Container Decontamination ESL Blow Fill System ABF 4C

ABF 4C, composed by a ultraclean blow moulding machine with an integrated ultraclean filler and capper, is the GEA solution to fill ESL beverages in PET bottle

The ABF 4C is a blow fill technology that has been designed specifically for ESL applications for high and low acid products at up to 48,000, half-liter bottles/hour.

One concept, different configuration

ABF 4C is the ESL configuration of ABF technology, designed specifically for the ultraclean blow filling of PET bottles. It is a rotary ultraclean blow moulding machine (Airstar 4C) with an integrated ultraclean filler and capper.

After passing through a traditional oven, preforms are decontaminated internally and externally before the blowing phase. This is achieved in a single, safe and reliable process, using Vaporised Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP). The treatment - fully controlled in H2O2 concentration, temperature and injection time - provides full coverage of internal and external preform surfaces simultaneously, without risk of cross contamination. This treatment achieves up to 3 Log red with A.brasiliensis, according to the ESL specifications.

The system reduces the use of chemicals and doesn’t need any water in production. Energy usage is kept to a minimum by the elimination of air conveyors and rinsing carrousels. The whole system is more compact than traditional technology and requires fewer operators.

ABF 4C is an extremely flexible system that can blow and fill up to 48,000 bottles per hour on 500 ml bottles, and operates at different levels of decontamination appropriate for each product: this allows products with different shelf-lives, low acid and high acid ESL beverages, to be filled on the same system.

Ultraclean blow moulding

Airstar 4C is an ultraclean blow molder that is an integral part of the ABF 4C system. By blowing the preforms ’upside down’ it is possible to locate all the non-cleanable components within the ultraclean zone (clean box).  All surfaces in the clean box are accessible and easy to clean.

Electrical components are located above the ultraclean zone. Mechanical components and all components that require lubrication are located below. The decontaminated preforms are blown with sterile air. The sterile bottles are then turned into the upright position and transferred to the filling carrousel.

Cap decontamination

Caps decontamination treatment is performed in the Sterilcap VHP L, in a ’sterilization chute’ containing vaporized H2O2. The process is strong and reliable and condensation makes the treatment gentle to prevent any effect on the geometry of the caps. The caps, both flat or sport, and the foil closures are fully sterilized internally and externally.

Pulsed-light cap treatment

Another optional cap decontamination process is pulsed-light technology that is used commonly as a high efficacy, dry decontamination treatment achieving up to 3 Log red on A.brasiliensis. It is a very efficient way of killing all microorganisms. Pulsed light technology is very common in ESL applications and guarantees target decontamination levels in accordance with ESL Standards.