The most popular perfectionism of aseptic bottling

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Perfectionism of aseptic bottling

in the traditional sense, the packaging produced by aseptic bottling can be stored, transported and distributed at room temperature, and the products do not need to be refrigerated, thus saving costs, which often helps to encourage manufacturers to take the lead in purchasing aseptic equipment at a large cost

but at Tropicana Europe's new plant in Zeebrugge, Belgium, they use a new procomac equipment to aseptically fill 330ml and 250ml plastic bottles, but they are always refrigerated before they are sold. Why? The main reason is that Tropicana, a branch of Pepsi Cola, is crazy about quality

"theoretically, refrigeration after aseptic filling is icing on the cake," said Steve Andrews, European Packaging Manager of standard Tropicana. Like many single bottles of beverages with long shelf life and sold in freezers, Tropicana can completely adopt relatively simple and cost-effective ultra clean technology after aseptic filling. "But we are committed to ensuring that consumers get the best possible products," Andrews said. "The use of aseptic filling system with refrigeration helps us do this. It improves the quality of products to a completely different level."

although it is not technically necessary to do so, the company decided to refrigerate containers to meet consumers' expectations. Andrew said: "consumers expect to see fruit juice stored in refrigerators, which give people a fresh feeling." These bottled drinks are sold in supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations in many parts of Europe. The shelf life of the cold chain is 62 days

how much does it cost to persist in perfect quality? Taking into account the cost of aseptic disinfection scheme and disinfection time, Andrews estimated that using ultra clean method would save 30% of the cost compared with aseptic filling. Using ultra clean technology instead of sterile technology, he said: "we can provide products that are completely satisfactory to consumers. However, we decided to adopt a value-added process that cannot be operated without the consent of relevant leaders."

owens Illinois supplies injection/stretch blow molding bottles and injection molded polypropylene bottle caps. 25 promote the construction of intelligent manufacturing service platform. The 0ml plastic bottle has a single-layer structure and weighs 21g. The 330ml bottle weighs 23.6g and is blown from a three-layer co injection molding bottle blank. The middle layer can be recycled material or barrier material. Andrew said that pet is used in all 330ml bottles at present, and barrier and recycled ingredients may be included in the future

sterile environment

after the bottle is removed from the Krones machine, it enters the CC unibloc 2 sterile line of procomac for disinfection, cleaning, filling and capping. About 400 bottles per minute, usually running five days a week, 24 hours a day

this set of unibloc equipment is installed in a microbial "isolation chamber" made of soft and transparent PVC to form a channel to isolate the internal and external environment. The internal environment is pressurized with sterile air purified by 99.99% HEPA filter

the disinfection, cleaning, filling and capping equipment are all placed in this internal isolation room. In addition, the conveying star gear, bottle feeding/capping machine and capping bottle output machine are also included. The container and cover are sprayed and disinfected by oxonia, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and peristaltic acid, and the foam sprayed oxonia is used to disinfect the machine

in order not to damage the sterile environment and carry out equipment maintenance and production monitoring, the microbial isolation room is equipped with a half set of sanitary clothes, gloves, sterilized transfer boxes and waste flap doors

if the PET bottle or bottle cap is damaged in the sterile "room", the skilled operator will go in through a sterile air curtain (or box), wear a half set of sanitary clothes and gloves, and then take out the waste and put it into the waste bag or flap door. If something is to be put into the machine, for example, it may be for repair purposes, the maintenance worker will enter again through the disinfection air curtain, and then spray the tools with oxonia disinfectant. After the tools are placed in the disinfection area for a while, they will enter again to complete the work

bottle feeding

the first step of the aseptic process is that the bottle is transferred to the mechanical claw by gas, and the 38mm bottleneck is firmly grasped and sent to the aseptic equipment. The bottle enters the sterile area through a star wheel, and the disinfection positive pressure in the sterile area prevents the entry of non sterile air at the entrance. When the bottle passes through procomac's rotary electronic sterilizer with 90 spray heads, it is sterilized internally and externally by oxonia liquid. An electronic control sensor monitors the spray cleaning of each of the 90 nozzles, and another sensor checks whether the nozzle has thoroughly cleaned the bottle

after spray disinfection, the grasped bottle enters a 90 head rotating electronic sprinkler through the driving star wheel. The sterilized water is sent out through multiple branch pipes and blocked by steam to prevent possible pollution caused by external air infiltration

after the bottle comes out of the cleaning device, the bottleneck is still firmly transferred to the fillstar FX filling machine with 70 filling valves. Since the valves do not touch the bottle body during filling, there is no risk of spreading pollution. When filling orange juice, the juice is protected by overpressure nitrogen and air to avoid oxidation in the buffer tank of the filling machine. The buffer tank is equipped with a product mixer

"each nozzle is equipped with a flowmeter to monitor the liquid volume," Andrews said, "The flowmeter can also control the flow rate to prevent some products from foaming. We need to be able to speed up the filling at a certain rate so that we can not cause too much foam. "Andrews pointed out that the juice with slurry does not change the aseptic process requirements, but affects the filling quality.


the filled bottle is transferred to another transfer star wheel and enters the capping machine of arol brand 20 capping head. The independent pressurization module provides appropriate pressure for the bottle cap feeding hopper and capping machine conveyor belt. The cap is sent to the capping machine and then spun on the bottle. The inside and outside of the cap are also treated with oxonia solution and washed with sterile water.

filling and sealing The bottle behind the mouth passes through a transition channel, is released from the sterile isolation room, and is output to the external area. The environment of the internal and external areas are not in contact with each other. Once again, when the bottom of the bottle passes through the wall passage and then enters the bottle stacking area, testing table, labeling machine, shrink packaging or pallet packaging, supporting and packaging, the overpressure of the sterile air in the sterile area will prevent the entry of non sterile air

downstream efficiency

from the sterile filling line, the bottles after capping are sent along the base. Just outside the sterile area, a domino printer sprays the production date on the root of the bottle, and then the bottle enters a larger isolation room along the wall. One HEUFT detector uses two cameras to detect the sealing end straightness and filling liquid level. Next, the bottles pass through the hartness dynac400 screw bottle stacking machine, which can hold any bottle for three minutes

after coming out of the bottle stacking machine, the bottle passes through an air knife system, and air is blown onto the bottle to remove any residual moisture. Bottle drying ensures the fastness of the label. After being labeled by Krones contiroll rotary labeling machine, the date is printed on the bottle cap by domino coding machine, and then the label is checked again with HEUFT detector

the bottle continues to travel downstream to Krones tfs45 tray/film sealing/shrink wrapping machine and another T30 paper tray box machine. Tfs45 can pack different quantities of bottles as a whole. First, wrap the film on these bottles, and then thermoplastic and shrink them into multi bottle packages for retailers to sell. The machine can also support the cardboard around the multi bottle packaging, and then send it to the next process for pallet packaging

"wrapping different sizes of packages with shrink film has opened up some sales opportunities for us. We can sell our products to small shops in residential areas who want to buy 8-bottle packages." Andrew said, "that's a good thing, but we can't produce those packages at the original speed of the yard stamping machine, so we have to add another pallet packer. Two devices give us a lot of flexibility, and sometimes we use two devices at the same time."

zeebrugge's entire packaging line is so heavily dependent on Krones equipment that it is carefully arranged. Andrews has always regarded Krones as his favorite. He said: "Krones can solve any problem in our packaging process. In addition to the service, they pay attention to our opinions, and usually meet them with a targeted goal. The adhesion ability of the smooth grease in the water washing test comes from the function of identifying the products they use."

after the Krones equipment is offline, the pallets or shrink packed product packages are transported to another room for support pack. Then the packed pallets are stored in the refrigerated warehouse and finally sent to the distribution centers by refrigerated trucks

more opportunities

andrews said when asked about the return on investment of the machine: "it is too early to calculate the return, partly because we have not reached the scheduled efficiency of the machine, and we plan to do so in the future." What really excites Andrews in the future is that this procomac packaging line provides the company with the opportunity to promote a variety of beverages with different bottle types and capacities

"the flexibility of procomac equipment is enough for us to meet the marketing needs of producing 1.5L and 200 ml to 1L."

filling more bottles will also help the company improve equipment efficiency. Andrews admitted: "at present, the production line has a surplus capacity, but in the future, it will not only produce two bottle types, but also not only fill orange juice, but also produce other products and bottle types."

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