The growing trend to present FMCG’s in innovative glass container design was a key topics for discussion at a one-day seminar held at JBT Corporation’s Belgian facility last month covering the latest developments in glass filling and closing.
Representatives from a range of European food and drink processors were invited to JBT’s site in Sint-Niklaas to learn more about the newest innovations in glass filling from JBT, Crown Packaging (metal covers for glass jars/bottles) and Ardagh Group (glass containers).
As well as the seminar, visitors were able to view a JBT Unifiller at the factory in a configuration dedicated to filling jam and marmalade in glass containers. In addition to superior filling accuracy, the Unifiller features a glass breakage prevention system and is able to Clean-in-Place without disassembling the fill stations.
JBT’s Patrick Schoenaers explained that one of the key advantages offered by the Unifiller was that it could be used equally effectively with cans and plastics, as well as glass.
The JBT Unifiller is not only marketed for jam or marmalade applications, but is customized by JBT to meet particular product requirements and container types, from low viscous products without particles to high viscous products with particles, in metal cans, glass or plastic containers.
“The Unifiller is a high-accuracy filling system that features a hygienic design,” he said. “It offers a very quick changeover between product and format, and can be cleaned in-place without having to dismantle the fill stations.”
Among other topics discussed at the seminar, speakers detailed new innovations in the field of closures for glass jars. Crown’s Orbit cover, for example, is a two-piece metal closure design adapted to allow female consumers, older people and young children to open glass jars far more easily.
The increasing trend among food processors to offer personalised glass jars through embossing, sleaving or the use of color was also high on the seminar agenda during the day-long event.
Above: an example of differentiation by coloring the glass.
“All the companies that were present work principally as private labellers. Nowadays retailers are working hard to improve the image of their own brands and are asking their private labellers to add value – one way of doing that is through innovative designs for personalised glass jars,” Schoenaers concluded.
Almost every product sold in a can – from evaporated milk to soups and tomato purée – needs to be subjected to a high temperature before it leaves the factory floor to eliminate any potential bacterial threat, from botulism to salmonella.
With some systems, this is a labor-intensive process, with batches – or cubes – of cans having to be packed into static cookers, heated up and then cooled down before the next batch can be introduced.
JBT’s Continuous Rotary Sterilizer product line – recognized as an engineering landmark by both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) – is a system that has single-handedly revolutionized can sterilization.
Employing a circular, rotating cylinder and paddle wheels that agitate cans as they are passed through, the Continuous Rotary Sterilizer range is effective, efficient and ensures that contents are thoroughly cooked, eliminating the risk of bacterial contamination.
So successful has the Continuous Rotary Sterilizer line been that approximately half of all the world’s canned goods are now processed using the system.
How it works
“The JBT Continuous Rotary Sterilizer can process most foods filled into a cylindrical can that need a high temperature applied to it,” explains JBT Application Engineering Manager Mike O’Hara.
This covers a wide range of products from milk, fruit juices, soups, many types of fruits and vegetables even including pasta type products. Most products are mixed up in vats and then filled into the container. The container is sealed and then sterilized in the sealed can so no bacteria can get in.
Previous systems used a still cook process where cans would be stacked inside a static vessel and subjected to a high temperature. Typically the problem with this method was inconsistency in the cook between the center and outside of the stack; the outermost containers would be over cooked. This could cause browning or caramelization, especially in milk which consumers would not accept.
Where the rotary really brings benefits, says O’Hara, is through agitation.
“You have a cylindrical tube with a spiral helix welded to the interior of the tube that advances the cans down the length of the sterilizer,” explains O’Hara. “Inside the tube, the cans ride on a paddle wheel type device that provides a rotational motion. As the cans are pushed down the side of the vessel, the cans will roll providing a mixing action – this is key in providing a consistent cook, better product color and taste.”
With the mixing action, the heat penetration is faster and reduces cooking time verses other methods. Another big benefit, O’Hara says, is that each container experiences the same process in the Rotary Sterilizer, unlike static retorts where a difference is commonly seen from the interior can of a stack to the cans on the edge.
The length and number of vessels can vary depending on what you are cooking. A light broth will typically cook quickly in one 20 foot long vessel, while a heavy soup may require two or three 40 foot long vessels. The containers are also cooled back down in a similar way.
“With all the different types of food being processed in the world, we are set up well to design a good solution for each application,” adds O’Hara.
Now manufactured at sites in California, Belgium and South Africa, the Continuous Rotary Sterilizer is available and widely-used by manufacturers in countries worldwide, from the Americas to Asia, attracted by the advantages that the product line offers.
The Continuous Rotary Sterilizer product line includes pressure vessels for products that are subject to botulism and need to be cooked at a higher temperature, as well as atmospheric vessels, using a process similar to pasteurization, where E.coli, or Salmonella is the threat. For example in tomato products, lower temperatures can be used to kill the bacteria without affecting the contents.
“The rotary is very efficient – once you heat up the vessel, cans go into the paddle wheel spiral, through the vessel and pop out the other end in a continuous 500 cans a minute (or faster) cycle,” explains O’Hara.
“With a batch retort system, you put the batch in, raise the temperature and then you have to cool all the product and machine before putting in a new batch and heating it up again, so you are always heating and cooling,” he says. “With the continuous rotary, once you heat it up you are ready to go.”
Compared with other systems, notably batch retort, O’Hara says the Continuous Rotary Sterilizer is also far less labor-intensive.
“With batch retorts, you have to have a pretty complex loading and unloading system, often times its manual,” he says.
“But with a rotary, the cans come out from the filler and seamer, roll into the cooker and away they go. One operator can watch five or six lines, whereas with a batch system it depends on how you are loading and unloading the containers – there is that extra step there.”
Potential problems are also avoided by an inbuilt validation system that tracks critical control points and alerts the operator if there is any deviation from the intended recipe.
Although not the cheapest option from a capital investment standpoint, with saving on utilities and reduced labor the rotary can save money in the long term. In some cases the Continuous Rotary Sterilizer offers a typical return of investment in under two years.
JBT Corporation launched new branding and an innovative Fresh’n Squeeze® Multi Fruit Juicer for its high-grade fruit juice system at this year’s HOST 2015 exhibition in Milan, Italy, giving visitors a chance to view a machine capable of producing 100 litres of juice an hour.
Internationally recognised as producing the highest yielding juice currently available, JBT’s Fresh’n Squeeze juicer range offers top quality fruit juice for the foodservice industry, and has already proven popular in markets worldwide.
With the lowest levels of citrus peel oil of any system of its type, JBT’s Fresh’n Squeeze Orange Juicer and Multi Fruit Juicer are the preferred choices of hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores and juice bars.
As well as showcasing the full Fresh’n Squeeze juicer range, JBT used the occasion of HOST to display for the first time the prototype of the new model of the Multi Fruit Juicer, a system that has been designed to produce up to 100 litres of high-grade fruit juice per hour.
Also on show was the Fresh’n Squeeze Produce Plus Juicer, a machine with the largest capacity currently available on the market for producing smoothies and fresh vegetable juices.
Fresh’n Squeeze Point-of-Sale juicers provide a high quality product that can add value to consumer- focused and foodservice businesses alike. The system’s design provides a fresh tasting, high quality juice by segregating the oil content, which is responsible for the bitter taste.
Far from being focused solely on citrus, Fresh’n Squeeze sales engineer Ignacio Gonzalez said the system could deliver consistent juice quality from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, in the process eliminating unwanted seeds, peel, and excess fibre.
He said: “Fresh’n Squeeze juicers can process a wide variety of fruits such as apples, grapes, pears, strawberries, pineapples, mangos, guava, kiwifruit, as well as vegetables – carrots, celery, tomato, beets. It is a versatile machine which processes and blends most vegetables and fruits.”
Fresh’n Squeeze juicers employ batch processing using whole fruits, which saves time on labor and provides optimal quality and yield. Its modern and sanitary design, which is easy to clean, requires minimum down-time and maintenance costs, delivering a longer juice shelf life.
From the safety side, Fresh’n Squeeze juicer design is completely enclosed without exposed parts, providing optimum safety for operators.
Properly handling and sterilizing fruit juices that contain particles – in other words, fruit pieces – is of vital importance to any company working within the juice sector and it is here that JBT has not only delivered effective solutions, but has excelled in doing so.
Promoting such systems is a key part of the role of JBT’s head of EMENA (Europe, Middle East and North Africa) operations, Christian Gelati, who sells JBT’s market-leading systems and markets the company’s knowhow to producers across the region.
Since joining JBT a little over 10 years ago, Gelati has been in charge of bringing some of the company’s unique innovations not just to Italy, but to producers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Among these are JBT’s aseptic sterilizers and blending systems for products that contain pieces of fruit, fruit pulp or simply water with sugar.
“JBT has a very deep knowhow of how to handle and sterilize products with particles – in other words, how to handle the product without damaging the particles,” explains Gelati.
A unique machine, the T.A.S.T.E. is typically used with juices obtained from citrus, tomatoes, and tropical fruits, which are sensitive and easily spoiled when subjected to high temperatures, even for short times.
However, Gelati believes there is considerable potential to expand use of the evaporator into less conventional juice lines. “The juice business has really changed over the last three-to-four years with products such as vegetable concentrates and unconventional juices, such as carrot and pumpkin juice,” he says.
Other important products marketed by JBT in the EMENA region include the FDA-approved low acid aseptic filler, which has the advantage of not using any chemicals. As a result, Gelati says the product can add value to products where being chemical-free is hugely important, such as baby food.
JBT’s Christian Gelati
When it comes to effective solutions for the juice industry, JBT’s range also includes extractors that have been developed to deliver higher yield, higher quality juice which has a lower oil content, while producing good quality pulp.
The fact that most extractors are leased also means that the aftercare service provided by JBT’s engineers is a considerable added value for juice companies.
Gelati joined JBT in 2007 as a production development manager. After three years in sourcing and purchasing, he assumed charge for all JBT’s Italian operations, based in Parma, before last year, being given overall responsibility for the EMENA region.
This time and experience has given Gelati a clear understanding of how and why JBT continues to stand out in the food processing industry, emphasizing that its value does not just lie with the innovative products, but with the company’s dedication to providing effective aftermarket care.
As well as innovative product design and reliability of service, JBT continues to score highly among clients for its presence across international markets and its commitment before, during and after product installation.
“We have never left a customer alone with a problem – it’s not the JBT way of doing business,” concludes Gelati.