Spin-welding technology creates shelf-stable probiotic beverages

By Nichola Murphy
Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Karma has used Emerson’s spin-welding technology to create shelf-stable mix-to-drink probiotic beverages that will soon be available in the US consumer market.

Probiotic cultures, known as ‘good bacteria’, are associated with supporting immune and digestive health. However, they usually come in the form of refrigerated products such as yoghurts or probiotic drinks. This is due to the fact that they are typically premixed with water before bottling, which makes the probiotic ingredients susceptible to deterioration due to moisture, UV rays, oxygen or heat.

However, Karma Wellness Water does not require refrigeration, which makes Karma’s beverages unique. They feature a screw-on base with a sealed upper capsule that contains the dry probiotic cultures, known as the KarmaCap. It protects dry probiotic cultures until consumers choose to dispense them into their beverage with the push of a button.

The sealed upper capsule works because the spin-welding technology joins circular thermoplastic parts by applying pressure and a spinning motion that generates heat to melt and fuse them together without impacting the probiotics inside. This creates an airtight seal between the upper capsule and the screw-on cap base that prevents premature mixing or leaking.

The mix-to-drink probiotic beverages have been created in response to the increasing demand for complex packaging that allows more convenient, on-the-go products.

“The KarmaCap design, sealed with Branson spin-welding technology, has been vital to our ability to deliver the only shelf-stable probiotic water available,” said CJ Rapp, CEO of Karma Culture LLC. “The factor of shelf stability is important for retailers who may have little to no refrigerated space. And it’s ideal for consumers’ busy lifestyles. They now can toss one of our beverages, like Karma Probiotics, into a briefcase or gym bag, knowing that it will retain potency, even without refrigeration.”

Therefore, Karma chose to partner with Emerson on this design based on its wide range of Branson plastic welding and joining solutions that have aided food and beverage packaging since 1947. The company needed to produce a quick and effective manufacturing process for its cap design.

The KarmaCap manufacturing process features automated production using Emerson’s Branson SW300 servo-driven spin welders which improve production efficiency and eliminate nearly all rejects.

Jeff Frantz, director of North American Business Development for Branson Assembly Technologies at Emerson, explained: “Our relationship as a trusted partner to Karma rather than merely a supplier fostered a productive collaboration that enabled us to truly understand the Karma team’s vision and deliver a customised solution that utilised our spin-welding technology to produce a cap that met their requirements.”

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