Aseptic filling of low acid beverages
aseptic solutions is becoming the second largest beverage manufacturer in the United States. It has the ability to fill milk low acid products on a high-speed rotary filling machine
because it is sure that the U.S. market will soon have greater demand for sterile filled rigid plastic containers, aseptic solutions, located in corona, California, USA, has built a commissioned production and packaging plant to meet this expected demand. But why is it commissioned rather than private brand production
"because we learned from many well-known brand owners that they hope to find a solution that can replace the sterile brick packaging of low acid products." Quality Director J. Scott murin said. However, before these brand owners launch this kind of low acid beverage sterilized by peracetic acid and aseptically filled into hard plastic containers to the market, they need to get the approval letter from the FDA, and these brand owners do not want to get into this trouble process
aseptic solutions plans to cooperate with customers from formula to laboratory level test, to small-scale market test, and finally to large-scale commercial production. To achieve these goals, it installed a completely sterile unibloc 2 production line provided by procomac. From container sterilization, washing, filling, inductive aluminum foil sealing to finished products, they are all completed in a microbial isolation room, and the operation speed is about 450 bottles/minute. Any volume from 6 to 32 Ounces can be filled
"we heard some good comments about procomac system," when asked why procomac was selected as the key supplier of this production line, Murrin explained, "Although they are already well-known, when we are considering installing a new production line, they are also trying to push their low acid sterile filling equipment into the U.S. market. So they provide help in many technical fields, and they will continue to help us deal with FDA matters related to this production line."
"aseptic solutions uses pasteurization to sterilize products, as well as to sterilize beverage bottles and lids, so there is no need to worry about microbial contamination," Aust said. "Filling on this production line enables us to transport this product nationwide, and ensures that retailers have a 40 day shelf life to sell them." This product is mainly sold through health product stores and whole foods supermarket chains
bottles are provided by Graham Packaging. These bottles are co extruded and blow molded, and the ingredients are high-density polyethylene/intermediate layer/recycled high-density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer/pure high-density polyethylene. The customized bottleneck makes this kind of bottle very suitable for processing with procomac's bottle processing tool
an operator uses a forklift to send bottles to a hopper connected to the procomac positioner, and the production process begins. After the bottles are positioned, they are pushed by compressed air to the closed and pressurized workshop. The dispensing test oil valve should be interrupted, and the whole aseptic filling process is carried out here
in this closed workshop, there is an isolation room made of glass and stainless steel. In the isolation room are sterilization machine, cleaning device, filling machine and electromagnetic induction sealing machine. The only way to contact these devices during production is through the glove hole. The upper part of the isolation chamber is an air treatment system equipped with high efficiency particle air filter (HEPA), which can ensure that the isolation chamber is always positive pressure, thus forming a pollution-free operating environment
when the drink bottles driven by compressed air reach the isolation room, they are clamped by the bottleneck and suspended in a row in the air, driven by the peroxyacetic acid. When arriving at gripstar GX rotary sterilization area, the bottle is put down, and then a 135 hole rotary system will reverse the bottle and disinfect the inside of the bottle with peracetic acid. According to Murrin, some customized designs make this sterilization system particularly reliable
"when we run this production line for the first time, we need to make sure that the sterilizing liquid flows into each bottle," Murrin said. "So procomac has developed an intelligent sensor, which uses a pressure converter and will provide a binary feedback: on or off. If the nozzle does not inject sterilizing liquid into the bottle for some reason, the bottle will be marked with automatic rejection."
"but we hope to go further. We need to know not only whether the sterilizing liquid enters each bottle, but also its spraying mode and pressure. Therefore, the pressure converter designed by procomac company determines the spraying mode of each nozzle. If the spraying mode of a nozzle is inconsistent with the predetermined parameters, the system will shut down until the operator takes the correct measures."
when the bottles were about to be sent out of the sterilization area, they recovered, but these were all declined by he Guoliang wan to stand upright. A star wheel conveyor sends them to the next working area in the isolation room: a gripstar GX cleaner with 90 nozzles. After cleaning the outer wall of the bottle with sterile water, the cleaning machine will turn each bottle upside down, and then the cleaning nozzle enters the inside of the bottle, and thoroughly clean the inside of each bottle with heated sterile water. After cleaning, the bottles return to the upright state, and then they are sent to the next working area by another star conveyor: a fillstar filling machine with 70 nozzles
the filled bottles are sent to the penultimate working area in the isolation room by another star wheel conveyor: a 15 head euro/pk rotary sealing machine produced by arol company. As a long-term partner of procomac in sterile equipment, arol uses servo technology provided by elau company to produce this sealing machine. Each screw head is equipped with elau scl-055 servo motor and driver. Because the motor and driver are integrated into one unit, scl-055 overcomes the limitation of space and eliminates the complex work of connecting the fixed driver with the motor installed on the fast rotating platform. Servo technology also minimizes the number of mechanical components and bottle guides, which reduces opportunities for microbial production and pollution. This design is very popular in any production line, but it is particularly important in a sterile production line
the servo motor/driver is part of the elau pacdrive control system, which manages the logic and motion of the machine. Massimo annaratone of arol company appreciates this application instead of spindle, gear and other mechanical parts. He calls it "mechatronic" technology
"you can not only control the torque of the screw cap more effectively, but also constantly tell you the working data of each screw cap head." Annaratone said. In addition, it makes the process of eliminating faults easier, he added
the cover installed by arol machine has aluminum wire, which can be sealed by electromagnetic induction by a lepel device before the bottle leaves the isolation chamber. The cover has also been specially treated to meet the strict requirements of sterile packaging. Before these lids leave the supplier's factory, they are packed into bags and sent to a third-party company for irradiation, so as to minimize the amount of microorganisms carried
"when these bags came to us," Murrin said, "The covers inside the bags are sterile, but the outside bags are not like this. So we hang these bags in groups of 8 in a disinfection room next to the isolation room, and disinfect the outside of these bags with hydrogen peroxide. This process takes about 20 minutes. Then, through the glove hole, an operator will tear open these bags one by one, and pour these covers into a hopper, which will The cover is sent into the isolation chamber and finally reaches a screw head of the sealing machine. The equipment volume is reduced by about 2/3. "
among the suppliers of bottle caps, aseptic solutions relies on Portola. "They helped us achieve the lifting and peeling function we wanted," Murrin said. "They also helped us a lot in the design of our large bag handling for the lid."
August of samba company has specified a Portola 38mm dbj-l cover compressed by HDPE. There is a lifting peeling aluminum film in the lid, which can seal the bottle mouth with electromagnetic induction before the bottle leaves the isolation chamber. According to Aust, Portola is now improving the cover. There will be a sealing ring on the improved cover to ensure the tightness of resealing
once the beverage bottles leave the pressurized workshop equipped with isolation room and sterile filling system, they will pass through a procomac checkstar detection system. "It uses gamma ray and video detection methods to detect the liquid level and whether there is electromagnetic induction aluminum foil seal." Murrin said. Unqualified bottles will be rejected
downstream of the X-ray detection equipment is the Videojet inkjet, which will mark a production code on the bottom of each bottle. This is used within the company, not for customers. "It contains information about which nozzle filled the bottle, and what cleaning nozzle, sterilization nozzle and capping head were used. If there is a problem with any bottle of beverage, we can trace it and determine the cause." Murrin said
next is a high-speed whole-body contraction labeling machine. Of course, there is also a large dynac7100 two-way buffer table provided by hartness international in front of this marking machine. If the downstream equipment fails, the buffer table can keep the filling machine working without blocking
the labeling machine is also equipped with an air knife that can automatically open under the magnetic guidance provided by procomac to eliminate atomization, which can ensure a smooth labeling process. After the bottles pass through the air knife, they will immediately enter the sleevematic double head shrink sleeve labeling machine provided by Krones. The maximum production speed of this marking machine is 600 bottles/minute, so it can easily be qualified for the production speed of 450 bottles/minute in aseptic solutions. In addition, this marking machine is also equipped with a Videojet inkjet machine, which can mark the production date and expiration date on the label
"just like the upstream inkjet printer that prints the production code on the bottom of the bottle, the Videojet inkjet printer is also very stable and reliable." Harris said