In two of the leading beer markets worldwide – namely, the US and Germany – beer packaging comes in two traditional forms: glass bottles and metal beverage cans. One of the major challenges in the sterilisation of both cans and bottles is the reduction of resource consumption, while increasing quality and flexibility. The latter one is crucial for beverage producers today, as they typically need to process a variety of different beverages and packing sizes (SKUs) in order to meet ever-shifting market demands, while protecting their competitiveness. These different goals are not always easy to reconcile since increasing flexibility can be at odds with greater efficiency and lowering resource consumption. This is why pasteurising solutions need to be built to address both of these challenges from the ground up.
Top-quality treatment for cans and bottles
The Gebo Cermex SWING® is a proven pasteurisation system that cuts energy consumption by 25%. This patented equipment responds to the market’s growing demand for more sustainable solutions, which minimise consumption in the pasteurisation process, while optimising product quality. The resulting optimised sustainability is achieved thanks to two entities in the system: firstly, through a water spray deviation system in central areas. This system ensures that only the thermal energy required by the entire pasteurisation process is used to heat or cool the product, and not the water contained in the process tanks. Secondly, SWING contains a single ring circuit with water flowing inside the circuit at a constant temperature thanks to a single heat exchanger (for all pasteurisation areas); water is then distributed to different zones as required.
This offers two important benefits: there is no energy being wasted by heating an additional auxiliary buffer tank, which would be left to cool at the end of production, plus it offers greater responsiveness, treating only the amounts required in different zones. Top-quality treatment in equipment that is simple-to-operate and to maintain makes SWING the ideal solution for pasteurising, heating or cooling cycles in bottles and cans of all formats and sizes, with capacities of up to 150,000 containers per hour.
To achieve SWING’s success, Gebo Cermex developed a smart process control system called PRINCE Plus for controlling Pasteurisation Units (PUs) and optimising the process. This ensures easier use, better energy savings, and maximised product quality. PRINCE Plus is a patented software that by analysing the current conditions of the process is able to forecast possible developments, and to intervene when necessary, self-adapting to any change in the thermal cycle. Smart diagnostics further facilitate maintenance by making operators aware of possible problems ahead of time.
This way, PRINCE Plus can help ensure a frictionless production, based on a predictive approach: the temperature of the water spray in a zone is lowered when the forecast indicates that the product will hold just enough heat to remain within the required temperature range for the set time. In this case, the system behaves actively and intervenes on the basis of a future situation.
Protecting the product and the planet
The full-automation and self-managing component delivers high in terms of ease of use, as the operator is not required to set any parameters that may affect the control functions of the system. The system adapts itself automatically to every possible change in the thermal cycle. Moreover, significant resource savings are possible. Preventing unnecessary changes of water spray temperatures, and keeping the product in a temperature range that is needed, are two of three adjustments that assist energy saving. Additionally, the product – due to the genius construction of SWING – is only ever going through one heating and one cooling phase.
With an impressive 2,135 Olympic swimming pools of water saved since the launch of the solution, and energy savings of up to 60,000 kcal, compared to other pasteurisers, Gebo Cermex SWING offers a true incentive in terms of sustainability and reduced total cost of ownership. The global adoption of the solution is a clear endorsement of this technology by major beverage and beer companies, many of which produce leading national and international brands. To date, an overall number of 77.6 billion containers have been pasteurised on SWING equipment.