GEA receives green light for aseptic blow-fill-cap technology

The engineering company has gained FDA approval for its ABF 1.2 technology with fully aseptic rotary blowing machine

With ABF technology, LA and HA aseptic beverages with different shelf lives can be filled on the same system

GEA, a process technology company for the food industry, has gained FDA approval for its ABF 1.2 technology, the solution consists of an integrated blowing, filling and capping solution featuring a fully aseptic rotary blowing machine.

The ABF 1.2 technology is the only system that is allowed to produce shelf-stable low acid (LA) beverages free from preservatives for distribution at ambient temperature in the US market equipped with a 100% aseptic blower.

The FDA clearance confirms that the ABF 1.2 technology ensures maximum sterilisation efficiency and reliability during every step of sensitive beverage bottling.

“The FDA certification is an accolade for the ABF 1.2 technology – the world’s first fully aseptic blow-fill-cap system,” said Alessandro Bellò, Head of Blowing, Filling and Packaging applications at GEA.

“For us technology developers, food safety is our highest priority. That is why we have developed the GEA ABF 1.2, which erases the risk of recontamination of any drinks during filling through fully automated operations. With ABF, we achieve a full decontamination process control that is unique to the market.”

The microbiological isolator aseptically blows preforms that have been previously treated with hydrogen peroxide vapor (VHP). The result is a single zone sterilisation process that requires no water and significantly fewer chemicals.

Massimo Nascimbeni, Product Manager at GEA, said: “We achieve this by placing the aseptic blowing wheel in the same sterile zone where the filling and capping processes are performed. The newly blown sterile bottles are transferred to the filling and capping carousels without leaving the sterile zone. That’s why we do not need any unnecessary H2O2 carry over in the following modules.”

Beverage producers can completely monitor and control the preform sterilisation process with the unique GEA Smart Sensor, which checks the spraying performance of each sterilisation nozzle just before the preforms are treated. The environmental sterilisation process is completely automated requiring no manual intervention from the operator, therefore greatly decreasing any risk of system recontamination.

Bellò said: “Without a doubt, aseptic technology is the safest and most efficient production system for bottling sensitive beverages without preservatives, which never shies away from comparing costs and benefits."

He concluded: "The higher the production volumes, the higher the desired production quality and the higher the need for flexibility in bottle design, the clearer the advantages of aseptic systems become when compared to other solutions. With our ABF 1.2 FDA certification we can finally service customers with VHP based sterilization platforms in the US.”

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GEA Group (more information, website)