Pressurised drinks used to form bottles containing them

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

KHS’s FormFill system fills liquids directly into heated PET preforms
KHS’s FormFill system fills liquids directly into heated PET preforms

Related tags: Polyethylene terephthalate

Single-operation beverage forming and filling into polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at commercial speeds has come a step closer with the unveiling by KHS of a system for filling liquids directly into heated preforms, using the pressurised liquid itself to form the container.

Shown filling still water on a linear demonstration machine at the September Drinktec show in Munich, the German machinery company’s FormFill system is also being applied to hot-fill products, soaps and detergents. KHS plans to adapt the system for other products, including carbonated and aseptic drinks.

“The 80-to-100 milliseconds cycle time is a fraction of what is required by separate blowing and filling,” ​said Frank Haesendonckx, head of sales and technology at KHS Corpoplast.

“In terms of cost-reduction, large sections of current lines become redundant. We estimate that, overall, there could be savings of 25% or 30% on total cost of ownership.”

Savings of 25% or 30% 

Differential cooling means that the inside of the container wall gains more stiffness more quickly, said KHS, potentially allowing current bottle strength to be achieved with less material.

According to the company, this cooler layer created by the liquid in the preform functions as a barrier, when it comes to interaction between the polymer and the beverage.

“In terms of migration, our testing has shown there’s no difference between FormFill and conventional filling,”​ said Haesendonckx.

Levels of contaminants such as acetaldehyde had much more to do with materials selection in the preform, he argued.

Levels of contaminants

Competing technologies include the LiquiForm system. This was first developed in 2006 by Amcor, which has since collaborated with Sidel in applying the technology.

The KHS system, which has been more than five years in development, has been trialled on 0.5-litre, 1-litre and 1.5-litre PET bottles.

Trials are also taking place with polypropylene and polyethylene, so far with non-food products. The first rotary prototype is planned for 2018.

Related topics: Drinks

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