Spanish-based technology company YPSICON is dedicated to technology development and the design and manufacturing of systems for the processing and packing of food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. YPSICON has led the way in Research and Development, resulting in the launch of a unique patented chemical free aseptic packaging process using SMC’s electric solutions.
Vitoria, Spain (June 10, 2015) – Manufacturers are constantly
looking to introduce new packaging solutions that respond to increasing
consumer demand for improvements to the shelf life and quality of food and
As this battle to extend the life of consumable goods heats up, companies have been using a variety of techniques to effectively sterilise packaging.
The Issues Some of the most frequently employed methods is the aseptic process that uses chemicals such as H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) and CH3COOOH (peracetic acid). However, these chemicals can pose a risk for consumers if not removed without trace and they’re also dangerous for machine operators and the environment because of their toxic nature. In addition, these disinfectants have a food oxidation capacity which can affect the nutritional and organoleptic qualities of food and drink products to be packaged.
The Solution YPSICON has solved this issue by inventing a patented continuous packaging process, removing the need for chemicals, including H2O2 and CH3COOOH, which incorporates products from SMC’s electric solutions range.
The Patent Unlike other solutions, YPSICON’s uses slimline,
high strength Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) lamps that have the power and output
of mWatts/cm2. They are U shaped, which resolves the blind spot issue, as
the connections are located at one end and no longer cast shadows across
the other end. They are also thin enough to enter through the mouth of commercial
bottles, which are accepted aesthetically by consumers, and have an internal
diameter of 25-30 mm. This means the entire exterior and internal surface
of the plastic and glass bottles and their caps are irradiated without using
chemicals to complement the aseptic process.
The continuous process starts with the preliminary bottle preparation and formation, which introduces the bottles into a tunnel or cabin. These bottles then enter a micro-filtered, over pressurised air flow cabinet, at a pressure greater than or equal to 50 KPa (= 0.5 bar) in laminar regime to prevent microbiological contamination. Inside this cabinet, YPSICON’s UV-C sterilization modules, equipped with UV-C lamps, irradiate the inside surface of bottles so they are fully sterilised.
Immediately after the sterilisation stage, the bottles are filled using
an aseptic watertight 15 valve, whilst simultaneously irradiating the internal
surface of the caps as they are moved along an open channel. The bottles
are finally sealed with irradiated caps using a robotic or mechanised arm.
YPSICON’s sales manager, Leo Moreta, said: “We are at the forefront of processing and packaging technologies that deliver high quality, 100% natural clean-label products that are increasingly demanded by consumers.
“From this perspective, the demand for aseptic packaging is on the rise, due to the efficiency of this packaging process and the key advantages it delivers in terms of extended shelf life and better quality products.
“However, the equipment traditionally used for aseptic bottling machine builders has been expensive and used chemicals which bring a risk of product contamination. Our patented YPSICON solution, using Ultraviolet-C light, removes the need for chemicals, streamlines the packaging process, allowing the development of lower cost aseptic filling lines, and guarantees a better end product.”
When developing this unique process, YPSICON needed to partner with a supplier that could provide high quality, reliable components and approached SMC for a solution.
As the application was not demanding in terms of speed or deceleration, and only required two positions with a maximum ascent deceleration of 1500 mm/seg², SMC recommended its LEFS25 slide type electric actuator. The LEFS25 guarantees smooth movement, eliminating vibrations which could easily damage the fragile UV lamp.
In addition, SMC provided its LECSA Controller that guarantees faultless speed control and is easy to programme. The LECSA’s pre-programmed digital I/O removes the need for complicated pulse train programming using fieldbus technology, which created additional benefits in terms of time and cost.
YPSICON’s head of technological development, David Guamis, added: “One of the main benefits of SMC’s electric actuators used in our machines is their low energy consumption and the precision they provide in several positions, key to reducing costly vibration. What’s also remarkable is the progressive start and stop, which is crucial to be able to switch between different formats. SMC’s servo motor driver also simplifies the system programming and significantly improves overall performance.”
For more information about SMC’s electric actuators, visit www.smc.eu.