With headquarters in Midrand (Gauteng), a regional office in Cape Town and representation in Tanzania and Nigeria, GEA Process Engineering South Africa serves the local industry and the vast sub-Saharan African region.
Originally established in Parma, Italy, in 1979, but part of the GEA Process Engineering division since 2007, GEA Procomac is an integral part of the group, offering specialised process engineering, components and solutions for the global food industry. The company has particular expertise in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of aseptic and traditional filling lines for juices, sports drinks, teas and infusions, milk, carbonated soft drinks, water, and more.
Recently appointed as new business development manager for the GEA Procomac South Africa, Roger Gallow brings in-depth knowledge of the PET packaging sector and market trends.
‘Today, aseptic filling is considered the most advanced technology to fill premium segment beverages at high speeds, and GEA Procomac is right up there as one of the best,’ confirms Roger. ‘To grow and diversify the brand successfully, we offer customer advice and support on all customised and complete lines, including GEA Procomac’s all-new Aseptic Blow Filling (ABF) system, designed to meet advanced filing and packing needs.
‘We constantly update customers with comprehensive information on our capabilities and latest developments,’ Roger continues. ‘For example, installing the right aseptic filling line requires a substantial investment, so customers want to know that they’re making the right choice. Partnering with them from the planning phase and being able to offer flexible solutions that suit their needs and budget is critical,’ he explains.
Since joining GEA Procomac in October 2011, Roger has also been based at GEA Procomac’s Italian head office, embracing the company culture and learning more about its modern technologies.
Officially launched at last year’s interpack, GEA Procomac’s ABF system is the world’s first rotary aseptic blow moulding machine with an integrated aseptic filler and capper – a completely new concept.
The principle is to sterilise the PET preform with hydrogen peroxide at the oven exit; then blow the preforms with sterile air in a sterile environment, maintaining sterility throughout the filling and capping process. Compared to traditional filling techniques this minimises the use of chemicals, requires no bottle rinsing, enables a simpler and smaller layout and reduces energy consumption.
According to Procomac, sterilising the preform instead of the bottle reduces the quantity of sterilising agent used as the preform is smaller than the bottle. As the preform is made of thicker material than the bottle it’s possible to increase the temperature of the treatment without risk of any shrinkage that would affect the bottle shape. This allows bottle weight to be reduced.
Flexibility, sustainability and space saving are the overriding plus points of ABF. It can blow and fill up to 48 000 bottles/hour and operate at different levels of decontamination appropriate for each product. Essentially, products with different shelf lives can be filled and produced on the same system.
Used for ambient or cold-fill operations, ABF uses almost no chemicals or water; and energy use is minimised by the elimination of air conveyors, rinsing carousels, water and steam.
The Airstar is an integral part of the ABF system. Designed to have aseptic sterility as a core concept, it’s comprised of materials that are compatible with chemicals used for clean-in-position and sterilise-in-position cycles.
Unusually, preforms are blown upside down, enabling non-cleanable components to be located outside the sterile zone. Electrical components are above this zone and mechanical and all other components that require lubrication are located below, facilitating access to all surfaces in the sterile zone for cleaning purposes.
As standard, ABF uses GEA Procomac’s Fillstar FX volumetric electronic filler fitted with magnetic flowmeters, and able to fill any beverage – including products with pulp, fibres or fruit pieces. The bottles are neck handled throughout filling and capping so there’s no contact between the filling nozzle and the bottle neck. An Arol Equatorque servo capper completes the job.
Additionally, the whole system is compact and requires fewer operators than traditional systems.
As GEA Procomac’s staff paper proclaims: ‘ABF stands out as beacon of engineering excellence, marketing magic and common sense.’
However, as Eddie Wepener, marketing manager for GEA Process Engineering South Africa, points out, it’s not just the extraordinary that makes GEA successful.
‘It’s about meeting the daily challenges with the right attitude and knowledge and building positive, business relationships,’ he insists. ‘Overall, we have a highly experienced team, ready to get involved from project planning to supply, delivery, installation and commissioning. Training, after-sales service and a full range of engineering services, including product and project assistance, part assembly and testing and spare part stockholding, all come as standard,’ Eddie maintains. ‘In addition, we can access information and services from any one of our international Core Technology Centres, so customers have the benefit of a local company with unlimited global support,’ he concludes.GEA Process Engineering South Africa T+27 011 8056910 www.gea-pe.co.za www.procomac.it