GEA launches new filling technology for ESL beverages

GEA has launched its new Whitebloc Filling System Aero that has been specially designed to be used for bottling Extended Shelf Life (ESL) beverages.

During the recent years, a key trend in the market for dairy products has resulted in the demand and consequent development of a wide range of high-quality dairy beverages with a prolonged shelf life compared to fresh products, with an increasing request in both developed and emerging markets.

Compact simplicity and efficiency

The GEA Whitebloc Aero’s design is optimised for the treatment time required in ESL applications; this allows bottle decontamination with dry H2O2 and subsequent activation with warm air to be performed on a single carousel which keeps the layout as compact as possible.

The decontamination, filling and capping processes are performed in a simple hygienic cabin with a top-down laminar flow of sterile air with a slight overpressure to maintain a clean and protected environment.

Speed and Flexibility

The ESL market frequently requires producers to run small batches and fill a variety of products on the same machine. GEA’s Whitebloc Aero offers the typical production rate of fresh and ESL applications, using both PET and HDPE containers with plastic caps or aluminium foil closures and using neck or base handling. The machine can be supplied in a standalone configuration or, for PET bottles, combined with a stretch blow molding machine.

The GEA Whitebloc Aero can reportedly achieve a wide range of decontamination targets depending on the required level of product sensitivity and shelf-life for both high and low-acid products. GEA says equipment cleaning is fast, cost-effective and flexible thanks to the possibility to choose between the integration of customers’ existing fluid cleaning system or a dedicated cleaning process skid unit embedded with the GEA Whitebloc Aero.

A built-in product recovery system eliminates product waste during the start-up cycle, at the end of production and during changeovers. Filling valves can be equipped with a load cell (weight filling) or flow meter (volumetric filling) to meet the various requirements of the liquid dairy product market.

Environmentally sustainable

No water is used in the process. Both bottles and closures are treated using the same chemical for maximum convenience and consistency.

The GEA Aerobloc Filling System Fresh

As part of its newly launched Aero platform, GEA has also developed a dedicated filling system designed specifically for fresh beverages: the Aerobloc Fresh. This is a hygienic filling platform for milk and liquid dairy products with a short shelf-life, without requiring any container decontamination. GEA says its versatile, modular design allows the option of adding a synchronised stretch blow moulding machine or an air rinser and/or a neck trimmer to meet the specific requirements of the product and container material.

For more information about GEA’s ESL filling lines, click here.

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