GEA’s new aseptic blower and filler

GEA Procomac ABF aseptic blower for PET bottlesGEA Procomac has introduced ABF, the only aseptic blower on the market for PET bottles that’s coupled with aseptic filler. The new technology is validated for high and low acid products with speeds on one litre containers ranging from 12.000 bph (six cavities blower) to 48.000 bph (24 cavities blower).

Preforms sterilisation is one of the critical aspects of aseptic blowing. As there is no further treatment on the bottle after blowing, the preforms have to be sterilised both internally and externally. ABF does it in a single step with a controlled flow of Vaporised Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) after the heating oven. This is to avoid risk of cross contamination. By sterilising the external preform surface before the internal, contamination can be transferred thereby contaminating the preform as well as the machine surfaces in the controlled contamination area.

Aseptic design is a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of each potential risk of contamination and to the minimisation of the identified risks. A clean environment helps to reduce the risk but only an aseptic environment can bring the risk to a minimum. ABF has been designed according to a basic rule of aseptic design which is the clear definition of a sterile zone. Once the preform is sterile, it enters the Microbiological Isolator and remains in this sterile zone right through to the aseptic capping of the bottles after filling.

GEA Procomac introduced the Microbiological Isolator in the sensitive beverage industry in 1996. To be able to fulfil the aseptic validation protocol, the machine was challenged with strips inoculated with Bacillus atropheus. This is the only way to validate an aseptic machine: strip testing phase is required under the Standard Aseptic Validation Protocols of all the major sensitive beverage players on the market. As such, ABF is the only technology suitable validated under the Aseptic Validation Protocol on the market.