Aseptic-filling technology – an update for the Anuga Foodtec

Absolute sterility, even under the most difficult of ambient conditions: a task that we in Krones Filling Technology have been reliably mastering for years. And to make sure things stay that way, we are working ceaselessly on innovations in the field of aseptic filling.

At the Anuga Foodtec in Cologne next week, Krones will be spotlighting aseptics – and thus, of course, be showcasing the rigorous improvements that are designed to bring aseptics fully into line with the latest state of the art. We shall in Cologne be taking an opportunity to spotlight our innovations for a widely diversified international public.

Mutual feedback with experts from the sector always helps us to work purposefully on optimising our products – a dialogue with our clients is particularly fruitful in terms of interesting input. And our clients are always the prioritised drivers when it comes to developing our systems. This is because we don’t deliver any off-the-peg machines, but customise every system to suit the wishes of the particular client involved. One of the principal perceived priorities expressed is maximised flexibility. This is why our development work, too, is focusing on the topic of automated change-overs.

In order to kick-start a dialogue beforehand on the relevant wishes and expectations, I should like here to introduce four of our innovations. At the Anuga Foodtec, visitors can then learn more on Krones’ stand at the fair (Hall 8.1 A020, B039) – about aseptics, about filling technology in general, but also, of course, about other solutions from the House of Krones.

1. Discharge conveyor and closer handling parts automatically height-adjustable

Hitherto, a vertical-transfer starwheel compensated for the height differentials between the neck ring in the machine and the conveyor. This starwheel, however, had to be replaced when changing over to a different container height, which in the case of aseptics entailed an elaborate and time-consuming cleaning and sterilisation process. Now, thanks to an automatic height adjustment feature at the conveyor and closer handling parts, different container heights can be run without the need for change-over routines. The containers are lowered with the conveyor, rather like a cable-car descending to the floor of the valley. Manual intervention in the sterile area is not necessary – and that pays off: on average, it enables a line to fill more than 10 million extra bottles a year. Moreover, the system is designed to be able to handle new bottles subsequently as well.

2. New air handling unit

The air-conditioner for the machine: a filter system dries the air, and treats it for improved quality. What used to be an outsourced component is now being manufactured in-house – and matches the system optimally the client’s own products. What’s special about it is this: instead of several filtering devices distributed throughout the system Krones now installs one central unit. And this creates several advantages:

  • The total expenditure on filters can be reduced by up to 45 per cent and the number of interfaces minimised.
  • Thanks to an innovative drawer system, replacement of the individual filters is simplified.
  • Gaseous hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), moreover, ensures sterile filter units.

3. New sterile water UHT system

As much as necessary, as little as possible – what’s a declared goal for media treatment applies equally to the machine’s footprint. And it’s precisely this principle that Krones has embraced with its new sterile water UHT system: 60 per cent less volume, 45 per cent less space, and 40 per cent less capital investment.

4. Improved CIP module

Just-in-time provision of all media is one of the premises underpinning the completely revamped cleaning unit. This enables both the batch tank and CIP return rack to be dispensed with. What’s more, the footprint is downsized by 85 per cent and in addition the new module also saves cleaning time: the distance between the last and first sales-quality bottle after the CIP routine is reduced by up to 40 per cent, so that on average 15 million extra bottles a year can be produced.

We’re looking forward to meeting some of our readers soon in Cologne, where we shall be able to explore one topic or another in more depth. You still have some questions, but you won’t be able to visit the Anuga Foodtec? Then feel free to use the comments function under the article!