The share of fruit juices filled in PET-containers has increased heavily in the past. Glas- and cartonpackaging have lost in there importance.
Manufacturers of fruit juice packing in PET-containers are facing a conflict of intrest. The major market share is covered by very few supplieres in the market. The reason can be found in the existing filling technology. Aseptic filling is mainly used for large quantities. An investment of more than 8 mio Euros for an aseptic filling line can only be accumulated with a large output. The risks of this technology should also be considered. Maintaining a germ-free environment within the filling process can become a technical challenge. Other parts of the world already prefer the hotfilling method.
In order to fill a PET-bottle with hot liquid specially designed bottles are needed. To withstand temperatures between 80-90°C the bottles need to be manufactured in a special blow-moulding process. Besides the tension-induced crystallinity the PET-bottles additionally need the so called "thermal crystallinity".
One critical disadvantage of the so called "HOTFILL-technology" were the limited design possibilities.
To counterbalance the volume shrinkage of the bottle, they needed to be equipped with a panel structure. Therefor these bottles are usually sleeved. The sleeve achieves it's optical effekt but can be 4 times more expensive in comparison to a paper label.
E-proPLAST GmbH has developed a hot-fillable, disposable PET-bottle which does not differ from the design of an aseptic filled PET-bottle. It is a 1L-bottle which has got a smooth outer surface. These types of bottles can be found in the German market since the year 2007.
The design results from a combination of the special HEATSET blow moulding process and a modified glass filling line. Besides the benificial design the weight of these bottles can be reduced with this technology and therefore the costs.
Nowadays it is possible to produce a 1L HOTFILL-bottle with 40g. The weight of a 330ml panelless HOTFILL-bottle is down to a weight of 21,5g.
The benifits of the hotfilling technology are:
• aseptic filling lines with an investment of more than 8 mio Euros are only profitable when large quantities are filled.
• the HOTFILL-technology is absolute safe. The technology is easy to handle and operate.
• existing glas filling lines can be converted with relatively simple instruments. Espeacially small and medium sized organizations are able to fill fruit juices in PET.
With the panelless HOTFILL-bottles popular fruit juices such as orange-, fruitpunch- and applejuices can be processed. Depending on the product a shelf-life between 9 and 12 months can be achived.
Depending on the specifications of your existing glass filling line additional conveyors between bottleinput and rinser/filler might be needed.
For your rinser, filler and labeling machine product specific components are necessary.
In addition depending on the way of packing investments have to be made at this part of the machine.
The graphic below shows required components needed to convert a glas filling machine into a PET-HOTFILL filling machine.
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