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Aseptic Blow Fill System
Time: 2015-06-03
Aseptic Blow Fill (ABF) is a breakthrough technology developed by GEA Procomac, a leading manufacturer of aseptic and traditional filling lines, which offers significant savings in terms of utilities and PET usage. ABF is validated for low acid production.
ABF system sterilizes the preforms by means of Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP), using fewer chemicals than the ones usually required to sterilize pre-blown bottles. Water consumption is also reduced since no water rinsing is required. The system uses a flow of VHP at a controlled temperature, concentration, contact time and flow rate, in order to achieve an effective Log 6 sterilization of the preforms.
Preforms are far easier to sterilize than a bottle: they are just a cylinder of thick PET and very heat resistant. It is possible to blow very light bottles into any kind of shape with no fear of shrinkage during the sterilization treatment, as no additional sterilization treatment is needed once the bottles are blown. GEA Procomac ABF pushes the lightweighting of PET bottles to extreme limits, such as 12 grams for a 500ml bottle for aseptic applications.
The stretch blowing machine is the first truly aseptic blow moulding system, able to pass even the strictest microbiological protocols. It is an integral part of the ABF. It is all included in the microbiological isolator, and is automatically sterilized by means of VHP in all the parts which enter into contact with the preforms in order to maintain sterility. This even includes the stretching rod, which is moved thanks to a magnetic joint.
Blower sterility is an absolute necessity, especially if milk based LA (Low Acid) product has to be produced. For example, POKKA Corporation Singapore has installed and validated an ABF Low Acid system to produce extremely sensitive products such as Milk Tea and Milk Coffee in its new plant in Malaysia. The system has faced and successfully passed rigorous decontamination tests on all microbiological isolator surfaces, such as blower, filler and capper, and on preform and cap (internal and external), reaching up to 6 Log reduction on target microorganism. Before it entered commercial production it even successfully passed a broth filling test (a specific and very sensitive LA product).
GEA Procomac ABF is a low acid validated system that can run up to 48,000bph. GEA Group has always been an undisputed leader in the dairy industry: today, thanks to its new range of filling machines designed specifically for the dairy industry, GEA Procomac can offer a complete technical solution from raw material to packaged container.
GEA Procomac is able to satisfy customer demands with customized machine solutions for: Pasteurized dairy products; ESL (Extended Shelf Life) dairy products; and UHT (Ultra High Temperature) dairy products. The company has extensive experience in pasteurized milk filling and has always paid great attention to hygiene – something which is evidenced, for example, in its new Fillstar DX solution. The Fillstar DX has an external static product tank placed above the valves in order to infeed the product by gravity or, if needed, overpressure; there are no movable parts in contact with the product except for a sanitary membrane filling valve.
The GEA Procomac Fillstar Dx has a no-contact filling valve design, with dual speed filling in order to avoid foam forming. It has a completely cleanable and scrap-free design thanks to a collecting duct under the nozzles. The filling carousel is enclosed within a clean box pressurized by HEPA filtered air. The GEA Procomac Fillstar DX is also equipped with a special universal neck handling system (NeckFlex) suitable for handling both PET and HDPE bottles.
GEA Procomac Whitebloc is a dry technology solution designed to deal with ESL dairy products, which works by sterilizing bottles and caps with hydrogen peroxide. As this is a dry technology it requires absolutely no water consumption. It is also very simple and compact: inside two carousels the bottle sterilization and H2O2 activation with hot air is carried out and the bottles are then filled in the Fillstar DX. GEA Procomac Whitebloc is enclosed in the clean box and pressurized with double HEPA filtered air. This solution is able to handle PET and HDPE bottles thanks to the NeckFlex technology. It is completed by Sterilcap VHP L or Sterifoil VHP L with hydrogen peroxide sterilization for closures and aluminum foil. It combines maximum efficiency in decontamination with an easy mechanical construction. This new range of closure sterilization systems allows for a flexible application, whatever the shape of the bottle, and can be combined with PET or HDPE bottles.
The White & Safe bottle, designed specifically for ESL and UHT milk applications and featuring a range of light barrier additive concentrations, completes GEA Procomac’s dairy industry offering. Barrier PET provides a ‘total light barrier’ (over 99.5 per cent of the visible light spectrum), with a guaranteed over nine months of shelf life for UHT milk. Furthermore, it offers the potential for light-weighting in exactly the same way as ordinary PET, and a significant reduction of material costs.

Source: www.procomac.it