A new era in HPP begins as bulk processing commences

By Rick Lingle in Beverage Packaging on October 23, 2018

High-pressure processing takes a major step forward with the startup of the world’s first bulk processing system at Go Fruselva in Spain that ‘unpackages’ the technology to allow a range of packaging formats.

 

With the startup of a commercial facility for bulk throughput, the biggest constraints of high-pressure processing have been removed, enabling unprecedented fresh opportunities beyond rigid and flexible plastic packaging to include glass and metal packaging as well.

Packaging Digest reported the news on this when the technology from Hiperbaric was revealed a year ago (see HPP bulks up to advance beyond plastic packaging, published October 2017). The technology separates the processing from the packaging to make available formats beyond the typical plastic and other containers with flexible components such as lidded trays and more.

With bulk, glass and metal containers can be part of the HPP portfolio.

That flexibility in  format options with bulk HPP takes a quantum leap forward with the first installation at a Hiperbaric customer site, Go Fruselva in Spain, during an open-house unveiling on September 21 of the new Hiperbaric 525 Bulk system in La Selva del Camp (Tarragona). According to Hiperbaric data, the 525 has a 380mm/15-inch diameter and, as the name designates, a 525L/138.7 gallon capacity with throughputs in excess of 3,000kg/6,614lb of product per hour.

Also called simply Fuselva, the customer is a global contract food manufacturer and developer of HPP “cold press” food products. It specializes in fruit purees, vegetables, dairy products, smoothies, juices, nectars and fruit beverages as well as alternatives such as detox juices, nondairy, coconut water and protein beverages. Go Fruselva is the largest pure fruit and juice manufacturer using HPP in the Iberian Peninsula.

The company’s current packaging portfolio includes PET bottles, plastic stand-up pouches including Cheer Pack/Gualapack and glass bottles.

Employees and guests are thrilled to hold bottled juices made after the startup of the world’s first bulk HPP system at Fruselva in Spain in September.

The juice that was distributed was processed with the Hiperbaric Bulk 525 at Fruselva the day of the event then bottled and packed as well.

"Go Fruselva is very proud to host the first Hiperbaric Bulk installed in the world," said company founder Xavier Martínez. "Our collaboration with Hiperbaric, who is our supplier for all our HPP machines, allows us to offer our customer non-thermal processed, safe drinks with the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the fresh product and an extended shelf life.”

Hiperbaric CEO Andrés Hernando, said that "Hiperbaric Bulk technology has been developed within the framework of a European project H2020-SME Instrument. Also, the collaboration with Go Fruselva has been of great help to test this new revolutionary equipment in real conditions. The Hiperbaric Bulk will allow us to deliver HPP technology to more types of liquids, so that many healthy and quality products are available to a greater number of consumers around the world."

History and details

Roberto Peregrina, director, Hiperbaric USA, explains that Fruselva is at the forefront of HPP beverages in Spain.

“The company has always showed an interest in going beyond what current HPP capabilities are,” he tells Packaging Digest. “Therefore, Hiperbaric started discussion with them to install the first Bulk Pilot plant there for several reasons. One of them is that they are a local Spanish company, they also have the space for the equipment and the willingness to explore the bulk offerings for HPP.”

“In fact, Fruselva initiated at the beginning of 2014 its first 420 HPP in-pack system from Hiperbaric,” says Fruselva’s Adolf Milla. “After one year we installed the 525 in-pack system, and for more than one year we have been collaborating on the new 525 bulk system.”

Fruselva's rigid and flexible packaging portfolio as shown above for HPP just increased to other material formats with the bulk system.

 

Packaging Digest asked Milla what this capability means to the brand and its portfolio.

“The main difference will be decrease in product price, and subsequently the range of potential customers will be broader,” he responds.

While 525 Bulk is a full production system, it operates as a semi-continuous operation, i.e., between continuous and batch. That makes the throughput higher than Hiperbaric’s traditional in-pack 525.

It uses custom-manufactured bladders to contain the liquid to be processed.

“The bladder, which is disposable and intended to be changed on a 24-hour shift basis, is made of a proprietary mix of polymers,” Peregrina says.

The Hiperbaric Bulk 525 has only one bladder. “It is currently able to process 4,000 Liters per hour, but our target is to reach 5,000 Liter per hour as we are continuously improving the machine,” explains Peregrina.

The bulk system must be used in conjunction with an appropriate filling system that may be an ultra-clean or aseptic filling system to guarantee the shelf-life extension on the bulk system is not compromised, Peregrina points out.

When asked about return on investment, Peregrina also informs Packaging Digest that the total cost of ownership is cut by more than 50% compared to the in-pack system.

“The Bulk system is designed to process liquids, but we are exploring semi-liquid applications,” he adds.

As for what’s next, Peregrina discloses that the 525 is available for sale from Hiperbaric and that there are three machines already being built for an order.

“There are several companies interested worldwide and the next bulk system will be installed in the United States,” he says.

Lastly, Hiperbaric does not expect cannibalization between Bulk and in-pack machines as they have different purposes and advantages.

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