Installed at the company’s Kristiansand facility, in Norway, in 2017, the Wheel now produces Crème Caramel, ice cream with caramel sauce, large caramel chunks dipped in milk chocolate and it will now launch two other products; one with peanuts and caramel sauce, and one with cookie dough and chocolate sauce.
“We have always wanted to include large chunks in our ice cream sticks, but there have been limitations of what we can do,” said Paal Hennig-Olsen, CEO, Hennig-Olsen.
“When we heard about the extrusion wheel from Tetra Pak, we decided to invest in it. The technology is smart and simple, and being able to include large inclusions is fantastic.”
The company has now ordered another wheel for smaller products, so that both 110ml and 90ml ice cream sticks can be produced.
DairyReporter reported on Tetra Pak’s Extrusion Wheel last year saying it could produce stick ice cream products with large-sized inclusions, such as whole nuts, real fruit segments, or cookie dough chunks.
The machine can be added to existing lines, and uses a vertical rotating design that moves at a synchronized speed, to produce up to 12,000 products per hour.
It claims to reverse the traditional method of stick ice cream production because rather than inserting the stick into the ice cream at the end of production, it is there from the start, so the ice cream with large inclusions is then filled around it.
Hennig-Olsen employs three staff in its product development department to create recipes and flavors. The marketing department is also involved in developing new products.
Since its launch, Crème Caramel has become the company’s bestseller and next year it plans to triple production on the wheel.
The company produces 30 million litres of ice cream a year at its Kristiansand site and launches up to 15 products a year with novelty products bringing in about 10% of its turnover of NOK100 million.
“The ice cream market is driven by innovation. (With the Wheel) it’s easy to create new shapes and to test new ingredients. We can have ice cream with different pieces of caramel, strawberry, nuts and whatever we can come up with, and combine it with different toppings such as chocolate or fruit,” added Hennig-Olsen.
The Tetra Pak Extrusion Wheel took four years to develop and produces extruded products such as sticks, sandwiches and slices with large inclusions up to 25mm in diameter.
Instead of pouring ice cream into a form and inserting a stick into the ice cream, the wheel starts off with placing the stick in an exact position in a cavity.
A nozzle leads the ice cream into the cavity where the ice cream starts to flow around the stick with slight over pressure to give the ice cream space to expand in a controlled way.
The ice cream fills each cavity and carries the evenly distributed inclusions. This method ensures the sticks don’t collide with large inclusions that could shatter the sticks or knock them out of place.
The patented wheel design aligns with trays to ensure accurate placement and minimize waste to less than 2%.
“The wheel fits perfectly with our existing line, it takes up little space and is easy to use,” added Hennig-Olsen.
“It’s easy to dose the amount of pieces, and there is much less waste compared to the old machine.”
In addition, no nitrogen cooling is required. “We have tried nitrogen-based equipment before,” said Hennig-Olsen. “That method is much more complicated. It’s efficient but very costly to run, so we have replaced it with the wheel.”