GEA Procomac, a leader in aseptic filling technology with more than 170 aseptic filling lines installed around the world, created two novel lightweight PET bottle products thanks to its cutting-edge ABF system.
With a clear focus on minimising environmental impact and thanks to the revolutionary aseptic blow fill (ABF) technology that uniquely sterilises preforms before they are blown into their final shape, GEA Procomac has launched a very light PET bottle, Light & Safe, weighing just 12g.
Bottle weight reduction has a fundamental impact on the environment: less PET required to produce the bottle means less consumption of natural fossil resources and less PET to be recycled. These advantages have an effect also for the manufacturers, which can significantly reduce raw material, recycling and transportation costs as the overall load weight is reduced.
The 12g bottle is light but resistant: it has a full top load of greater than 450N, thereby allowing overlap of two pallets with up to eight levels. Moreover, it has a good palletising performance as it has more than 95% of area efficiency.
The relief graphics on the 12g bottle, inspired by the Study of Hands sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci, illustrate the main message for GEA Procomac customers: you are in safe hands. Aseptic filling in 12g bottles is the new way to protect and preserve customers' products.
The perfect match for the Light & Safe bottle is the GEA Procomac ABF system, a technology that sterilises the preform, which is made of a thicker material than the bottle itself, without any risk caused by high temperatures. The 12g bottle could not be sterilised with the traditional aseptic technology, since the high temperatures required during sterilisation could shrink and modify the shape of the bottle.
With ABF, the preform is sterilised via hydrogen peroxide at exit from the oven, before the stretch-blow-moulding step, which is performed in an aseptic blower within a sterile environment. Thanks to a patented magnetic joint, the stretching rod is moved inside a sterile, and sterilisable, housing.
The blowing process of the preforms is performed with sterile air, and the blow-moulding-machine sterilisation is performed by hydrogen peroxide vapour. To guarantee maximum hygiene, all non-cleanable components of the blower are located outside the sterile zone. The sterile bottles are then transferred to the aseptic filling carousel without leaving the sterile zone.
The ABF system focuses on environmental care thanks to its water, chemical and energy consumption being close to zero. GEA Procomac ABF is available for high and low-acid productions.
The company also launched another innovation in packaging: the White & Safe bottle, specifically designed for UHT milk. It is made of barriered PET and weighs only 21g for a capacity of 1L.
UHT milk in PET is a new concept - until recently, it was impossible to ensure the proper light barrier to the UHT milk, but now there are additives that can deliver one.
Barriered PET offers the potential to allow lightweighting in exactly the same way as ordinary PET and a significant reduction in material costs with the same recyclability potential as normal PET.
The level of light protection provided by the bottle can be simply customised by adjusting the dosage of concentrate (DCU by Novapet) in the preform to match the needs of each individual product, offering a level of control over operating costs that has not been possible to date.
There is no need for dedicated technology for the injection process. With little investment, the preforms can be produced by a high-speed standard monolayer injection machine at whatever DCU dosage is required without any risk of delamination.
The new GEA Procomac bottle for UHT milk is all white, recalling the pureness of milk; features a large base to guarantee stability; a height:diameter ratio chosen to attain a good compromise between visibility on the shelf and an empathic aspect; and an ergonomic and easy-to-handle look. The shape gives the bottle a good performance in terms of top load (up to 40kg) and vacuum resistance.