For this type of test, the Ampack Technikum offers not only a laboratory,
but also test stands and a small, aseptic filling machine that can also
be rented. It allows manufacturers to fill small test batches to determine
how merchants and consumers respond to their product and its packaging
while still in the development phase.
Technological answers to ecological questions
This is most exciting when it comes to testing packaging solutions that
do not even exist yet, or adapting packaging for new applications. “For
instance, in the future, yogurt cups might have a completely different
shape or be made of a different material. Our goal is to use our extensive
portfolio and expertise to find technological answers to ecological
questions,” Tomschi explains. Research into sustainable materials and
accompanying test series are intended to find alternatives to conventional
plastics, and to improve the recyclability of packaging so as to
reduce plastic litter.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is frequently used in the food sector.
It retains its shape even at high temperatures, and its excellent barrier
properties ensure a long shelf life. At the same time, PET offers a popular
alternative for packaging material thanks to its recyclability, but is difficult
to sterilize using hydrogen peroxide. Effective sterilization and processability
can be achieved with the right combination of various machine
parameters and material properties.
Basic research remains a vital component
The complex interactions between these parameters are at the heart of
Leonie Kempf’s doctoral dissertation. As a food technology specialist,
she works at Syntegon’s Technikum and is the first doctoral candidate to
ever work at the Königsbrunn site. She is currently investigating the various
parameters that influence the sterilization of packaging, especially
those that are relevant for hydrogen peroxide-based sterilization. For this
purpose, a testing unit at the Ampack Technikum was completely redesigned
and equipped with various monitoring sensors. The unit is ideally
suited for research, as it can be quickly and easily refitted to accommodate
cups, bottles, large and small containers, and various formats;
it can also be used to run sterilization tests for customers’ packaging
designs. Leonie Kempf’s first question is always: how can this bottle or
cup be effectively sterilized, while using as few resources as possible?
“There is a broad range of influences and effects to bear in mind, depending
on the material and package form,” she says. The testing unit
Packaging ¦ IDM
Syntegon’s Ampack Technikum in Königsbrunn
The future of filling is taking shape in a former warehouse at the Königsbrunn
site of Syntegon, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology. The site is
home to production halls in which Ampack packaging machines for filling
liquid and viscous food products have been manufactured for over 40
years. The 450-square-meter technical center was completely renovated
in 2018, at a cost of roughly one million euros, and supplied with cuttingedge
equipment. Today the Technikum is a key research and development
center for the dairy, food and beverage industries. The microbiological lab
is used for assessing packaging and machine sterilization, while the main
hall features an aseptic filling machine and various test stands that replicate
the functions of large filling facilities. To evaluate customers’ new
products, not only microbiological and chemical-technical tests are offered,
but also research and development services, e.g. to validate specific
functions, modules and applications.
The Ampack Technikum features an aseptic filling machine,
which can be used to fill small batches for testing
purposes (photo: Syntegon)
As a doctoral candidate at Syntegon’s Königsbrunn site, Leonie
Kempf is investigating in the sterilization of packaging
materials (photo: Syntegon)
is also connected to a digital recording system, the results of which she
subsequently analyses with the aid of the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting,
Composite and Processing Technology (IGCV).
New formats for new products
The future of packaging viscous products will depend on basic research,
and on concrete development work. Food manufacturers can benefit from
using a highly realistic setting to clarify many of the questions involved in
introducing a new product in advance. Does the filling work smoothly?
Are sterile conditions maintained? Does the sealing quality meet our expectations?
What are the preferred dosing pattern and outcome? Testing
a proposed fine-tuning for a large facility on a small scale in advance offers
a significant advantage: afterwards, it can be directly and safely carried out
at the manufacturer’s plant.
“Our goal is to promote a more sustainable and flexible processing
and packaging industry. To do so, we need not only our own experts, but
also the support of our partners and customers. By collaborating with
them, we can develop and implement innovative packaging solutions and
more efficient processes. Together, we can assess the entire process, from
start to finish,” summarizes Korbinian Tomschi.
November/December 2020 ¦ international-dairy.com · 33