In “What Is Bottled Juice Production Like?” We introduced how to produce juice from raw fruit and concentrate. After the juice’s sterilization, juice will enter the filling machine to have the bottle filling and capping process. Then enter the following packing process like labeling, date printing, packing, etc. In this article, we will introduce two types of juice filling machines: aseptic filling machines and hot filling machines.
Aseptic Juice Filling Machines
The sterilizer first sterilizes the juice instantaneously, and then lowers the juice by 20~30 °C. Then juice enters the aseptic filling machine to have the filling and capping process. The entire filling and capping of aseptic filling are carried out in a sterile environment. There is no human intervention in the whole process, so it can avoid contamination of the juice during the filling process and guarantee the hygiene and quality of the product.
The sterilization temperature of fruit juice is 110 °C ~ 135 °C. Depending on the type of juice, the sterilization temperature is different. After sterilization, sterilizer will cool down the juice to 20~30 °C. A series of processes from high-temperature sterilization to cooling can be completed by tubular sterilizer, plate sterilizer or instantaneous sterilizer. The user needs to prepare a chiller system to cooperate with the sterilizer to cool the juice. Since the sterilized juice will be cooled to 20~30 °C, there is no need to spend a lot of energy to keep the sterilized juice warm at high temperature. This also maintains the nutritional content and taste of fruit juice to the greatest extent, increasing the competitiveness of fruit juice in the beverage market.
In addition, since the filling temperature is only 20~30 °C, there is no need for high-temperature resistant and crystalline bottles. It is necessary to know that the price of high-temperature resistant bottle blow molding machines and high-temperature resistant preforms is much higher than that of ordinary bottle blowing machines and preforms that are not resistant to high temperatures. This greatly reduces the long-term production costs of the production enterprise.
However, the aseptic filling machine is expensive and difficult to operate, requiring professional technicians to operate and maintain. At the same time, aseptic filling has high requirements for the filling environment and the cleanliness of the bottle cap, and it is necessary to establish a perfect aseptic environment and control system. The degree of evolution of the filling plant must reach at least 100 levels. This puts forward higher requirements for the construction and management of plant buildings.
Because of this, hot filling machines still occupy an important position in the juice filling machine market.
Hot Juice Filling Machines
The sterilizer sterilizes the juice instantaneously, and then lowers the juice by 85~88 °C, and then juice enters the filling machine for filling. The high temperature of the juice sterilizes the bottle and cap. Therefore, there is generally no need for additional sterilization of clean caps and bottles. The filling environment is not necessary for a clean room. However, keeping the juice at a high temperature of 85~88 °C for a long time will have a certain impact on the taste and nutritional composition of the juice. Energy consumption during the holding period also increases significantly.
Hot filling filling machines have gravity filling machines, pure vacuum filling machine and piston filling machine.
Gravity Juice Filling Machines
Gravity filling machine is also called atmospheric pressure filling machine. It fills the juice into the bottle using juice’s own gravity. This filling method does not produce overflow and therefore does not require an additional reflow device. The filling machine is simple to operate, easy to use, easy to master, and low maintenance cost. Users can adjust the liquid level of the bottle according to various needs.
It is worth mentioning that in some areas, gravity filling machines are also used for room temperature filling of fruit juice. This juice is generally cooled to room temperature after high-temperature sterilization. Then add preservatives to extend the shelf life of the juice. Therefore, it does not require a sterile environment.
The Vacuum Juice Filling Machines
The vacuum filling machine uses the vacuum pump to vacuum the bottle and the liquid tank first, and when the pressure in the bottle is lower than the liquid cylinder, the filling begins. Vacuuming creates overflow, i.e., filling does not stop when the bottle is full and excess liquid flows through the vent to the circular tank. Therefore, it is necessary to have a circular tank. The overflowing juice flows back into the circular tank, and when the juice in the circular tank reaches a certain level, it will return to the sterilizer for secondary sterilization and then filling.
The filling speed of the vacuum filling machine is higher than that of the atmospheric filling machine, and the filling accuracy is also higher. Especially when the bottle is cracked or notched, the vacuum filler will not fill it. This avoids dripping of juice. In addition, because the vacuum filling machine will form a vacuum environment during the filling process, it will avoid the oxidation of air and oxygen on the juice, thereby extending the shelf life of the juice. It can also effectively prevent external microorganisms, dust and other impurities from entering the juice, ensuring the hygienic quality of the juice. The disadvantage is that the structure of the entire vacuum filling machine is relatively complex, which will aggravate the maintenance and cleaning work. Moreover, the overflow and circular phenomenon make the juice need to be sterilized twice, which increases energy consumption.
What kind of juice filling machine is better? Which type does the user need? The choice depends on the user’s capital, the size of the filling production line, the price of raw material energy consumption and local policies. Linho mainly produces gravity filling machines and vacuum filling machines. Please contact us to get the right juice filling machine solution for you.