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Dairy launches first PET bottle for UHT milk

By Mike Stones , 21-Sep-2009

French dairy company LSDH is claiming a world first for the launch of the PET bottle for UHT milk using dry decontamination technology.

PET bottles, made using Sidel’s Predis technology, allows the dairy to reduce the weight of its bottles by 20 per cent and make significant savings in chemicals and water, a Sidel spokesperson told FoodProductionDaily.com. “The key to this novel technology is that, unlike traditional processes, it works by decontaminating not the bottles but the preforms.”

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) vapor is sprayed on the interior surfaces of the preforms and then activated by the heat used in the blow-molding process. This decontamination makes it possible to increase product quality and shelf life and to ensure total food safety until the expiry date, said the spokesperson. The process uses only a small amount of chemicals and virtually no water, she added.

Decontamination system

The dairy’s new line, incorporating the Predis dry decontamination system, is said to be a first for sensitive beverages with neutral pH value. The system features the Combi Predis FMa; a compact machine for blow-molding bottles, filling and capping them, specifically for sensitive products under aseptic conditions.

The plant packages part-skim, skim and whole milk in 1 and 1.5-litre bottles with a product shelf life of three to four months at room temperature.

Packaging milk is challenging because the product is destroyed easily by light, microbes and air. Dry decontaminated PET bottles have helped the dairy overcome these problems in an environmentally-friendly way, claimed Sidel.

The dry decontamination technology is also said to deliver fast output and enhanced flexibility for multiple product changes. LSDH carries out product changes three or four times a week on the same line. The line runs 24 hours a day, six days a week, in order to bottle short runs and promotional products.

Bottle weight

It was the technology’s environmental benefits that persuaded the dairy to choose the Predis system, according to its CEO Emmanuel Vasseneix. “The dry decontamination system consumes very little disinfectant and it reduces water consumption to next to nothing. It also allowed us to reduce the bottle weight from 28 to 24 grams,” he said. In future the dairy hopes to cut bottle weight to 22gms.

He believes PET has significant advantages compared with other milk bottling materials. “PET offers better protection from odours than HDPE. It also allowed us initially to produce a bottle lighter than 30 grams, which is the weight of the traditional 1-litre HDPE bottle. Since we have been able to replace the traditional aluminum seal with a water-tight lid, we are contributing to waste elimination. Using PET therefore helps us to meet our company’s eco-design requirements.”