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Europe: Tetra Pak sterilizes packages with electron beam technology

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Tetra Pak® E3, inside

Tetra Pak launches a filling machine that uses electron beams, not hydrogen peroxide, to sterilize packaging material.

The Tetra Pak E3, on display at the Fispal Technologia International Trade Show in São Paulo, Brazil, can run up to 40,000 portion packages every hour.

Compared with the existing Tetra Pak A3/Speed platform, Tetra Pak E3 machines will also lower operational costs, improve environmental performance and increase production flexibility.

At the heart of the new machine is the eBeam sterilization technology that was developed by Tetra Pak in collaboration with COMET, a company in high-voltage and high-vacuum technology.

The technology works by focusing a controlled beam of electrons onto the surface of packaging material as it runs through the filling machine, killing any bacteria or micro-organism present.

The use of eBeam removes a long-time physical limitation to carton packaging speed: the hydrogen peroxide sterilization process.

With eBeam, speeds of up to 40,000 portion packs per hour, or 11 packs every second, can be achieved.

Market tests have shown this increased capacity can save beverage manufacturers as much as 20% in their operational costs.

The replacement of hydrogen peroxide in packaging material sterilization also significantly improves environmental performance; making water recycling easier, lowering energy consumption and cutting waste.

By installing an eBeam kit, manufacturers can switch between pasteurized and extended shelf life production orders on the same Tetra Pak E3/CompactFlex filling machine.

Between 2011 and 2014, Slovakia dairy producer Rajo produced 110 million packages of ultra-high temperature milk in Tetra Brik Aseptic 1000 Slim on a Tetra Pak A3/Speed machine equipped with the new eBeam sterilization system.

“This innovative system offers clear savings on hydrogen peroxide consumption. To sterilize 1 million packages you need 300 liters of hydrogen peroxide, so the saving is considerable,” said Peter Novorol’nik, production manager at Rajo.

Tetra Pak E3/Speed will be commercially available from 2016.

It produces family packages of Tetra Brik Aseptic 1000 Edge with LightCap 30, running at 15,000 packs per hour.

Tetra Pak plans to expand the new platform to more machines in future, and will start deployment with three versions:

•Tetra Pak E3/CompactFlex Extended Shelf Life
•Tetra Pak E3/Speed Portion Packages
•Tetra Pak E3/Flex Extended Shelf Life