Filling dairy and juice on the same PET bottling line
One of PepsiCo’s largest franchises — Varun Beverages, part of RJ Corp group — has installed Sidel’s Aseptic Combi Predis technology in its newly established plant in India. The project aims to expand PET bottling capacity and provide production flexibility for the private label milk brand Cream Bell and Pepsi’s Tropicana juice range.
RJS Bagga, RJ Corp Director of Technical & Operations, said managing both juices and dairy products on the same PET packaging line flexibly was essential.
“High-level food safety and hygiene standards were must-have features to answer Pepsi’s demanding quality protocol as well as to pass internal and external validations,” Bagga said.
To face these challenges, RJ Corp decided to install Sidel’s Aseptic Combi Predis, with dry preform sterilisation.
The technology allows the beverage producer to switch easily and safely between four UHT milk flavours and various kinds of juice recipes on the same line.
Sidel said the company was previously producing juices in PET bottles with the hot-fill process and milk in cartons.
The investment in Sidel’s Aseptic Combi Predis marks RJ Corp’s first step into aseptic PET bottling and its first experience with dry preform sterilisation.
Dry preform technology requires no water consumption and is claimed to reduce the use of chemicals significantly.
This is achieved by employing the injection of hydrogen peroxide before the oven.
The project is also new for PepsiCo worldwide regarding the processing and bottling of its high-acid products — the Tropicana juices.
Rohit Sawhney, Sales Director for Sidel India, said RJ Corp chose Sidel because of its long-standing expertise in PET and aseptic technologies.
“Their new line allows for up to 200 hours of continuous production without any stoppages for cleaning, keeping the production running steadily without any compromise on product quality.”
In addition to the Aseptic Combi Predis, the company invested in end-of-line equipment which includes the seamless shrink-wrapper VersaFilm Access and the automatic PalKombi layer-by-layer palletiser. The palletiser has a low-level pallet infeed allowing for easy access and control.
To understand its line operations and maximise overall equipment effectiveness, RJ Corp is also using Sidel’s Efficiency Improvement Tool (EIT).
Since its implementation and validation, the line has been working successfully with an output up to 36,000 bottles per hour. Overall, it expands production capabilities in terms of volume as well as a higher number of SKUs.
Traditionally, in India, milk is packaged in pouches, glass bottles or cartons. By choosing Sidel’s aseptic PET packaging technology, RJ Corp has widened packaging options for its liquid dairy products (LDP).
During the implementation of the packaging line, Sidel helped the company design the new PET bottle using the same shapes and caps for both the milk and the juices. The cap size for all bottle formats is 33 mm, which is a common width for LDP, but uncommon for juices. As a result, Sidel developed and designed a bottle shape in three formats — 200 mL, 500 mL and 1 L.
Cream Bell milk product.
All of the bottle shapes and formats have been qualified internally. They were submitted to Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and on-site validations prior to industrial production in order to ensure the bottles' strength and performance across the supply chain. Sidel also designed specific preforms to reach optimised bottle weight in order to withstand the dry preform sterilisation technology and avoid any thermal stresses on the bottle.
Produced in white monolayer barrier PET, the new packaging ensures a shelf life up to nine months for UHT milk. Furthermore, all the transparent Tropicana juice bottles passed the demanding PepsiCo validation protocols.
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