Panning of a confectionery center with a hard sugar coating

A hard-panned candy has a smooth surface aspect which is enhanced by a shine. The external layer is made of crystallized sugar. According to the sugar layer thickness, the candy offers a lightly or hard crunchy bite. Many factors contribute to an appealing result.

Updated Aug 02, 2021 - 10 min Read


Core products

The cores are of multiple types: nuts (almonds), chocolate (eggs, lentils ..), dried fruits, chewy gum… Very small cores such as a sugar crystal, a licorice particle can be used.



The preparation requires a very short list of ingredients :

  • Sugar
  • Water

To which are added small quantities of :

  • Gum arabic, starch …
  • Colours and flavours

The final dry solid content range is 70 – 80 %.


How does it work?

It is a batch operation with repeated sequences of syup addition and drying. Different layers can be successiveley applied: initial gumming, engrossing with a concentrated syrup, smoothening with a diluted syrup, whitening with a titanium dioxide or starch suspension, colouring and flavouring. Drying uses necessarily a very dry air obtained by heating and/or dehumidification. The total process time ranges from 2 to 8 hours depending on the sugar layer thickness.
After coating, the product needs to be stored in a stove at regulated temperature and moisture during 12 – 24 hours to finalyze the drying.


Syrup application +1 – 3%



Dispersion by rotation and friction


Drying with warm and dry air



Repeat the sequence to achieve the desired thickness


Coating system

The operation occurs in a coating pan. The revolution of the pan causes a smooth tumbling effect. Mixing can be enhanced by baffles. Coating pans differ in shape (ball, cylinder) and size (600 mm to 3 m diameter), with respective small 50 – 250 kg to large 250 – 3000 kg capacities. The syrup application occurs by dribbling or spraying.  A fully automated operation requires ancillaries such as automatic loading, discharge, air blowing and exhaust, syrup preparation and dosing, cleaning in place.


Coating system

Hard-panning can be made in a small lab coating pan used to fine tune recipes. For a larger production, rows of coating pans are installed. Syrup application and drying can still be monitored manually. Automation brings consistency and productivity. Shapes may be spherical or cylindrical. Pans can grow in size to cope with the volume. Beyond a limit, large cylinders are used fully equipped with automated feed, syrup spraying, air drying, discharge devices. 

Illustration Coating pan IDA 200X courtesy of  Dumoulin SA, France


How do you measure your success?

Key quality features

The presence of a sole wrong item affects the whole lot

Surface aspect

Even and smooth aspect, showing no cracks, bumps or missing coating

Product integrity

In the early process stage, the core should not be broken, deformed, sheared


The product is void of stickiness (vitrous transition), spots (fat) …

Key quality parameters

The process parameters are multiple and interact

Core product

The surface texture (jelly vs. almond), solidity (chocolate vs. nut) imposes different operation conditions

Ingredient composition

Composition affects the preparation, coating and setting behaviour. In addition, it is submitted to the trend toward sugar and additive reduction

Design and operation

The motion applied to the product depends on the pan design (shape and accessories and operation (speed, temperature, dosage)