The line includes a stretch blow-molder, aseptic filler/capper, label and shrink sleeve applicators and secondary and tertiary packaging units for UHT milks and other milk-based drinks with a diversity in viscosity, with production starting in June 2018.
The project supports Food Union’s (FUN) vision of innovation in China, presenting products in an appealing, reclosable packaging and included equipment selection, integration follow-up, factory acceptance tests and site acceptance tests.
FUN products are designed to entice Chinese consumers and meet demand for convenience. In this case Food Union chose white PET bottles, which are increasingly used in the Chinese premium market sector.
Fabienne Cheriaux-Huet, marketing manager, Dairy, Food and Beverages, Serac, said the UHT milks and other milk-based drinks are bottled on the same line using its Multiflow nozzles, which automatically adapt to each product and three bottle formats.
“There are three sizes of bottles for UHT low acid milk drinks and the line output is up to 24 000 bph (small size formats). Products include the RASA range: one part is packaged by the Serac aseptic packaging line and the Bravo range: one part is packaged by the Serac linear cup filler (spoonable yogurt with fruits),” he said.
Dong Ying is one of two liquid dairy plants that were simultaneously conceived, engineered and constructed for Food Union under the stewardship of SPX FLOW.
“We regularly exchange information with SPX Flow and they contacted us for this project as Serac is known for aseptic packaging of dairy products (low-acid products in particular),” added Cheriaux-Huet.
“The main challenge was to install an aseptic line in a new plant that was still under construction. Another challenge was training staff in the area of aseptic packaging.
“Serac also installed a cup packaging line for yogurts at a plant in Hohhot at Food Union, which was a linear cup filler with cup decontamination by H2O2. Delivering up to 23,000 cups/hour.”
Chinese dairy market
Although Serac has more than 50 filling lines operating in China, Dong Ying is only the second delivery of a fully aseptic line.
However, Food Union wants to be at the forefront of the Chinese dairy market, therefore is willing to invest in aseptic filling, just as bottles are progressively gaining market share on cartons in the country, said Serac.
Originating from Europe, RASA offers fun and healthy snacks designed for young adults entering the workforce in China.
RASA plans to develop four ranges with a healthy and nutritious selling point in mind.
The line has been validated according to European protocols for aseptic machines.
Particular attention was given to H2O2 vapor bottle decontamination. The process is defined and validated for each bottle format through challenge tests, and monitored during production through Serac’s patented probe.