Inequality for all: the Krones Experts’ Lounge
There’s a tough day at the fair behind us. And even though it was strenuous and cost a lot of energy – at least our feet aren’t hurting. That’s because today did not involve very much legwork in order nonetheless to hear an abundance of information on the subject of product quality. A brief walk to the Krones Experts’ Lounge sufficed in order to hear four fascinating presentations from three different Krones experts. And despite differing specialisms, all three agreed on one thing: effective processing with an optimum final result is possible only if all steps in the process concerned have been properly matched to the specific product in question: Inequality for all. In their presentations, the experts explained just what this means specifically.
At the early hour of 10 o’clock, Torsten Runge kicked off the series of presentations by spotlighting the DosaFlex system. He began by outlining the position and role of this aseptic container station in the filling process, and then moved on to explain the beneficial effects of an accurate, product-friendly system. Specifically, he dealt with potential savings in terms of material and thus capital. Using the exhibit and numerous graphics, he demonstrated how the DosaFlex system can score highly in these areas – thanks to accurate, product-friendly dosing – and particularly with its low rate of damage to the fruit chunks. He provided vivid explanations of what challenges are entailed by filling sensitive beverages with solid constituents, and how these are met and mastered in the DosaFlex system. One major focus here was on the aseptic connecting parts between tank, DosaFlex and filler, which have been developed in conjunction with the valve manufacturer GEMÜ. What’s more, it was in many cases possible to utilise insights and findings from existing and established Krones lines. The DosaFlex system may be something new, but it has already demonstrated its operational capabilities: test runs in conjunction with SIG and Agrana have proved extremely encouraging. In conclusion, Torsten Runge provided an overview of the system’s dimensions and technical data, warned against possible maloperation risks, and summarised the advantages and disadvantages involved.
Shortly afterwards, Dr Roland Feilner took over: in his presentation on pressure deaeration of sensitive juices, he dealt with the characteristics and advantages of Krones’ VarioSpin system. He began by making it clear that deaeration is needed in order to prevent oxidation, upfloating of solid fruit constituents and problems during the filling process, and also to extend the shelf-life of the products concerned. He then proceeded to outline the downside of deaeration: during the deaeration process, aromas will usually be lost, i.e. the quality of the product is threatened with deterioration. But once the juice has been bottled, the loss of aromatics is significantly higher in the case of non-deaerated juices than in their deaerated counterparts. So the development people were tasked with minimising the aroma losses during the deaeration process so as to reap the benefits of deaeration without its customary disadvantages. Dr Feilner went on to explain how this was achieved: he elucidated the importance of the condensation point and the vacuum pressure and explained how vital it is to handle different products with different settings. This is essential in order to ensure maximised deaeration efficacy combined with minimised loss of taste. And there’s something else that contributes towards high product quality: the patented product inflow design prevents foaming by guiding the liquid along the inside of the tank wall – so that the oxygen released can escape through the middle of the inlet nozzle. Summing up, he expressly emphasised that any deaeration risks feared are most definitely offset by the improved product quality following pressure deaeration!
Dr. Roland Feilner permitted himself a short break, and then he went straight on to his next subject, where he reported on measures for achieving gentle, product-friendly fruit juice processing. The keynote theme of his presentation was the stipulation for “as much thermal stress as necessary and as little as possible”. He started off by providing an overview of the production process involved in creating a soft drink, and explained the importance of efficiency and high standards of quality. Dr Feilner sees this as the defined goal of the machinery manufacturers – and thus as his own yardstick. He emphasised that it is possible to heat up products effectively and gently only if the heat exchanger system concerned can be responsively matched to the characteristics of the product involved. Dr Feilner identified the crucial variables in this context as the viscosity and the flow velocity of the product. He vividly spotlighted the Krones option, as exemplified by the shell-and-tube heat exchanger and particularly emphasised the surface structure of the tubes. As the major advantages of the Krones system, he singled out not only the minimised discoloration of the juice, but also the low losses of aromas and vitamins in the product thanks to the reduced thermal stress – and all this on a relatively small footprint, since the VarioFlash also scores highly with its compact size. In conclusion, Dr Feilner came full circle, and returned to the subject of deaeration: he showed a comparison of the colour changes in products subjected to different treatment profiles, and used this to demonstrate that a combination of thermal product treatment and deaeration (as deployed in Krones’ process technology lines) leads to the best results for the end-product.
In the next expert’s presentation, too, the focus was on the disparate characteristics of different products. Dr Jörg Zacharias reported on the difficulties and options involved in correctly determining product data. He sees (as indeed does Dr Feilner) the goal of this analysis as to ensure optimised, product-friendly dimensioning of the lines involved, and thus product quality that will satisfy the beverage producers in all categories. He emphasised that product quality and efficiency can be maximised only if the line’s configuration is responsively matched to the physical characteristics of the beverages concerned. In order to analyse these characteristics to the best possible effect, meaningful samples are essential. Dr Zacharias went on to vividly explain what parameters are of the greatest importance for this analysis, including the damage rate, viscosity and density. During the course of the analysis, the selected parameters in the various sections of the production process are checked and any changes recorded. He then proceeded to explain how precisely the viscosity and other parameters of different beverages are measured; his presentation provides more details on this. He concluded by explaining the necessity of drawing up guidelines and measuring specifications and recording them in writing, and in this context presented the guidelines drawn up by the ISBT and himself.
And tomorrow we will hear another four interesting presentations, this time on the topic of “Filling sensitive products”.