Tetra Pak claims to have cut the development time of its recently launched Tetra Evero Aseptic carton bottle by years through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and experimental fluid dynamics (EFD).
CFD and EFD involve the use of numerical methods and algorithms to simulate, analyse and solve problems involving fluid flow.
According to Tetra Pak technology specialist Ulf Lindblad, the firm used this technology to test and create the final design of the carton bottle and optimise the development of an alternative sterilisation process for the new pre-formed Tetra Evero Aseptic carton bottle.
The Tetra Evero Aseptic, which is the first aseptic carton bottle for milk, was launched by the Switzerland-based firm earlier this year.
The use of CFD and EFD cut the total development time of the carton from years to months, Lindblad added.
Drastically decrease time
By applying the technology, Tetra Pak was first able to test and create the final shape of the Tetra Evero Aseptic carton.
“This allowed us to drastically decrease the time it took to deliver the product to the market and ensure costs were minimised in the R&D process. Crucially, it also allowed our R&D team to be bold in experimenting with product design for the benefits of our customers,” said Lindblad.
CFD simulation later came into play when Tetra Pak began developing an alternative mechanism to sterilise the Tetra Evero Aseptic carton and the aseptic chamber of the filling machine.
Using the CFD and EFD technology, the firm was able to simulate the flow of sterilising gas and establish the “optimum sterile conditions." According to Lindblad, simulating the flow of gas using these methods significantly sped up the product’s “release to market.”
“The ability to simulate the flow of gas in both the package and the filling machine – to ensure optimum sterile conditions – cuts development time from years to months, speeding up products release to market,” said Lindblad.
Optimised gas sterilisation
Traditionally, flat-packed cartons are sterilised through a process of rolling them through a hot liquid hydrogen peroxide bath.
The Tetra Evero Aseptic carton bottle is, however, pre-formed. So Tetra Pak developed an innovative gas-phased sterilisation technique to address the challenge posed by the carton’s unique shape.
The processed developed by Tetra Pak, with the assistance of CFD and EFD technology, involves passing the pre-formed cartons through the aseptic chamber where they are exposed to hydrogen peroxide in gas form on both the inside and out. The gas is then vented from the carton.
To achieve this, CFD was used to analyse and then optimise the transport of the sterilising gas into the Tetra Evero Aseptic carton.
“Through trialling and testing the flow of gas, Tetra Pak developed a now patented feature, the active nozzle. The new nozzle within the Tetra Pak A6 iLine filling machine allows gas to flow and sterilise every part of the machine as well as the aseptic chamber. In doing this, it assures effective package sterilisation,” Lindblad added.