used in dental equipment will be given their time to shine as dentists across the country start to correct the effects of this sweet confectionery holiday.