It launched Tetra Pak E3 this week at Fispal Technologia in Brazil, a filling machine, which uses eBeam developed with Comet to sterilize its packaging material.
'Same level of efficiency without the contraints'
The firm carried out three years of trials on the field to prove the safety of the system and test pilots with Rajo in Slovakia and Meiji in Japan. It sold its first machine to a customer at Fispal.
“It’s been an incredible journey to develop this technology,” said Laurence Mott, VP, Packaging Technologies, Tetra Pak.
“Our brand is built on food safety, this is what we do. We wanted the same level of efficiency without the constraints.
“For us, hydrogen peroxide is well established in the food industry but we didn’t want to sit back on our laurels. We wanted something more robust to bring us further advantages.”
Mott added, the three benefits of E3 are 20% reduced operating costs, it can produce up to 40,000 portion packs per hour indicating a 60% improvement; better environmental performance (less consumption of energy, simplified water recycling, less packaging material waste); and increased production flexibility.
Killing any bacteria or micro-organism
The technology works by focusing a controlled beam of electrons onto the surface of packaging material as it runs through the filling machine, killing any bacteria or micro-organism.
“Electron beams are widely used in the food industry but we are the first company to use it in carton filling machines,” said Mott.
“It can achieve far higher capacity than is currently possible without changing the size of the machine. We won’t abandon hydrogen peroxide technology as it is still important to us, but this is a fantastic step forward.”
According to Mott, Fispal is home to one of the most important markets for Tetra Pak after China and the company has a long term vision for Brazil.
“eBeam was developed in cooperation with our partners, Comet, based in Switzerland. Without these men we wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
“eBeam completely replaces hydrogen peroxide in the sterilizing process in the packaging industry, it has real benefits to the filling line as well.”
He added by installing an eBeam kit, manufacturers can switch between pasteurized and extended shelf life production orders on the same Tetra Pak E3/CompactFlex filling machine.
In test trials, Rajo produced 110 million packages of UHT milk in Tetra Pak Aseptic 1000 Slim on a Tetra Pak A3/Speed machine equipped with the eBeam sterilization technology between 2011 and 2014.
Peter Novorol’nik, production manager, Rajo, said the system offers clear savings on hydrogen peroxide consumption.
“To sterilize one million packages you need 300 litres of hyfrogen peroxide so the saving is considerable,” he said.
The E3/Speed produces family packages of Tetra Pak Brik Aseptic 1000 Edge with LightCap 30, running at 15,000 packs per hour.
The firm plans to extend the platform to more machines and will start deployment with three machines; Tetra Pak E3/CompactFlex Extended Shelf Life; Tetra Pak E3/Speed Portion Packages and Tetra Pak E3/Flex Extended Shelf Life.