- Key Takeaways of Carbonated Beverage Filling Machine with Aseptic Filling System
- The Need for Flexible Aseptic Carbonated Beverage Filling Line
- Dual-Purpose Carbonated Drink Filling Machine Design Overview
- Flow Configuration – Carbonated Filling System
- Flow Configuration – Non-Carbonated Aseptic Filling Machine
- Integrated CIP Sanitation System
- Intelligent PLC Control System for Beverage Filling Machines
- Flexible Production Capabilities of Bottle Filling
- Key Filling Performance Advantages of Filling Equipment
- Applications in Beverage Production
- What types of aseptic beverage can this filler handle?
- How does it maintain carbonation during filling?
- How does it ensure aseptic filling for still beverages?
- How long do CIP cleaning cycles take?
- How are bottle crowns applied after filling process?
- How does the machine adjust between different bottle shapes and sizes?
- What output speeds can this filler achieve?
- Does it require extensive maintenance?
- What expertise is needed to operate the filling machine?
- Does it require any external utilities?
- What is the typical payback period for a capital investment in this equipment?
- How much floor space does this system occupy?
- Can this handle butter beverages beyond sodas and juices?
- What after-sales support is included?
Carbonated beverages are a staple of the modern diet, enjoyed around the world for their refreshing bubbles and thirst-quenching properties. However, producing these effervescent drinks on an industrial scale comes with unique challenges not found in still beverage production. Most notably, maintaining carbonation levels during filling while also adhering to strict hygiene standards for aseptic processing. In this article, we’ll explore the technical details and operational principles behind a specialized carbonated beverage filling machine that can handle both carbonated and non-carbonated aseptic filling.
Key Takeaways of Carbonated Beverage Filling Machine with Aseptic Filling System
- Dual-purpose filling machine allows carbonated and non-carbonated aseptic filling on one system.
- Central control rod slides up and down to reroute flows for different filling modes.
- Counter-pressure used for carbonated drinks to maintain bubble integrity.
- Non-carbonated products filled aseptically through central tube.
- Automated CIP cleaning and PLC control for simplified operation.
- Handles wide range of bottle types and production speeds.
- Gently handles delicate carbonation and protein-based products.
- Allows beverage companies to expand portfolios with greater flexibility.
The Need for Flexible Aseptic Carbonated Beverage Filling Line
Carbonated drinks require careful filling to prevent premature CO2 loss prior to capping. This is typically achieved by counter-pressure filling, where the interior of the bottle is pressurized with CO2 at equal pressure to the liquid. The carbonated liquid can then flow in with minimal agitation, maintaining bubble integrity.
In contrast, still aseptic beverages need to avoid contact with bottle openings to prevent contamination. So these are filled by gravity through a central tube, with sterile air evacuated around the sides.
Ideally, filling lines should have flexibility to handle both carbonated and still aseptic products. Separate filling machines for each increase costs and reduce efficiency. A combined system allows producers to meet changing market demands with minimal disruption.
Dual-Purpose Carbonated Drink Filling Machine Design Overview
To enable aseptic filling of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages on one system, a novel filling machine uses a sliding central control rod inside the filling nozzle body to reroute product flows.
The main components include:
- Hollow nozzle body with side channels for carbonated and non-carbonated lines.
- Central control rod which slides up and down within the nozzle body.
- Piston assembly to actuate rod movement.
- Sealing components for aseptic operation.
The hollow nozzle body houses the internal components and forms the keystone structure. It has:
- A tapered neck opening at one end for bottle mounting.
- Non-carbonated and carbonated beverage side channels entering from opposite sides.
- An axial hollow bore running through its center. This contains the central control rod.
Central Control Rod
This key component redirects flows by its position:
- It has an axial channel through its core for liquid routing.
- In the rod wall is a radial side channel, intersecting the axial channel.
- Sealing rings on its exterior seal against the nozzle body.
- Actuating the rod up or down connects different flow paths.
To shift the central rod, a piston assembly is mounted in the upper nozzle body. It interfaces with the rod and provides precise positional control.
Several sealing components maintain aseptic conditions:
- A mouth seal ring provides liquid-tight junction between nozzle and bottle neck.
- Upper and lower sealing rings on the control rod prevent leaks.
- Sterile hoses, gaskets and valve diaphragms maintain aseptic integrity.
Flow Configuration – Carbonated Filling System
During carbonated filling, the central rod is lifted to its upper position. This connects the carbonated side channel directly to the nozzle mouth.
Pressurized carbonated liquid flows into the hollow bore space above the raised rod. As it exits the nozzle into the bottle, the restricted area forces the product into a perimeter flow pattern around the rod. This gentle influx maintains carbonation.
Simultaneously, sterilized air flows down through the axial and radial channels of the control rod. This purges the bottle interior and pressurizes it to equalize with the liquid. Any excess air escapes back through the rod system.
Once the target fill volume is reached, the rod drops, sealing off the bottle mouth. This completes the counter-pressure filling cycle, capturing carbonation in the sealed bottle.
Flow Configuration – Non-Carbonated Aseptic Filling Machine
For non-carbonated aseptic products, the central rod lowers into neck of the bottle but doesn’t make contact. The rod blocks direct top-down liquid flow.
Liquid pumps into the non-carbonated side channel and gets routed through the upper sealing ring into the radial channel. From here it enters the axial channel through the center rod, exiting directly into the bottle in a vertical stream.
As sterile liquid fills the bottle, displaced air escapes upwards around the rod from all sides. This avoids contact between liquid and bottle opening surfaces.
After filling, the rod retracts up and out of the bottle neck. The filled bottle can then be capped aseptically with minimal risk of contamination.
Integrated CIP Sanitation System
To prevent microbial buildup, cleaning-in-place (CIP) cycles are automated into the filler operation.
Detergent solutions are circulated at programmed intervals. They flow sequentially into each fluid channel and around machine components to sanitize the entire liquid and gas pathways.
This integrated CIP functionality lets the machine meet pharmaceutical-level hygiene requirements between production runs.
Intelligent PLC Control System for Beverage Filling Machines
An industrial programmable logic controller (PLC) oversees the filling sequencer, CIP cycles and machine safety interlocks.
The HMI touchscreen interface allows operators to select filling parameters and control production. Real-time flow meters feed back volumetric data to align with preprogrammed recipes.
This automated control eliminates the need for manual switchovers between carbonated and non-carbonated filling modes. Improper changeovers can lead to foaming, loss of carbonation or oxygen ingress.
Flexible Production Capabilities of Bottle Filling
This high-performance filler design can handle a wide range of Beverage formats:
- Small scale batches for new product development.
- High-speed filling up to 60,000 bottles per hour.
- Various bottle shapes and neck sizes.
- Still water, juices, milk, functional beverages.
- Carbonated soft drinks, soda water, beer.
Changeover times between different products are minimized through stored recipes and quick-connect tooling on critical components like filling valves, sealing elements and bottle infeed parts.
Key Filling Performance Advantages of Filling Equipment
- Low dissolved oxygen pickup – Minimizes oxidation and maintains product quality.
- High filling accuracy – Precision flow meters ensure exact target volumes.
- Smooth liquid flow – Gentle product handling protects delicate carbonation, proteins.
- Aseptic protection – Eliminates external contamination risks.
- Consistent packs – Programmable PLC recipes give pack-to-pack consistency.
- Easy sanitation – Automated CIP system ensures filling hygiene.
- Simplified operation – HMI guides workers through production and changeovers.
Applications in Beverage Production
This flexible filler design is ideal for beverage companies filling multiple product types, including:
- Full-line bottlers – Can run carbonated colas, juice drinks, aseptic teas on one bottling line.
- Craft breweries – Fill regular and specialty low-carbonation craft beers.
- “Better-for-you” brands – Water, coconut water, kombucha, cold-pressed juices.
- Contract packagers – Provide filling services for diverse client beverage brands.
- New product development – Test market innovative beverage formulations.
The ability to switch between carbonated and non-carbonated filling with a seamless sanitary non-contact aseptic link allows producers to expand their product portfolios and adapt to rapidly shifting consumer preferences.
This novel beverage filling technology provides manufacturers with critical production flexibility along with efficiency and quality gains.
The integrated machine design circumvents trade-offs between gentle carbonated filling and strict non-contact aseptic filling. Intelligent automated features simplify operation and maintenance for line workers.
Beverage companies looking to add innovative offerings while maximizing their existing assets would benefit greatly from this dual-purpose filling solution. The future-focused design not only fills bottles but also equips producers to profitably deliver the next generation of refreshing drinks.
What types of aseptic beverage can this filler handle?
This filler can handle a wide range of beverage types, including:
- Carbonated soft drinks like colas, lemon-lime sodas, and flavored sparkling waters
- Still water, fruit juices, dairy products, plant-based beverages
- Alcoholic products like beer with lower carbonation levels
- Non-carbonated items like iced tea, coffee, kombucha, and cold-pressed juices
It can fill both plastic and glass bottles in various shapes and sizes.
How does it maintain carbonation during filling?
For carbonated filling, the machine pressurizes the bottle with CO2 to match the liquid pressure. This counter-pressure equalization prevents rapid CO2 outgassing when liquid enters the bottle. The liquid flows around the central filling rod in a gentle manner that minimizes agitation. This retains carbonation bubbles.
How does it ensure aseptic filling for still beverages?
During aseptic filling, the central rod extends down into the bottle neck area without making contact. Liquid pumps through the rod in a vertical stream directly into the bottle. The bottle neck has ultra-sterile air filtered through it to maintain an aseptic zone. As liquid fills the bottle from the bottom up, displaced air exits around the rod so the product doesn’t touch potentially contaminated bottle surfaces.
How long do CIP cleaning cycles take?
Automated CIP sanitizing cycles can be programmed based on production schedules. A typical wash cycle takes 15-20 minutes. Detergent solutions flow through product contact areas before being flushed out by purified water. Critical areas like filling valves are disassembled and manually cleaned as needed between cycles.
How are bottle crowns applied after filling process?
After filling, bottles move down the line to a capping/seaming machine. Here rubber liners and metal crowns are applied to seal the bottle opening. The crowns are mechanically rolled or pressed on to engage the crown edges and bottle lip. The capper ensures a hermetic seal to prevent oxygen ingress or carbonation loss.
How does the machine adjust between different bottle shapes and sizes?
The filler uses a variety of quick-connect parts like gaskets, guides, and custom filling valves to accommodate different bottle geometries. These easily swap out during changeovers. The HMI interface prompts operators through the adjustment steps and can store recipes for future runs.
What output speeds can this filler achieve?
Output speeds depend on bottle size, product characteristics, and packaging materials. Typical maximum speeds fall around 40,000 to 60,000 bottles per hour. Small bottlenecks or trial batches may run significantly slower. The programmable logic controller can adjust conveyor speeds and filling parameters to suit.
Does it require extensive maintenance?
This filler is designed for quick maintenance access to key components. Daily checks focus on inspecting sealing consumables, lubrication levels, and monitoring CIP efficacy. Qualified technicians perform major overhaul procedures only a few times per year during planned shutdowns. This maximizes uptime.
What expertise is needed to operate the filling machine?
The filler is designed to be intuitive for line operators. The touchscreen HMI provides step-by-step instructions for production and changeovers. Recipes can be stored for simple selection. Some training is still required to learn proper setup, cleaning procedures, and maintenance basics. Technical support is available.
Does it require any external utilities?
This filling machine does need some facility utilities piped in:
- Chilled water for cooling product flows and CIP solutions.
- Plant air pressure for actuating valves and cylinders.
- CO2 and Nitrogen supplies for counter-pressure filler and purge cycles.
- Clean steam for sanitization and sterilization.
- 240V AC power for general equipment electrics.
The levels required depend on production demands and bottle sizes.
What is the typical payback period for a capital investment in this equipment?
The flexible dual-filling functionality provides high utilization and throughput. This leads to faster ROI versus dedicated equipment. Exact payback periods depend heavily on production variables. Conservative estimates are around 1-3 years for most mid-size beverage operations. Larger bottlers often see payback within the first 12 months of use.
How much floor space does this system occupy?
The filling machine itself has a compact footprint, but allowance is needed for conveyors, bottles infeeds, air compressor stations etc. A complete turnkey bottling line requires roughly 475 – 750 sq ft. This depends on layout preferences and throughput targets. We can consult on optimized plant floor designs.
Can this handle butter beverages beyond sodas and juices?
The gentle filling process can handle a wide range of viscosities from water up to thick dairy products. However, particles or pulp fibers may need filtration to avoid clogging valves. High oil contents can also cause issues with sanitation and sealing integrity.Get in touch with additional formulation details so we can assess compatibility.
What after-sales support is included?
We provide comprehensive documentation on operations and troubleshooting. Remote tech support via phone and email is available during implementation and throughout the machine lifetime. Preventative maintenance contracts can keep uptime performance high. And we offer regular firmware upgrades with new capabilities.
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