IDM ¦ Packaging
The right packaging equipment
for liquid and viscous food products
From yogurt to baby food, the range of liquid and viscous food
products is growing steadily. Dairies and food manufacturers are
continuously defending and expanding their market share with
fresh ideas. This also poses new challenges for packaging solutions.
Consumers expect cups and containers that are produced
as sustainably as possible, without compromising product protection or
shelf life. At the same time, food manufacturers want a packaging process
that is as fast, safe, precise and hygienic as possible. Expert technical support
is therefore indispensable to make the right choices.
A variety of questions can arise in the context of new packaging designs.
Is the packaging optimally suited to the product, or are there better
alternatives? Do the packaging’s barrier properties offer sufficient product
protection and shelf life? What degree of sterilization does the packaging
machine need to deliver, and which sterilization methods are best suited
to the task? And lastly: will consumers want to buy the product? “Sustainably
developing new products requires close partnerships between food
manufacturers, material suppliers, and machinery manufacturers like us,”
says Korbinian Tomschi, Head of Process Technology at Syntegon Technology
in Königsbrunn, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology. Tomschi is also
Head of Syntegon’s Ampack Technikum, which offers a testing center to
help answer these questions.
Dairies and food manufacturers that want to conduct filling trials
don’t normally have the requisite resources to aseptically fill new products
on an experimental scale. Using their own filling and packaging equipment
isn’t an option, since the throughput rate would be far too high, and
interrupting their normal production would be cost-prohibitive. Small testing
facilities are the answer, especially when they are operated by machinery
manufacturers like Syntegon, with the required expertise and testing
centers like the Ampack Technikum. Here, sterilization, dosing precision,
and sealing can be tested on a small scale, before taking the step of refitting
existing machines or constructing new ones.
Testing under real-life conditions
When it comes to sterilization, testing is essential, particularly for manufacturers
and packagers of delicate products like baby food. The sterilization
of new cups or packaging materials can be effectively assessed at
testing labs like the Ampack Technikum in Königsbrunn. After all, new
chillecontainers can only be used in production when and if they meet the
hygienic requirements and can be reliably sterilized during the packaging
process. The necessary settings are determined at the pilot facility and
subsequently transferred to the customer’s own production systems. This
yields the optimal decontamination process for the respective product.
Microbiological and chemical tests are one way to answer key questions
in packaging design – mechanical and mechatronic tests are another.
For example, when a consumer grabs a cup of yogurt from the
chiller cabinet, he or she assumes that it actually contains the 150 grams
of product that it claims to. And dosing precision is just as important for
manufacturers, since product waste harms both their profitability and the
environment. Consequently, food manufacturers who plan to purchase or
refit filling systems are well advised to experiment with the best settings
for dosing their product on a small scale. Especially for complicated filling
tasks like layered desserts, test dosing runs like those offered at the Ampack
Technikum can be extremely helpful.
In turn, perfect sealing is indispensable for ensuring product hygiene
and optimal shelf life. Sealing tests are used to gauge, optimize and
validate the sealing performance of new packaging products. New and
unconventional sealing solutions are required especially in combination
with highly recyclable monomaterials. In this context, representative
tests conducted under real conditions will lead to the right decisions in
the packaging process.
To ensure that newly designed cups can be reliably sterilized,
their forms and/or packaging materials can be evaluated at
testing labs like the Ampack Technikum (photo: Syntegon)
32 · November/December 2020 ¦ international-dairy.com