To make carbonated soft drinks, water is mixed with concentrated finished syrup. The finished syrup is made of viscose sugar syrup, concentrates and water, and is traditionally produced in a batch process, which has numerous drawbacks.
Several batches need to be produced in parallel, with different timings, to enable today’s high-capacity filling machines to run continuously.
These machines can fill 72,000 litres of beverage per hour, so they need to be fed with up to 24,000 litres of syrup per hour. This requires multiple production tanks even for a single beverage, which is space consuming, expensive and labour intensive.
While having many advantages, continuous production is necessarily more complex, involving not just hardware, but also a sophisticated control system.
While modernizing an old factory, one of Tetra Pak’s customers took the opportunity to invest in an in-line large-capacity blending unit, the key to Tetra Pak’s continuous production process for beverage syrup. Features include mass meters to automatically and precisely measure and blend up to ten ingredients in a highly efficient and homogenous manner, and a patented recirculation system that keeps all production parameters such as mass flow and sugar content constant during the start phase, independently of stop-go upstream and downstream units.
By upgrading to continuous production, the beverage producer achieved substantial savings in space and wastage, improved recipe control and other cost savings. Their production now requires just one tank instead of four, saving a significant amount of space in the factory.
One automatic in-line blending machine can be hooked up to filling machines, with no one needed to monitor the process. Thanks to the automatic control system, product quality is always on target. Product waste is negligible as the product has the correct ratio of ingredients from the very first litre.
Sirio Volpi, Engineering Manager, says: “Tetra Pak has experience from continuous production going back more than three decades. We bring all this into our dialogue with customers, enabling them to adopt advanced solutions whose effectiveness is already proven.”