MULTIVAC puts on the pressure
By Canadian Packaging StaffGeneral High-Pressure Processing HPP Multivac Packaging solutions
The Wolfertschwenden, Germany-headquartered MULTIVAC Group has developed a concept for integrating equipment for the high pressure treatment of foods into fully automatic packaging lines.
The Wolfertschwenden, Germany-headquartered MULTIVAC Group has developed a concept for integrating equipment for the high-pressure processing (HPP) of foods into fully automatic packaging lines.
As a global leader in providing packaging solutions for food products, sterile medical items and other diverse industrial products, MULTIVAC is excited to offer the HPP treatment of foods within the packaging process as a viable option.
As one of the first packaging manufacturers worldwide to master the process, MULTIVAC can offer it not only for vacuum-packaging but also for Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP).
A clear trend towards more naturalness combined with ever increasing requirements by the supervisory authorities for the exclusion of harmful microorganisms from foods has meant that the HPP treatment of packaged foods is gaining in importance.
With the HPP treatment, packaged food is subjected for a sufficiently long period to a high pressure of up to 6,000 bar in a so-called autoclave, which is a lockable and gas tight pressure container. Through this reliable process microorganisms in the food such as listeria and salmonella are killed.
As the process is conducted under ambient temperature, even heat-sensitive food products can be treated and this way be preserved for up to four times longer. At the same time the original nutritional value and taste remain nearly unimpaired.
Comprehensive solution concept
Until now, high-pressure treatment was mostly carried out in a separate manufacturing stage, with the manual loading of product into the high pressure container a not very efficient process.
With some new technical innovations, MULTIVAC has developed a pioneering solution for the line integration of high pressure equipment for the treatment of packaged foods. The solution comprises a high-pressure unit (one or more autoclaves)–developed by ThyssenKrupp‘s sister company Uhde High Pressure Technologies–as well as an automatization concept to integrate the process into packaging lines laid out to meet the demands of the food industry.
Additionally, MULTIVAC offers a high-pressure compatible packaging concept which makes the process suitable for even MAP packs, and it also offers a wide range of services within which customers can receive individually tailored advice and make use of testing facilities.
Highest possible machine throughput
With the integration solution developed by MULTIVAC, the finished food packs are automatically loaded into the transport containers and, following the high-pressure treatment in the autoclave, it is automatically unloaded, dried, printed or labeled if required, and finally packed into cartons.
“This HPP process offers for the first time a way to process large, industrial scale production quantities fully automatically in a quasi continuous operation,” says Tobias Richter, product manager in the Systems Business Group and responsible for high pressure equipment at MULTIVAC.
In order to achieve as high a machine throughput as possible, the available space in the autoclave must be used as intelligently as possible.
“Since the high-pressure equipment is round for reasons of optimizing the distribution of pressure forces, the loading pattern also has to be designed accordingly,” says Richter.
With a favorable pack shape it is possible to handle two to four tonnes of packed food per hour within the high-pressure equipment.
With its extensive know-how and comprehensive range of services MULTIVAC supports its customers in choosing the optimum pack shape, in selecting the packaging materials for the pack and in carrying out the high-pressure process. To help facilitate that, a testing area was built at the Uhde High Pressure Technologies complex, where it also doubles as a place to provide a wide range of advisory services.
High-pressure treatment for MAP packs
As the only such manufacturer to date worldwide, MULTIVAC has also mastered the process for MAP packs. The company designs not only high-pressure stable MAP pack concepts but has also, in cooperation with Uhde High Pressure Technologies, optimized the HPP unit so high pressures in the autoclave are relieved in a controlled manner.
“With the help of so-called ‘holding torque’ we create short rest periods in which the polymer can regenerate. In this way the packaging material is stressed considerably less and retains its functionality even after the high pressure treatment”, says Tobias Richter.
MULTIVAC is a leading provider worldwide of packaging solutions for food products, sterile medical items and diverse industrial products. The motto ‘Better packaging’ reflects the company’s determination to provide each customer with the best possible packaging solution. The industrial machines are tailored consistently to the customers’ individual production and product requirements. The extensive product range includes thermoform packaging machines, traysealers, and vacuum chamber machines.
Founded in 1961, today the MULTIVAC Group has more than 3,000 employees worldwide, including over 1,300 at its headquarters in Wolfertschwenden (Allgäu), where all its machines are designed and assembled. Since its inception, over 115,000 MULTIVAC machines have been sold globally. Subsidiaries and sales offices in 60 countries offer its customers a comprehensive service and sales network.
Further information visit www.MULTIVAC.com.