Hello we wanted to add a roll refiner to our process, any one have some suggestions and experience with this. Thanks
@AmbrosiaPastry - How are things progressing? Will you be in Seattle for the NW Chocolate Festival? We can meet there if you are.
@AmbrosiaPastry - I like roll refiners a lot! They create a lot of options for approaching production and can solve a lot of problems.
There are two basic types, high-speed and low-speed. High-speed mills require water cooling and low-speed mills do not. The differences are throughput for a given width (high-speed mills have much higher throughput).
High-speed mills will always have steel rollers. You can get low-speed mills with either granite or steel rollers. Granite will be better for nuts (e.g., gianduia), steel for chocolate, but if you want to do both then granite is the better option.
There are also the number of rollers to consider, 2, 3, and 5. For chocolate I would not recommend a 2-roll refiner. There aren't a lot of options for 5-roll (four refining surfaces) refiners for small chocolate makers - 3-roll (two refining surfaces) give you more choices.
There are a lot of ways you can use roll mills. You can use them as pre-refiners, though a stainless-steel burr mill is probably faster. You can pre-grind the liquor and then mix in the sugar for the recipe and run it through the roll mill to get the particle size down before putting it into a melangeur. You will probably need several passes to get the sugar down to a reasonable size.
The most important thing is to have a constant flow into the refiner and not overfill it - you don't want chocolate with large particles still in it to overflow the sides ... that kind of defeats the purpose.
If you are interested in small (40cm wide) 3-roll mills, granite, or steel, I know where to find good ones reasonably priced. I can also help you source smaller 5-rolls, but they will come as a part of a system (pre-refiner and conche).