The filling of low acid products into PET, such as milk and milk-based drinks, when performed aseptically, traditionally requires a cleaning/sterilisation cycle every 72 hours. The aseptic filling systems from GEA Procomac however, using spray PAA sterilisation technology, can run continuously for up to five days. Although many manufacturers claim to be able to approach this running period with high acid drinks, such as fruit juices, none has achieved the same level of productivity with low acid products.
The company says that increasing the line availability in this way achieves ten additional production days per year, significantly reducing the cost per bottle and having a very positive effect on its environmental impact. The number of sanitation cycles is reduced by 40% thereby reducing the down time, the cost of maintenance and the chemicals used.
Following a trial conducted over a period of one year on an existing installation, the system has achieved validation for 48,000 bph while filling milk-based products. Currently, three filling lines manufacturing peanut milk and tea with milk are running under extended running time validation conditions on a 120-hour continuous basis.
GEA Procomac estimates that in 2011 close to 50% of the filling of milk-based products into PET bottles worldwide was performed on its machines.