GEA unveils Sterilfoil technology for the first time at drinktec

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

GEA unveiled its Sterilfoil technology for the first time at drinktec - for fitting sterile foil caps on HDPE bottles and PET bottles.

Sterilfoil VHP L is an integrated aseptic system for closing HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) bottles, containing high or low-acid beverages, with aluminum foil.

48,000 bottles an hour

GEA has introduced it across its entire range of aseptic rotary bottling systems.

When used with GEA’s ABF (Aseptic Blow Fill) technology, it is possible to blow the bottle, fill the product and provide the foil closure in a single aseptic line for PET bottles.

Massimo Nascimbeni, product manager, Blowing, GEA, said Sterilfoil can cap up to 48,000 bottles an hour in size ranges from 200ml to 2.5 liters. Screw overcaps can be fitted during a subsequent operation if required.

Sterilfoil is a simple linear system mounted on the top of the capping area and integrated within the microbiological isolator of the machine​,” he said.

The system uses VHP (vaporized hydrogen peroxide) to provide microbiological decontamination of the aluminum foil up to 6 Log (on B. atrophaeus) and more​.

Foils are pushed along a sterilization chute and then treated on both sides to provide simultaneous internal and external sterilization by pressurized VHP​.

The sterilization chute is electronically heated on both sides to avoid H2​O2​ (dry hydrogen peroxide) condensation and any foil jams that could affect the production efficiency. GEA uses silicon surface heaters to ensure the temperature remains uniform along the surfaces.​”

Extended Shelf Life milk

HDPE bottles are demanded in the dairy industry especially for the packaging of ESL (extended shelf life) milk, milk-based products and drinkable yogurts.

HDPE provides a natural barrier to light and oxygen – comparable with that provided by a cardboard carton – that would otherwise seriously affect the shelf life of these sensitive products.

Screw caps are often fitted as an additional safeguard, especially to the large format bottles.

Foils are also used on PET bottles when the cap design cannot ensure a perfect seal with the neck of the bottle or when the brand owner wants to deliver premium product awareness.

GEA has developed the Sterilfoil technology as part of all aseptic rotary blow molding systems (ABF = Aseptic Blow Fill).

The principle of ABF is to sterilize the preform, not the formed bottle, with H2​O2​ at the exit from the oven, then blow the preforms with sterile air in a sterile environment and maintain this sterility throughout the filling and capping process.

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