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Combi Predis FMa for safe aseptic production

Did you know that a sterile blower is not necessary to safely produce any kind of high or low acidity beverage in aseptic conditions, on an integrated blow-fill-cap solution ?

Regularly setting standards  in beverage production

With 40 years' experience in aseptic beverages and dairy bottling solutions starting in 1973 with UHT milk, 30 years experience in PET packaging, as well as 50 years' experience in blowing, Sidel has pioneered a variety of innovative solutions. These innovative solutions have inevitably become the accepted standards of the beverage industry and Sidel has enjoyed a leading position in beverage production technology and solutions for liquid packaging. In 1980, Sidel created the first industrial PET rotating blowmoulder, which has since become the standard for PET beverage containers and subject to many imitations.

 

Serving a market in which food safety can never be compromised, Sidel understands the importance of hygiene and food safety in all R&D projects. With a clear mindset regarding food safety, whenever Sidel technicians and engineers undertake any new packaging solutions, they are already primed and driven by the customers' main requirement: "Make it simple, keep it simple". This mantra comes from the fact that the best warranty for food safety is simplicity, because operators have to run and maintain the line with the relevant and simple Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

 

In 1997, already driven by the importance of hygiene and simplicity, Sidel pioneered integrated blow-fill-cap solutions and released the 'Combi'. This proven solution carries out the production of bottles filled and capped in a single enclosure to improve safety and efficiency. Today it is in use in over 600 machines throughout the world. The Combi opened doors for the beverage industry and the concept soon became an industry benchmark.

 

Preform decontamination

Soon after its introduction, Sidel released its first preform decontamination technology - DISIS - as an upgrade to the Combi in order to offer the complete hygienic solution. This too, was a first on the beverage market. Using its packaging and blowing experience, Sidel was the first to understand why it is simpler and safer to decontaminate the preform rather than the bottle. Being smaller in size and having a single straight surface, it presents a simple and easy way to safely produce sensitive products. By replacing wet bottle sterilisation with preform decontamination and then integrating all the blowing, filling and capping functions into a single production enclosure, juices, nectars or liquid dairy products were now produced to a higher, more hygienic standard. Similar solutions by other manufacturers are still appearing 15 years later.

 

Naturally, Sidel went through several stages in developing its preform decontamination starting with the use of a sterile blower. However, it soon became apparent that the technology for this particular approach was too complex in terms of operation and maintenance. It did not offer customers the flexibility and simplicity they required. But engineers continued to develop the technology and today Predis™, the first ever dry preform decontamination, is part of the unique dry Combi, aseptic setup, the Combi Predis FMa.

 

Because food safety is paramount

Preform decontamination technology ensures full product integrity and safety, protecting customers' brands with the highest standard of hygiene. It helps to protect liquid packaging from microorganisms, preserves the integrity of sensitive drink products and lengthens their shelf life. As the ideal solution for products handled at ambient distribution, this technology can even extend products' shelf life when distributed via the cold chain (at refrigerated temperature). It can also help to reformulate more natural, sensitive products that previously required added preservatives to maintain food safety.

 

Simplifying blower operation  and maintenance

What is remarkable about the aseptic Combi Predis FMa Capdis is that it is perfectly designed to ensure food safety while being simple to operate and maintain. Complex configuration or sterilisation is not required at the blowing stage. This is because the preform is decontaminated with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) before being heated in the oven to activate the H2O2 by the existing preform-heating stage. This results in a reduced risk of peroxide residue remaining within the preform.

 

This simple and efficient solution, including only a few technical features, such as filtered air treatment, UV-c 30and surface decontamination into the blowing stage, is now well-proven in production with satisfied customers reporting complete product safety and quality. Combi Predis FMa Capdis maintains a completely aseptic filling environment with no need for cleaning for continuous production of up to 120 hours. With a quick and easy format and liquid changeovers, a simple, three-hour cleaning and sterilisation period is all that is required between two bottle-to-bottle productions. Reducing chemical and water usage Predis and Capdis, Sidel's fully dry decontamination systems enable the sterilisation of all types of preforms and caps within an integrated blow-fill-cap solution. Not only are these solutions cost-effective, but they offer significant environmental benefits. Employing hydrogen peroxide mist, which removes the need for any water, and using very few chemicals, they provide 100% decontamination of the bottles and caps. Traditional aseptic filling systems that require wet bottle rinsing consume approximately 180 cubic metres of water and 220 litres of chemicals per day. Even when compared with dry bottle decontamination, aseptic Combi with dry decontamination of preforms and caps cuts annual costs by up to 30%.

 

Design flexibility with  maximum uptime

Because bottles are blown from decontaminated preforms, the empty bottle does not undergo any thermal stress. This makes it possible for the designers to have total freedom when designing the bottle. In fact, almost any type of intricate bottle shape, round or square, small or large and in sizes from 0.2L to 2L, can be produced at rates from 10,000 up to 52,000 bottles per hour. The continuous by-the-neck transfer of the bottles and the absence of thermal stress also mean there is no limit in terms of bottle lightweighting. Sidel calls it 'full shape freedom'.

 

Beverage producers can also customise their bottles with a large range of both f lat and sports caps. The Combi Predis FMa Capdis optimises the advantages associated with PET bottling and particularly the rigidity of the bottleneck combined with caps specifically designed for aseptic packaging. This provides a tight fit against microorganisms and therefore excellent food safety for the product - even UHT milk. Offering all the benefits of dry decontamination for the caps, there is no longer a need for the use of aluminium foil. As a result, production flexibility is complemented by benefits in economy and sustainability.

 

Proven technology with  worldwide success

The fully aseptic Combi dry configuration has already been successfully implemented and proven by major names in the beverage industry throughout the world. With more than 11 billion bottles produced worldwide at this point and more than 60 production lines equipped with the Predis system, Sidel has achieved a high level of customer satisfaction and experienced numerous repeat orders, which is ultimately the best indicator of the reliability of the technology.

 

"The experience that Sidel has accumulated in aseptic PET bottling is the greatest guarantee of process safety […] Predis™ helps us to protect the environment. We produce no chemical waste products from decontamination and we use less water, which is becoming an increasingly rare resource," commented IFRI, the Algerian leader in soft drinks market.

 

To produce its Rani brand, the leading Saudi Arabian provider of fruit beverages throughout the Middle East also trusted Combi dry decontamination technology: "If you don't know what you're doing, aseptic can be complicated. But with the right partner, there are a lot of great possibilities. Today we're very confident that we've made the right decision."

 

Hana Water, Saudi Arabia's leader in bottled water, trusted Sidel and its aseptic Combi Predis FMa to make a bold move to juice in PET: "We will achieve optimal protection for our preservative- free juice products - and up to nine months of shelf-life in local environmental conditions."

 

Sidel has also won numerous repeat orders for these dry solutions. By purchasing a second aseptic complete line equipped with Combi Predis FMa, the Polish co-packer Sokpol increased its processing capabilities: "The reason for investing in a second aseptic line was very simple. Our current capacity was, and still is, not enough."

 

The second acquisition of a Combi Predis FMa for the European Refresco Group, which produces and bottles refreshing non-alcoholic beverages, was based on a similar order one year before: "There was no reason to go with dry aseptic production of the bottles and keep a wet treatment for the caps. We wanted a 100% dry Combi. […] Dry decontamination is the best technology available on the market right now, and it's particularly suited for sensitive products like iced teas."

 

Laiterie Saint-Denis-de-L'Hôtel (LSDH), a French dairy company, which also bottles a highly diversified range of fruit juices, showed its confidence in Sidel by buying three lines equipped with the Combi Predis FMa: "At the time, this revolutionary technology for the dry decontamination of preforms enabled LSDH to bottle UHT milk aseptically in a lightweight PET bottle with no sealing foil - a world's first. […] This one-litre bottle was lightweighted by 8 grams compared with the original bottle produced on an aseptic line with wet decontamination of bottles."

 

Global expertise with  the end-product at heart

Sidel understands the typical business challenges that its customers face in today's constantly changing marketplace. These challenges include increasing demand for liquid food products, the need for more flavour varieties and for beverages with healthier attributes and, of course, price competition. Consequently, Sidel can propose ways to increase efficiency, flexibility, and simplicity and to improve the customer's environmental footprint throughout the production process.

 

By maintaining focus on the customer's product, Sidel is much more than just an equipment supplier. The global expertise of its in-house scientists and laboratories and their capabilities in microbiology, knowledge of end-products and the interaction of material and packaging, gives customers crucial insights into how they can achieve an optimal production process. By drawing on Sidel's long history of innovation, customers can enjoy food safety, product integrity and brand protection - with no compromises.

 

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