14 SEP 2011
GEA Procomac showed its new Aseptic Blow Fill (ABF)
technology off to the world at the recent Interpack exhibition
in Düsseldorf. As a new concept that has the potential to significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for aseptic bottle-filling technology, it went down quite a storm.
The show itself has been hailed as one of the most successful in its 53-year history with over 160,000 visitors and 2,700 exhibitors. The GEA Procomac stand
was kept busy from start to finish with a steady stream of visitors interested in what this revolution in machine design could do.
The ABF is the world’s first rotary aseptic blow moulding machine
with an integrated aseptic filler and capper
. Its principle is to sterilise the preform, not the formed bottle
, with hydrogen peroxide at the exit from the oven, then blow the preforms with sterile air in a sterile environment and maintain this sterility throughout the filling and capping process. This maintains the sterility of the whole process, minimises the use of chemicals, requires no bottle rinsing, enables a simpler and smaller layout and reduces energy consumption.
A key design feature is the blowing of the preforms ‘upside down’. This enables all non-cleanable components
to be located outside the sterile zone
: electrical components are located above the sterile zone; mechanical components and all components that require lubrication are located below the sterile zone. All surfaces in the sterile zone are accessible and are very easy to clean.
The whole process is designed for maximum efficiency and economy. For example, sterilising the preform rather than the bottle reduces the quantity of sterilising agent used as the preform is smaller and an easier shape to sterilise than the bottle itself. As the preform is made of thicker material it’s possible to increase the temperature of the treatment without risk of shrinkage that would affect the shape of the bottle. This allows the weight of the bottle to be kept to an absolute minimum. The system uses almost no chemicals and energy usage is kept to a minimum by the elimination of air conveyors, sterilisation and rinsing turrets, water UHT sterilisation, and steam. The whole system is more compact than traditional technology and requires fewer operators.
“We were delighted with the response from visitors at Interpack
,” said Silvia Armanetti, Marketing Manager for GEA Procomac.
GEA Procomac received much interest in ABF
from a wide range of manufacturers throughout the food and beverage industry including those producing products with different shelf lives and using both ambient and cold-fill operations, all of which can be accommodated on the same machine.