KHS has launched its second generation of advanced KHS ACF plant technology designed to fill non-returnable PET bottles. And the first ACF line is about to installed at Eckes, one of Europe's leading fruit juice, nectar, and fruit drink producers.
The innovative technology is said to offer users an outstanding solution that combines microbiological safety and maximum flexibility. Added to this are what KHS claims are extensive cost benefits resulting from the comparatively lower cost of bottle materials and savings on preservatives when compared to conventional filling methods.
Among the features that set this second generation of modern KHS ACF plant technology apart is a newly developed clean room concept. A glass insulator containing the aseptic block designed according to aseptic requirements and in which class 100 clean room conditions prevail is enclosed in a specially designed sanitary safety zone.
The rinser, filler, and capper are installed inside the glass insulator that provides an unobstructed view of all machines. The ceiling surface is covered with sterile filters that ensure a constant supply of sterile air. Controlled temperature and humidity prevail both inside the glass insulator as well as in the sanitary safety room. The sterile filters create a laminar flow of sterile air down to the floor. The bottom of the glass insulator is open which means the filtered sterile air enters the sanitary safety room from where it is returned to the filter ceiling through return air ducts. The air conditions in the sanitary safety room itself comply with class 100 clean room requirements.
The additional safety clean room concept is said to be a guarantor for high line availability particularly when operator intervention becomes necessary. KHS claims that extensive sterilisation measures are not necessary even when opening the glass insulator and that it is also possible to implement facilities for quick access at critical points without opening the glass insulator.
By installing this new ACF technology, Eckes is aiming to obtain maximum flexibility. A computer-controlled Innofill DNVF long tube, volumetric pressure filling method is the system used for filling. With this system, it is possible to changeover from non-carbonated to carbonated beverages at the push of a button. Furthermore KHS claims that the systems flexibility also means that there is no problem to implement a volumetric filling system which allows for filling of extremely oxygen-sensitive, high foaming, and high pulp content beverages.
With its second generation ACF technology, KHS says it is aiming to offer a technology that provides maximum microbiological safety coupled with maximum flexibility and defined cost savings, enabling the beverage industry to be well prepared for future demand and trends.