The market for sensitive beverages is flourishing. Throughout the world manufacturers of dairy products have recognized the potential of wholesome beverages and expanded their product portfolio over the past few years. Most of the new products are filled into PET bottles. With its new linear InnoPET BloFill ABF aseptic block KHS is satisfying the requirements of the dairy industry for flexible filling technology for sensitive products. Fast format changeovers and a modular design are the ideal solution to the rapid changes in demand producers are now faced with.
Sensitive beverages are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. The demand for functional foods with less sugar in particular is growing. “Keeping to a healthy diet is playing a central role in the lives of more and more consumers,” explains Thomas Redeker, sales director for Dairy Europe at the KHS Group. “The demand for products that are sustainably packaged and attractively presented has also greatly increased in the last few years.”
Dairy industry innovations filled into PET containers
PET bottles are the ideal vehicles for this new trend. An increasing number of makers of dairy products are thus relying on containers made of polyethylene terephthalate. “Not only producers but also consumers are convinced by their many different advantages,” says Redeker. In particular this includes the great capacity for individual design this type of container has. “PET bottles lend themselves to exclusive design. The cap and label can also be perfectly tailored to the brand. This had a positive effect on the brand positioning at the point of sale,” Redeker states.
The plastic containers also score when it comes to their environmental balance as they are fully recyclable. PET bottles not only provide reliable product protection; they also have good pouring properties.
KHS satisfies customer and consumer demands with new block
KHS first recognized the potential of PET containers for aseptic filling 25 years ago. Its latest development is the linear InnoPET BloFill ABF aseptic block. This combines the rotary InnoPET Blomax Series V stretch blow molder with the linear Innosept Asbofill ABF 712 aseptic filler.
The block yields many benefits. It not only takes up less space than the individual machines, for instance; the air conveyor is also no longer required. This cuts down on energy consumption. Another advantage is that personnel costs are reduced as only one operator is needed in place of the former two. “By blocking the machinery and including a continuous clock module we also minimize the risk of soiling. This has a positive impact on hygiene and line availability," smiles Redeker.
Fast format changeovers within the space of up to ten minutes also help to boost system availability. They are performed under aseptic conditions, doing away with the need for any additional cleaning and sterilization. The short changeover times also let producers of sensitive beverages fill a large number of different stock-keeping units (SKUs) in a very short time indeed. The linear aseptic block is designed to fill milk, mixed milk beverages, juice, smoothies and iced tea into PET bottles holding between 250 milliliters and two liters. The equipment outputs up to 12,000 1.0-liter bottles and a maximum of 15,000 0.5-liter bottles per hour.
Bottlers also profit from the modular design of the dry aseptic block which allows the filler to be expanded at any time. Operators can retrofit their block with a chunk filler or additional filling and capping unit, for instance. “The modular design gives our customers greater flexibility. They don’t have to think about precisely which products they want to bottle when purchasing the block,” Redeker says. “KHS enables them to retrofit the required modules on site as soon as they expand their product portfolio.” This in turn permits beverage producers to react more flexibly to changing market demands.