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New KHS aseptic block with bottle sterilisation

By Diane Silcock

WITH its new aseptic block for bottle sterilisation KHS is setting standards in safety and hygiene. Beverage bottlers don’t have to compromise on performance here, however: thanks to its rotary filler, the block can produce triple the output of the linear filler.

Where maximum safety is of prime concern when filling sensitive beverages into PET bottles, KHS’ linear aseptic fillers have long proved themselves on the market. 

It’s thus only logical, then, that the German systems provider is now proud to also present a rotary aseptic filler for higher capacities whose hygienic properties are setting new standards. 

Here, the machine and systems manufacturer is consciously focusing on bottle sterilisation that – unlike preform sterilisation – can also be combined with the KHS FreshSafe PET coating system that provides additional product protection for sensitive beverages. In this procedure all potential germs are removed from the containers directly prior to filling. This gives bottlers more flexibility and greater availability during format changeovers than with preform sterilisation, where changing the stretch blow molds disturbs the sterile state of the block. Bottle sterilisation also allows lightweight containers to be gently handled with ease.

New filler design

The new rotary Innofill PET ACF-R filler has been combined with the energy-efficient InnoPET Blomax Series V stretch blow moulder. The resulting InnoPET BloFill ACF-R aseptic block currently has a capacity of up to 36 000 1 0-litre bottles per hour as opposed to the linear fillers that work at a maximum rate of 14 000 bottles an hour. In the future the block will even be available with an output of up to 48 000 500-millilitre bottles every sixty minutes. In addition, the new plant engineering achieves a sterility of log 6 inside the bottles – which is equivalent to a reduction in germs of 99,9999%.

During development special attention was paid to the aseptic filler that was completely redesigned. One key feature was to limit the structure to a maximum of four smaller stars for the supply of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 ) and activation and drying with sterile air. 

The stars are used in place of the previous large carousel. The benefits of this simplified technology are lower consumption figures and lower costs for installation and maintenance thanks to the machinery’s modular design and smaller footprint. 

“The sterile zone must be completely encapsulated and kept separate from the bottling shop,” says Manfred Härtel, filling product manager for KHS. 

“Large carousels need a liquid lock to separate them from the ambient air. This isn’t necessary on our version with the small stars, making the machine very much easier to configure and operate.”

High standard of hygiene

The InnoPET BloFill ACF-R is spread out over two levels: at ground level are the stretch blow moulder, sterilisation module, filler carousel and two-way servocapper. The process technology with the service module, H2O2 preparation, sterile compressed air production, cap sterilisation unit and valve manifold are up on the platform.

The outsides and insides of the PET bottles are sterilised before they reach the filler’s aseptic zone where the sensitive products are filled into the containers and then sealed on the servocapper. 

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