Customising aseptic production solutions

Paul Boughton

Swedish company Tetra Pak claims that its new generation of customised aseptic production solutions will enable dairy producers to achieve superior and consistent product quality while both reducing operating costs up to 20 per cent and minimising their environmental impact.

The first in this new generation is Tetra Lactenso Aseptic for UHT milk processing (Fig. 1). It is shortly to be followed by Tetra Therm Aseptic Flex and Tetra Alsafe. The launches will then continue with the Tetra Therm Aseptic VTIS processing unit and OneStep technology for continuous blending and pasteurisation at the end of 2008.

Tetra Pak has focused on a number of key areas in developing its new products. One is to provide 95 per cent production availability. For example, the 40 hours running time between cleanings for Tetra Therm Aseptic Flex is described by the company as an unprecedented benchmark.

Another focus has been the reduction in production losses by 40 per cent when compared with current industry standards. This equates to less than 60 litres of lost product per production cycle for a 13 000 litre/ hour system--compared to more than 100 litres of lost product for competitors’ current offers.

For example, Tetra Therm Aseptic Flex and the Tetra Therm Aseptic VTIS, are able to greatly reduce product losses because of their double balance tank system, where one balance tank is used for product and the other is used for water and cleaning-in-place (CIP) solution. Because the mixing phases of product and water are kept to a minimum, there is less product loss.

It’s a similar story new production-adapted cleaning technology that reduces equipment downtime by up to 20 per cent. Known as IntelliCIP, it improves overall environmental sustainability while also reducing operating costs.

Finally, there is the reduction in steam, water and electricity consumption by up to 75 per cent – courtesy of the company’s aseptic energy hibernation technology.

“The launch of Tetra Lactenso Aseptic signifies another milestone in our continued leadership in aseptic processing technology,” said Sam Strömerstén, president of Tetra Pak Processing Systems. “Tetra Lactenso Aseptic is based on all available UHT technologies which means that we can offer the customer objective advice for the right solution. It’s the result of long-term collaboration with dairy customers and a real understanding of their needs.”

Tetra Pak follows three steps to custom-design Tetra Lactenso Aseptic solutions for each producer. First, it works with each of its specific customers to understand the performance targets they wish to achieve, such as litres per hour of output, product quality or sustainability benchmarks. Then the company creates a custom-designed solution that is guaranteed to meet the agreed targets, using the appropriate UHT technology and Tetra Pak branded processing units, along with the desired level of automation, service and support. Finally, the company validates the performance of its delivered solution to ensure it meets the agreed targets.

Other launches are also promised in the run up to the Cologne-based Anuga FoodTec trade fair next March.

Meanwhile, German ingredients manufacturing firm Wild has increased its volume capacity for aseptic cold filling for its beverage flavour systems, saying that it can now meet customer requirements for preservative-free mixes even in peak season.

According to a report on the website, the company has added a new aseptic filling line at its plant in Heidelberg. While the company would not disclose what the new capacity is, a spokesperson told the website that it can now fulfil order

The German ingredients firm has had aseptic capabilities since 2002 for its flavour systems – semi-finished beverage mixes to which the manufacturer need only add water, sugar and acid. According to the website this is development is significant because there is a major drive in the industry to meet consumer preferences for products that do not contain preservatives.

Wild says that its production technology provides the highest level of microbiological safety- as befits “the largest private manufacturer of natural ingredients for the food and beverage industry”.

A flavour system is a semi-finished product used as a base in the production of beverages, confectionery and ice cream. Usually, it contains all the ingredients necessary for producing a standardised finished product without the water, sugar and acid and is tailored to requirements of the customers and developed in collaboration with them.

With 75 years of experience behind it, Wild says its state-of-the-art technology allows the production of unpreserved flavour systems that are microbiologically safe. The shelf life of these products, as originally sealed, is the same as that for preserved flavour systems. When and if recipes require alteration, the company does so in close consultation with its customers.

This is important because choosing to produce beverages with unpreserved ingredients offers real added value for beverage fillers. These products may bear the label “with no added preservatives”, as long as no preservatives are added by the beverage filler. This type of advertising, notes Wild, generates added value and appeals to new consumer groups because the absence of preservatives is a sign of quality.

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