Invented in the early 1920s by Hans Riegel, a confectioner from Bonn, Germany, who started the Haribo candy company, Golden Bears (known the world over as “gummy bears”) have not only become one of the world’s most commonly copied snack treats, the “gummy” movement has evolved into other categories, such as nutraceuticals and cannabis/THC and CBD-infused products. And the movement is real.
To improve the efficiency of your gummy bottling process, Ohlson recommends you take a look at five key areas and consider these optimization techniques (which you can see in our video below):
1. Effective declumping and avoidance of reclumping
If the consistency and stickiness of your gummy product has you all clumped up, take a tip from the raisin market and introduce a declumping screen and conveyorized product feeding system. Starting right from the hopper, a conveyorized product feeding system’s constant movement and vibration naturally creates separation. The added benefit of a conveyorized gummy product feeding system is it also creates an opportunity for sorting and product inspection.
2. Reduce contact surface area of contact surfaces
To counter the sticky nature of your gummy products, use dimpled surfaces. This means everywhere, of course, from the supply hopper and bucket elevator all the way through your weighers and feed pans.
3. Keep product loose while weighing, too
Ensuring accurate weight is another challenge when it comes to sticky products like gummies. Again, you can take a tip from other markets and use a multi-head weigher with a spinning cone at the top of the infeed to help move product toward the fill and weigh buckets evenly. Ohlson also modifies our scales so the vibratory feed pans are tilted downward, giving every gummy some additional help from gravity.
4. Use a multi-bottle filling approach
The final challenge with gummy vitamin systems is the bottle-filling process. While gummies are packaged in various ways, vitamin bottle style packaging is one of the more challenging. The design of vitamin bottles generally involves a fairly narrow opening, which doesn’t allow for all of the product to be dropped into the bottle at once without jamming (and ultimately, spilling). To accurately fill a bottle, the filling must be metered and slower.
This is where Ohlson’s multi-bottle filling system using a linear slide saves the day. As the scale drops the weighments in sequence into holding buckets, the conveyor moves the bottles into place underneath. Once the bottles are in place and the buckets are filled, let the vibratory feed pans meter out the product into the bottles.
5. Think end to end
A system for packaging gummies must consider the product make-up, product flow characteristics, and output requirements at large. This includes things like whether or not the gummies are oiled, sugared, or have other unique flow characteristics, or whether they are sanded or unsanded gummies. Take all of these things into account, and make any specific adjustments to your multi-head weighers, fillers, and other machinery.
The first and foremost concern is, of course, the fact that gummies are sticky. When dealing with sticky products, declumping as well as mitigating the potential for reclumping becomes the central issue. Using conveyors to keep product moving around and employing dimpled surfaces are your first key steps. Keep the product loose through weighing and use a multi-bottle filling approach, and you’ll be sure to have an optimized gummy packaging system.