GEA has launched the latest generation of aseptic filling technology: the Fillstar CX EVO. This multi-functional system provides beverage industry customers with the capacity to seamlessly switch between different types of products, from carbonated to still aseptic beverages and vice-versa. The usual product changeover times of approximately three hours are a thing of the past as the new system eliminates changeover times thanks to the integrated control unit merely requiring reprogramming. The changeover from contact filling to non-contact filling is fully automated. The system sterility is thus not interrupted.

Aseptic filling for a wide range of beverages

The new technology uses a counter-pressure volumetric electronic filling valve. GEA engineers have refined the tried and tested filling technology for carbonated beverages, making it suitable for a wide range of applications – the Fillstar CX EVO can handle high and low acid beverages, as well as aseptic soft drinks with varying carbonation levels, to ensure complete sterility. The Fillstar CX EVO can fill products with fibers up to 20 mm long and with diameters of 3 mm; when integrated with an aseptic piston doser the system can fill even fruit pieces with a volume of up to 10x10x10 mm. Bottle sizes and shapes – which is just as important for producers to attract consumers’ attention – can be easily changed.

Flexible solutions are trend

The market is increasingly demanding such multi-functionality: “Fashionable products, such as liquid food with cereals, fruit particles and berries, RTD teas or milk-based low acid beverages are becoming ever more common on supermarket shelves. Producers are reacting by replacing standard products and shifting their production processes to allow for greater flexibility and innovation,” explains Alessandro Bellò, Vice President of Blowing, Filling & Packing at GEA. “Our customers feel the need to react quickly to changes in demand. Our technical solutions lay the foundation for a dynamic response.”

GEA has already received inquiries about the new technology. In the second half of 2017, it delivered a Fillstar CX EVO with an aseptic piston doser to a company in Southeast Asia, where trendy beverages, such as “food in a bottle” and organic teas, are very popular and new creations are welcome. The high-performance system will have a capacity of 54,000 bottles per hour.

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