Procomac, the Italian processing equipment provider, has just shipped the first orders for its new hot fill equipment to beverage plants in China and Switzerland.
According to Procomac, hot fill is a tried and tested technology, which the company says is easier to manage, particularly in the hands of unskilled operators; moreover, the installation of hot fill lines can be useful for medium or low annual bottle production batches.
Although a leader in aseptic technology, Procomac has developed the specifically designed fillstar HF gravity filler especially for hot filling. Procomac developed the equipment in close partnership with a number of its leading customers. The culmination of the project is, according to the company, a considerable level of versatility. Key to this versatility is the fact that the filling head can be adapted for brimful filling or level filling with a simple operation and without tools.
Another important feature of Fillstar HF is that closed-loop product re-circulation can be carried out in several different ways, according to the type of product and type of container. This also means that minimal product re-circulation is necessary because the filling head can remain closed, allowing for a high temperature to be maintained.
Procomac says that an optional version of the filling head features a bottle decompression system at the end of the filling cycle, which avoids product spillage due to bottle deformation. This system is particularly useful for the filling of square bottles.
A "Proclean" version is also available, which means that the filling environment is kept in an overpressure of sterile air to ensure hygiene.
The first hot fill lines using the filler have been shipped to customers in China - including Jiaduobao, Wahaha and YST - as well as to Granini's Henniez plant in Switzerland.
Procomac is based in Sala Baganza near Parma and manufactures bottling plants. Established in 1979, the company supplies complete lines to meet all bottling needs on a global level. Overall sales for 2001 totalled more than L128 billion - 70 per cent due to foreign sales to 70 countries - and there is a current workforce of more than 330 people.