SF&DS’s experience and expertise from our 2nd generation aseptic filler (which was the first low-acid filler for plastic bottles to receive a letter of non-objection from the FDA in the USA) has been incorporated into the design. Open type HDPE bottles are sterilised in the filler prior to entering the aseptic zone where filling and sealing with PE-coated aluminium foil closure or aseptic screw cap occur.
Other features include low energy consumption and the possibility to change between different container shapes and sizes and even products without interrupting the packaging process for a sterilisation cycle. The advanced user-friendly control system with touchscreen HMI has automated programmes for production, cleaning and sterilisation. Full access is provided to the complete process and production history of every individual bottle that left the filler. Capacity: up to 24.000 bottles per hour.
The SF&DS Asep-Tec® is unique linear aseptic filler. It stands out by the range of products and bottles (HDPE, PP, PET) it can handle, its high speed, its reliability, and its flexibility. It was designed from the ground up to provide carefully controlled and verifiable filling conditions and to meet the strict requirements of the validation-by-design concept. By identifying the factors, which reduce the reliability and sterile conditions of conventional fillers, we could avoid them in our new design, thus creating a new generation of fillers. Asep-Tec® units can handle high and low viscosity products and even products containing solids, so a single filler can handle your full product range. The technological performance of the Asep-Tec® is just one of the characteristics which makes it so unique.
Efficiency and Reliability
You expect your investment to generate revenue for your company. Maximizing your revenue means minimizing downtime. Hence Asep-Tec® fillers have been designed from the ground up for the highest reliability. SF&DS’s engineers painstakingly analyzed all failure modes and took steps to eliminate them. All of the desired settings can be performed while the machine is in operation, without interfering with the sterile conditions. Furthermore, the smart split scroll bottle feeder design means you can bypass a problem in one filling lane, while the other lanes continue the production run. This means you can finish the run, without interruptions for repairs or sterilization. Together, these features enable you to have long production runs and you may even be able to change over to a different product or container without needing a sterilization cycle.
Unique air management system
The combination of a very small aseptic zone and the special air distribution system is the most important innovation in the Asep-Tec®. The principle is based on a unique combination of overpressure and downward flow force. The aseptic zone overpressure prevents non-sterile air from penetrating the aseptic zone. The laminar down flow keeps the area sterile and carries off possible contamination. This is quite different from cross airflow systems where air passes many bottles before leaving the system. The Asep-Tec®’s air management system prevents recontamination of the bottles without the need to create an active environment in the entire machine.
Renewing the air volume several times per minute in the aseptic zone safeguards the sterile conditions. Another advantage of this design is that it uses low-pressure air supplied by fans and HEPA filters, rather than high-pressure air. The air management system not only ensures sterility but also maintains a constant temperature to prevent product drying on the filling valves. When products are filled at a low temperature the air can be dried to prevent condensation on the bottles.
Obviously the main challenge with equipment of this type is to maintain the required conditions in the aseptic zone. For this reason we have minimized the size of this zone and the number of mechanical components in it.
Asep-Tec® fillers use hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the bottles. The precisely engineered system ensures effective sterilisation with a minimum peroxide consumption, while meeting the most stringent requirements as to residual peroxide level. The fillers can process open bottles, which need to be sterilised internally and around the neck, and aseptically blown closed bottles, where only the neck is sterilised and then trimmed to open the bottle.
The art of filling
The Asep-Tec® fillers are based on flow meter technology for a high accuracy (and thus minimum give-away) and impressive reliability. The flow meters and valves are located outside the aseptic area to minimize the size of the area where sterility needs to be maintained. The filling process can be divided into two stages to combine high speed with high accuracy.
The filler nozzles are based on the proven SF&DS Dolphin design and can handle products containing fibers or small particles without dripping. Dedicated nozzles are available for products containing larger solids. This allows you to process a wide range of products with a single unit.
A modular design to meet your current and future requirements
Asep-Tec® fillers have a modular design. Many of the Asep-Tecs® supplied are designed with a spare position as a preparation for later modification or expansion of the system. This option makes it easy to modify them to suit changing requirements. The modularity ensures that your filler meets not only your current, but also your future business needs. We have a range of optional modules amongst others for trimming closed bottles, additional filling steps, nitrogen purging and processing screw caps. Each of these units integrates fully with the main Asep-Tec® computer control system.
Options to suit your specific requirements:
Aseptic neck trimmer - With this option, your Asep-Tec® filler can handle closed aseptically blown bottles. Each bottle lane has a dedicated trimmer. After external sterilization, the neck-cutting unit trims the bottle and removes the scrap. A laser sensor ensures that problem bottles are automatically ejected from the filler. The neck trimmer integrates fully with the Asep-Tec®’s computer control system.
Nitrogen purge unit - Fruit juices, vitamin-enriched dairy products (e.g. baby food), clinical and pharmaceutical products could all be affected by oxygen during filling and subsequent storage. After sterilization, the nitrogen purge unit eliminates oxygen from the container. The container is then filled with the product and receives a final purge to eliminate oxygen from the headspace/bottle cap. The system is carefully engineered to combine the lowest possible nitrogen consumption with an effective purge cycle.
Aseptic screw cap unit - A screw cap unit can replace the standard aluminium seal unit of the Asep-Tec®. This unit includes a cap sterilization station.
Additional filling modules - An additional filling module can be added. Two-stage filling allows for an increased throughput capacity, while maintaining filling accuracy. Special filling modules are available for products containing large particulates.
A special execution of the Asep-Tec® to comply with the FDA regulations for low-acid products, is also available.
Sophisticated user interface and control system
Asep-Tec® fillers feature an advanced control system to make life easier for your operators and improve reliability. All standard operations (filling, cleaning, sterilization, normal production, shutdown etc.) are covered by standard procedures which the operator only needs to initiate, after which they are completed automatically. The information on the control system display keeps your operator fully informed of the process sequence. If operator intervention is required the display gives clear instructions and the operator can also access the help system and the on-line operating manual. The control system checks operator instructions before they are executed to ensure that errors are avoided.
Each operator is issued with a badge, which is coded with the operations they are authorised to undertake. This helps to ensure that qualified personnel only undertake certain operations. The control system also logs all operator actions. Together, these functions help to improve productivity and avoid downtime.