Is it better to purchase a chocolate making machine from India through Indiamart.com or through Alibaba?
Hmmm… When I started out I could not afford the “top brands” so eventually bought “Chinese”. That was six years ago and to date I have not had a single breakdown – I now have three pans. Most industrial equipment I have seen (not that I have seen a lot) are belt driven. Belts are really easy to maintain, tighten and if needed, replace. The final part of my decision was when I needed “pre-purchase support” from the local “big name” support people and also their Italian factory. I could not get a peep out of either of them. So I bought two Chinese pans for a lot less than the cost of one from the “big name” brand so I had a backup. That all said there ARE reasons that the Chinese units are cheaper. For example if you need to blow air onto the batch, don’t use the built-in air blower as the air comes right from the inside “workings” of the pan – so if there is any oil residue that can/will contaminate your batch. I work around this by using a fan bought locally and a heat gun also bought locally (and cheaply). I probably would not purchase anything complex (like and enrober) from China but a pan is a very simple device. I have purchased dehumidifying gear from China too – again, never had a breakdown. Just my two cent’s worth 🙂
@Choclater53 – aside from the cost issues (price and shipping), you also have to consider customer support. Inexpensive machines purchased through these sites will break. It’s only a matter of time before they do. If you are not handy with machines or don’t know people locally who are, then you are reliant on the manufacturer for support and spare parts. Fixing problems could take a long time.
Can you afford that? I like to say, “You don’t get what you don’t pay for.”
If you are not comfortable repairing the machines yourself, it is probably worth the extra cost to purchase from a supplier who can provide some support.
One more word of advice. You are better off with a machine that offers chain drive or direct drive. Avoid machines where the drive mechanism is a belt and there is a gearbox that needs lubricating/cooling oil. Rice grinders (which is what these machines are originally designed to do), are not meant to be run for 48-72 hours at a time. Belts will stretch and it will cause problems sooner rather than later.
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