Clean machine

Packaging Professional magazine
27 May 2012
test tubes

An aseptic packaging technology that uses hydrogen peroxide could reduce the build-up of bacteria on packaging machinery.

An aseptic packaging technology could prevent micro-organisms found in dairy products and juices causing spoilage and food poisoning. The process reduces the build-up of bacteria on machine parts, leaving packaging machinery cleaner than traditional methods, according to Belgian company Solvay.

In part, the technology involves using hydrogen peroxide as a sterilising agent. ‘Hydrogen peroxide is highly effective because of its strong oxidising properties,’ says Madeline French, Technical Marketing Manager at Solvay. ‘Upon contact with cells, hydrogen peroxide reacts with membrane lipids and proteins and causes cell membrane rupture. This mode of action results in the killing of a wide range of micro-organisms, including bacterial spores.’

The hydrogen peroxide solution can be applied to the packaging material either using a bath or by spraying. Traditional aseptic processes often clog spray nozzles and build-up can occur on machine surfaces. ‘These tenacious deposits negatively impact the performance of the aseptic machine by reducing machine running time and production, increasing maintenance costs and decreasing heat transfer efficiency,’ she adds.

Instead, French claims that Solvay’s solution could cut downtime and reduce the total cost of ownership of equipment for packagers. ‘The high purity of the [solution] reduces build-up of deposits or encrustations on aseptic machine parts such as nozzles, rollers, conveyors and heaters,’ adds French. ‘This also means reduced cleaning time and less frequent replacement of parts.’

Solvay is also conducting research into new stabiliser systems for hydrogen peroxide products for aseptic packaging. French explains, ‘Our principle is to work in partnership with original equipment manufacturers and customers to achieve safe and effective peroxide products that minimise machine downtime and maximise efficacy’.