Filling Lines – Aseptic Aseptic filling modules

GEA offers a range of volumetric electronic filling modules that meet stringent sterile environment requirements. A wide variety of drinks can be filled, including high and low acid, still and carbonated beverages, with and without pulps, fibers or pieces.

The filling of sensitive beverages demands high levels of hygiene and safety. GEA aseptic filling modules manage any possible risk to the product by paying special attention to environmental control and optimizing performance in terms of speed, accuracy and flexibility. Both PET and HDPE bottles can be filled with all GEA fillers.

The filling modules are enclosed in a microbiological isolator in which the environment is cleaned and sterilized prior to production. The sterility is maintained during production with overpressure sterile air that’s supplied by an air management system equipped with double HEPA filters.

The GEA range of aseptic filling modules includes:

  • Fillstar FX
  • Fillstar CX
  • Fillstar PX piston doser.

They can all be paired with GEA PAA-based or H2O2-based aseptic sterilization systems.

 

Benefits:

  • Automatic dummy bottle insertion and extraction for closed-loop clean-in-place (CIP) and sterilize-in-place (SIP) procedures
  • Redundant HEPA filters supply sterile air to the microbiological isolator to offer the same protection level required by FDA regulations
  • On-board tank design reduces product loss during changeover
  • Bottle format changeover can be done without losing sterility 

The Fillstar FX range of aseptic volumetric electronic filling modules, supplied with magnetic flow meters, is suitable for a wide range of still products.

The Fillstar FX series is suitable for high or low acid, clear or viscous products, and those with pulps, fibers and/or pieces up to 6 x 6 x 6 mm in size.

Aseptic filling of still products

Product is gravity fed to the filling valves from a sterile buffer tank located on top of the filling carousel. Each filling valve is equipped with a magnetic flow meter that regulates the quantity of liquid according to the container size. A dual-speed design (slow speed mode is used at the beginning and end of the filling cycle) enables foam-sensitive products to be filled without unwanted turbulence.

The product filling circuits are steam sterilized; the system — with no contact between the nozzle and the bottle during filling — allows for safe and reliable aseptic production.

FX range of electronic filling valves

  • FX filling valve: specifically designed for still, clear products
  • FX P EVO filling valve: for still products with and without pulps and fibers (up to 3 x 20 mm)
  • FX C EVO filling valve: for still products, both clear or with pulps, fibers and pieces up to 6 x 6 x 6 mm

 

The Fillstar CX aseptic volumetric electronic filling module can fill both still and carbonated drinks in aseptic conditions, including clear products and those containing pulps and fibers.

The Fillstar CX is optimized to aseptically fill carbonated liquids (with contact between the bottle and filling nozzle), as well as the aseptic filling of still liquids (with no nozzle-to-bottle contact).

Rapid changeovers

The Fillstar CX has the ability to switch from a “no-contact” filling process to a “contact” one — and vice versa — without the need to shut down the system for mechanical adjustment. Changeover times that typically take more than 3 hours are effectively eliminated.

The filling parameters related to the specific product are predetermined and can be recalled using the machine’s control system without interrupting the sterile bottling process.

The Fillstar CX can aseptically fill both high acid and low acid beverages, including those containing particles and fibers, and can handle carbonated products with a wide range of CO2 content.
 

The aseptic filling of beverages with large particles is performed by a system comprising two different modules: the aseptic piston doser Fillstar PX can be combined with the Fillstar FX or the Fillstar CX for the flexible production of still and carbonated beverages containing large particles.

The Aseptic Dual Filling System is suitable for sensitive beverages, both high and low acid, that contain pulps, fibers and pieces of fruit or cereals with dimensions up to 10 x 10 x 10 mm.

Aseptic cold dosing for fruit and cereals

Most drinks on the market that contain solid particles are filled into bottles or cans using a hot fill technique or are sterilized, after filling, in an autoclave. However, this presents a number of problems: the heat treatment — which requires to be adequate to reach the core of the solid pieces — can affect the taste and the nutritional properties of the drink. As such, containers must be sufficiently robust to withstand the temperatures and pressures involved in the process without distortion. In addition, the whole process is extremely energy inefficient.

The aseptic Dual Filling System developed by GEA can be used to fill lightweight plastic bottles, in a cold-fill environment, with minimal energy consumption and the required level of dosing accuracy.

The aseptic Dual Filling System has two separate filling modules, both located inside the same microbiological isolator; the first doses the solid particles and the second completes the aseptic filling process by adding the clear liquid product.

GEA Aseptic Piston Doser with pieces
The aseptic piston doser Fillstar PX is coupled with the Fillstar FX or Fillstar CX filling module that complete the process by adding the clear liquid product.

The Dual Filling System requires a two-stream process line: one dedicated to the thermal treatment of the pieces and one for the clear liquid that preserves their organoleptic and nutritional properties.

Thanks to an extensive experience with this type of application, GEA can offer an effective solution by combining the aseptic piston doser Fillstar PX with GEA thermal treatment technologies to optimize both solid particle dosing accuracy and integrity.

 

Benefits:

  • The aseptic Piston Doser Fillstar PX handles the whole bottling process, eliminating the need for downstream heat treatment or beverage overheating.
  • Energy costs are dramatically reduced.
  • Extreme flexibility when preparing products containing fruit, hard or soft particles, pulps and fibers.