Aseptic Blow Molders Aseptic Blow Molder Airstar AS

Airstar is an integral part of the ABF 1.2 system. It is an aseptic blower that produces sterilized bottles by aseptically blowing preforms that are previously sterilized with hydrogen peroxide vapor (VHP).

Airstar blow molding machine was specifically designed with aseptic functionality in mind. After the sterilization process, the preforms enter the enclosed sterile zone – where the blowing wheel is housed – and are blown with sterile air supplied through a filtered circuit that includes a dedicated VHP sterilization system.

Blow molder aseptic design

The specific and unique design of the aseptic blow molder module features three distinct zones: the electrical components are located above the sterile zone and any apparatus that requires lubrication is below. Everything inside the isolator is chemical-resistant and can be sterilized with VHP, which is also used to treat the air pipes and stretching rod housings before starting the production cycle. Periodically, a foaming cycle followed by a water rinse can also be performed.

The aseptic stretch blowing process

During operation, a standard stretch rod moves up and down in a non-sterile environment, entering the molds and touching the preform/bottles. The Airstar AS includes a patented magnetic joint that allows the stretching rods movement inside an aseptic housing, sterilized with VHP, ensuring that the stretching rod remains sterile when touching the sterilized preforms. The magnetic joint between an internal magnet connected to the stretching rod inside the aseptic housing and an external one connected with a standard moving system by an electrical motor also enables the magnets to disengage automatically if a preform jams during the stretching phase.

The preform blowing process is done with sterile air; this requires both the use of microfiltration to sterilize the air and VHP to sterilize the piping. For this reason, GEA has developed a patented air blowing block that can be sterilized to maintain high levels of reactivity and reliability and decrease the pressure drop and dead volume.

 

Molds changeover

Molds changeover is done in a specific, isolated area under laminar air flow conditions. The assembly system enables operators to change molds easily. After the changeover, the system performs a rapid cycle of VHP sterilization before aseptic production is restarted.

Benefits:

  • Blowing wheel enclosed in a sterile zone
  • The clearly identified sterile zone has minimal surfaces, facilitating cleaning and sterilization before starting a new production cycle
  • Sterile stretching rods maintain preform sterility
  • A dedicated clean area for aseptic mold changeover; any other operation is done outside the sterile zone
  • No risk of losing sterility for freshly-blown bottle during transfer to the aseptic filler
  • Full aseptic synchronized configuration that guarantees complete control, safety and integrity for every batch