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ABF

By GEA Procomac

GEA Procomac ABF is the world's first rotary aseptic blow moulding machine with an integrated aseptic filler and capper.

Its principle is to sterilize the preform, not the formed bottle: after being heated up in the oven at around 100°C, the preforms enter the sterilization wheel where they are sterilized with a controlled flow of Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP). As there is no further treatment on the bottle after blowing, the preforms have to be sterilized both internally and externally in one single step to avoid any risk of cross contamination.

gea abf

The oven treatment is essential since VHP reaches the maximum sterilization efficacy at high temperature. As the preform is made of thicker material it's possible to increase the temperature of the treatment without risk of shrinkage that would affect the shape of the bottle. This allows the weight of the bottle to be kept to an absolute minimum.

Once the preform has been sterilized, it is kept sterile and not re-contaminated thanks to the use of the Microbiological Isolator, introduced in the sensitive beverage industry by GEA Procomac in 1996, which physically separates the dirty mechanical parts from the sterile zone where the blowing wheel is located.

The key design feature of blowing the preforms 'upside down' enables all non-cleanable components to be located outside the sterile zone: electrical components are located above the sterile zone; mechanical components and all components that require lubrication are located below the sterile zone. All surfaces in the sterile zone are accessible and can be cleaned by foaming and sterilized by VHP before starting every production cycle.

GEA Procomac blower is the only Aseptic one in the market, since it is the only blower with a clearly defined sterile zone.

Since all the parts that touch the preform and the bottle have to be sterile before starting production, it is mandatory to have a sterile stretching rod. The system that allow to keep the stretching rods sterile is patented by GEA Procomac. The stretching rod comes in contact with the preform during the stretch blow moulding process, moving vertically from the "dirty" zone where the mechanical components are located and the blowing sterile zone.

gea

The GEA Procomac system allows the stretching rod to be kept inside a sterile housing, sterilized with VHP. The movement is forwarded by a magnetic joint between two magnets: an internal one connected with the stretching rod inside the housing, and an external one connected with a standard moving system by cam and pneumatic actuator.

The blowing process of the sterile preforms is performed with sterile air in a sterile environment, which is maintained continuously in sterile air overpressure. After being turned in the upright position, the sterile bottles are delivered to the filler without any further sterilization/rinsing process, and without leaving the sterile zone.

Thanks to the elimination of the sterilization and rinsing turrets, the whole system is more compact than traditional technology and requires fewer operators.

ABF uses almost no chemicals and energy usage is kept to a minimum. The whole process is designed for maximum efficiency and economy and has the potential to significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for aseptic bottle-filling technology.

ABF is validated for high and low acid products. The range of speed on 1L container goes from 12.000 bph (6 cavities blower) to 48.000 bph (24 cavities blower).

ABF 4C is the Ultra clean version of the Blow-Fill machine. A customized sanitization of the preforms together with a specific caps treatment ensures that the ABF 4C is able to satisfy any clean production need (i.e.: ESL, carbonated juices...).