Company: MicroThermics, Inc.

Equipment Snapshot: With models for 250 and 500 bottles per hour, these fillers can be integrated with MicroThermics laboratory and small scale UHT, HTST and aseptic processing equipment to create a complete laboratory aseptic processing line. This equipment can fill 250 ml or 500 ml bottles. It allows for pre-process sterilization of the filling chamber, filling heads and product lines. Prior to filling, the filler’s chamber goes through a process where it is steam-sterilized. The sterilant condenses on all filler surfaces. After the proper exposure time, HEPA filtered air is blown through the chamber, removing the sterilant and maintaining a positive-pressure sterile zone. During this sterilization cycle, the product lines and filling nozzles are heat-sterilized with hot water from the MicroThermics UHT processor. After sterilization, processor and filler conditions are changed for product processing and filling.

The bottles enter the sterile zone of the filler on a conveyor. They are sterilized via hot vaporized sterilant injection inside the bottle, and onto the top 25 percent of the outside of the bottle. The bottle then increments through timing stations to ensure proper exposure time to the sterilant to ensure a 5 log reduction of bacteria. Next, the bottles proceed through drying stations where hot, sterile air is blown into the bottle, removing the sterilant.

The bottle then moves to the next stage where it is filled with product. In fillers with automatic capping, the caps proceed through their own sterilization steps. The bottle is held in place, and the cap is applied and tightened. In fillers with manual capping, the operator takes caps from a bath of sterilant, dries them in a stream of hot, sterile air, and applies the cap to the bottle.

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