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The Future of Aseptic

What's the meaning and the value of technology forecasting?

Ideally we would like to have technology forecasting for Aseptic Filling just like the weather forecasts we are used to seeing every day in newspapers or TV just to answer typical quantitative 4W’s questions: what – when – where – why. 

For example: 

  • What is the growth potential of a given engineering system?
  • What Aseptic Filling system will replace the existing one in future?
  • Which evolutionary scenario should be selected from an identified comprehensive set of scenarios to make it a winner?
The evidence is that all evolutionary trajectories have to be in accordance with Sustainable Development (SD), that means being able to satisfy both the sociological-environmental-economic and technological aspects. 
"Prediction is very difficult… especially if it’s about the future”
Niels Bohr

Sociological context

The sociological context depends on what kind of society we are referring to: in the middle of the Antarctic nobody would study and develop a new generation of refrigerator! However, in every kind of society it is important to evaluate the political context (e.g. security and energy supply, energy independence, fiscal & regulatory policies, local and global environmental policies), the educational context (e.g. manpower capacity, existing skills), the employment context (manpower availability and its cost) and the public acceptance of new technology (e.g. safety and public comfort).

Economic context

The Economic context has a central importance in new technology development and diffusion. The growth of the middle classes in developing nations has increased the demand for aseptic beverages in bottles and will continue to drive new developments in the future.

It is always very important to evaluate a country’s economic growth to forecast the possible need of technology and what kind of technology could be required. Moreover, nowadays, the cost of energy is an essential element in the economy of a process; the energy cost and profitability (which change area by area) and the energy production context (e.g. distributed power, centralised one…) need to be studied.

Food safety is a strong requirement of beverages consumers and a major driver for Aseptic Technology
Fig.10.1. Food safety is a strong requirement of beverages consumers and a major driver for Aseptic Technology

Technological context

To introduce a new technology in a market it is important to take into consideration the technological context of the country concerned as compatibility with the existing infrastructure (transport links for the installation of plant), industrial structure (e.g. local environmental policies) and technological challenges and safety issues, etc. all need to be assessed.

Environmental context

In recent years the environmental topic has become increasingly important because people have realised that natural resources are limited and are developing a real environmental awareness about global warming, air quality and noise pollution. The technology of the future has to take in account and respect this new aspect. It has to be developed with care towards the space that it’s taking up (largely that of agriculture), natural resources use (e.g. materials, energy, water…) while ensuring operator safety and the long-term reproducibility of the process.

Major drivers

To have good technology forecasting it is necessary to try to identify drivers (what pulls) & barriers (what blocs) for Aseptic Filling Technical System (TS) evolution.

A reasonable and trustworthy ranking list of 4 major drivers could be:

  • Food Safety
    This is a must in the food industry and is a strong requirement of beverages consumers. The technology of the future will not use preservatives or leave any kind of chemical residuals; ideally it will be a no-chemical treatment technology!
    To eliminate or reduce chemical treatment the performance criteria based on acceptable Probability of producing a Non Sterile Unit would be helped by better control of initial contamination (bioburden).
  • Flexibility
    Flexibility is of basic importance for beverage producers in terms of freedom of bottle shape, ultrafast packaging, product changeover and increased overall equipment effectiveness. The flexibility of a line increases if there are no additional units between the process main function (blowing – filling – capping).
  • TCO
    A favourable Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is probably the first requirement for a decision maker when buying new equipment; a new technology has ideally to offer a break-even of 2 years or less and a packaging decontamination cost < 0.5 € /1000 pieces.
  • Sustainability
    Sustainability is gaining in importance and a new technology has to be aligned with it: it has to offer zero water footprint, less packaging material and no limit to packaging lightweighting.
Putting all this in practice we can begin to predict the possible design of Aseptic Filling lines of the future:

  • Full process integration (from Pellets to Pallets):
    • In-line injection/compression moulding of preforms and closures;
    • Preforms and closures intermediate buffering system under contamination control conditions at a preliminary stage.
  • Less demanding packaging decontamination processes (contamination control concept):
    • Preforms volumetric heating at variable speed (no impact on packaging internal bioburden);
    • Preform decontamination during bottle blowing without chemicals.
  • Reduction of aseptic area within the physical limits of the bottle internal surface.
  • Packaging full recyclability (100%):
    • One polymer for both bottle and cap;
    • No additional physical label (2D printing tech).
  • Simplified recycling process in house close to bottling line:
    • Bottle to bottle concept (B2B).

As Aseptic Filling technology becomes the Standard, so it will create a bigger market share by extending the technology to other fields (CSD, hot fill, ESL, etc.) and, in so doing, unlocks new demand through innovation.

An aseptic bottling line is an integrated system, the performance and efficiency of which are influenced by different aspects
Fig.10.2. An aseptic bottling line is an integrated system, the performance and efficiency of which are influenced by different aspects


  1. Introduction
  2. 1.Markets, opportunities, a comparison of the technologies
    1. 1.1. “High acid” and “Low acid” beverages
    2. 1.2. Juices and Nectars
    3. 1.3. Sport Drinks
    4. 1.4. Tea and infusions
    5. 1.5. Functional Beverages
    6. 1.6. Milk-based products
    7. 1.6.1. UHT Milk
    8. 1.7. Historical perspective: Evolution of the technology from the Roman era to our day and age
    9. 1.7.1. "Aseptic" technology in the Roman era
    10. 1.7.2. The Roman "filling, capping and storage process"
    11. 1.8. Technologies to meet market demand
    12. 1.8.1. Use of preservatives
    13. 1.8.2. Hot fill
    14. 1.8.3. Ultra-clean filling
    15. 1.8.4. Aseptic Filling
    16. 1.8.5. Aseptic Blow Filling
    17. 1.9. Advantages and disadvantages of containers for beverages
    18. 1.9.1. Glass
    19. 1.9.2. Polylaminate carton
    20. 1.9.3. PET
    21. 1.9.4. HDPE
    22. 1.9.5. Cans
    23. 1.9.6. Pouches
    24. 1.10. Caps, closures, fitments
  3. 2.The right direction of sustainability
    1. 2.1. Material
    2. 2.2. Energy
    3. 2.3. Space
    4. 2.4. Time
  4. 3.Thermal treatment for product
    1. 3.1. Heat Exchangers for Liquid Products
    2. 3.1.1. Plate Heat Exchanger
    3. 3.1.2. Single Tube Heat Exchanger
    4. 3.1.3. Multi Tube Heat Exchanger
    5. 3.1.4. Triple Tube Heat Exchanger
    6. 3.1.5. Spiral Tube Heat Exchangers
    7. 3.1.6. Scraped Surface Heat Exchangers
    8. 3.2. Indirect and Direct Heating
    9. 3.3. Direct Heating UHT and ESL Designs
    10. 3.3.1. Direct Injection
    11. 3.3.2. Direct infusion
    12. 3.4. The best heat exchanger for your application
    13. 3.4.1. Heat Damage to food
    14. 3.4.2. System Selection Criteria
    15. 3.5. Conclusions
  5. 4.Understanding aseptic filling technology
    1. 4.1. Aseptic technology: an integrated system, not a series of connected machines.
    2. 4.2. Structure of an aseptic filling line
    3. 4.2.1. Sterilization
    4. 4.2.2. Container sterilization
    5. 4.3. Treatment of containers
    6. 4.3.1. Peroxyacetic Acid (POAA or PAA)
    7. 4.3.2. H2O2
    8. 4.4. PAA WET container sterilization
    9. 4.5. PAA vapour container sterilization
    10. 4.6. H2O2 CHP container sterilization
    11. 4.7. H2O2 VHP container sterilization
    12. 4.8. Preform sterilization technology
    13. 4.8.1. CHP sterilization
    14. 4.8.2. VHP sterilization
    15. 4.9. Cap sterilization technology
    16. 4.9.1. PAA spray sterilization
    17. 4.10. PAA immersion sterilization
    18. 4.10.1. CHP sterilization
    19. 4.10.2. VHP sterilization
    20. 4.10.3. Pre-sterilized caps handling
    21. 4.11. Energy-based sterilization without chemicals
    22. 4.11.1. UV light sterilization
    23. 4.11.2. Pulsed light sterilization
    24. 4.11.3. Ionizing radiation Sterilization
    25. 4.11.4. Electron beam sterilization
    26. 4.12. Aseptic Filling
    27. 4.12.1. Volumetric electronic filling
    28. 4.12.2. Weight filling
    29. 4.12.3. Other filling technologies
    30. 4.13. Capping
    31. 4.14. Bottle handling
    32. 4.15. Ancillary process equipment
    33. 4.15.1. Sterilizing solution production
    34. 4.16. Sterile water production
    35. 4.16.1. Utilities and fluids handling
    36. 4.16.2. CIP, SIP, COP, SOP
    37. 4.16.3. Integration of ancillary process units
    38. 4.16.4. Piping
    39. 4.16.5. Simplification of line handling
    40. 4.16.6. Radiation-based fluids sterilization
    41. 4.17. Line automation
  6. 5.Your new Aseptic Line
    1. 5.1. Preliminary Checklist
    2. 5.1.1. Volumes
    3. 5.1.2. Products
    4. 5.1.3. Design
    5. 5.1.4. Costs
    6. 5.1.5. Centralising production
    7. 5.2. Evaluation of the investment
    8. 5.2.1. Choose according to your own needs: the value curve
    9. 5.2.2. How to measure the performances of an aseptic line
  7. 6.Good maintenance: the best way to preserve the value of the investment
    1. 6.1. Service Culture
    2. 6.2. TPM
  8. 7.Improved safety: for the product, for operators and for the environment
    1. 7.1. Microbic Contamination
    2. 7.2. Contamination Control
    3. 7.3. Microbiological Isolator
    4. 7.4. Air Filtration
    5. 7.5. Differential Pressures
  9. 8.Aseptic filling and FDA
    1. 8.1. FDA Validation
    2. 8.2. Electronic Validation
    3. 8.2.1. GAMP 4 Module
    4. 8.3. Paper Recording vs Electronic Recording
  10. 9.Sell Aseptic to sell "more" and sell "better"
  11. 10.The Future of Aseptic
  12. Conclusions
  13. Addendum
    1. 1. Thermal treatment for products

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The ultimate guide for the beverage industry decision-makers. Investigating the future market challenges, understanding the technology that can be used to anticipate them and turn them into a successful business.

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