Krones opens Process Technology Center for optimized beverage packaging
15 May 2023 --- Krones has inaugurated the Process Technology Center for beverage customers to create ultra-small production batches to develop, compare and enhance recipes, processes and parameters. The site was inaugurated in early May at the company’s headquarters in Neutraubling, Germany.
The center is equipped with a R&D lab. The development comes after Krones’ subsidiary Steinecker opened a technology center in Freising, Germany, a few years ago, where customers can create and test recipes for beer and plant-based drinks.
The site supports customers with a finished recipe for a future product and companies at the start of their product development journey. Krones offers its expertise for the first steps in the R&D process.
Krones will use the new technology center to more closely analyze the effects of various process parameters on different products. The results will then go into further developing and refining Krones machines and lines.
Technology for water design
The technology center is divided into process technology and water design sections.
On the process technology side, various process and treatment steps can be realistically simulated on a pilot ultra-high-temperature system. That makes it possible, for example, to compare the thermal impact of indirect heating using a shell-and-tube heat exchanger versus direct heating.
From this, customers can choose between steam injection and steam infusion. For other trials, the facility is also equipped with systems for mixing, flash pasteurization, deaeration, homogenization and filling.
The results are then evaluated in-house in Krones’ microbiological and chemical testing labs.
In water design, customers can fine-tune the flavor of their water by adding the right amounts of minerals and flavor compounds. The technological possibilities include deaeration, carbonation, electrodeionization, ionization, mineral dosing and filling.
A water sommelier provides support throughout the trials. Customers also have access to Krones’ network of engineers in various disciplines, including food and process engineering, to collaborate on transforming product ideas into products.
“Free of plastics”
At Interpack 2023 PackagingInsights spoke to Wolfgang Huber, head of the order center and assembly packaging technology at Krones. He told us about the company’s LitePac Top solutions for bottles and cans.
Huber says Krones provides an “alternative solution to customers who want to change their shrinkwrap to a more [environmentally] sustainable solution completely free of plastics.”
“We decided to go for paper secondary packaging based on customer demand to become more [environmentally] sustainable and to comply with [environmental] sustainability demands.”
The company explored using paper material after witnessing a market demand within the packaging industry. “Secondary packaging without plastics is what the industry and consumers are asking for.”
The bottle and can tops can be recycled in consumers’ households. “Since they are made of paper, they can be thrown into the paper waste stream everyone has in their household,” Huber concludes.
By Sabine Waldeck
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