GEA, one of the world’s largest systems suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors, has introduced the GEA Visitron small-in-one filling block for production speeds of up to 10,000 containers per hour.
The slimline filling solution rinses, fills, and seals on a very small production area and saves a lot of time during filling and format changeover thanks to a sophisticated process chain. It can be changed over to other products and containers made of glass, aluminum, and PET swiftly.
As much standard as necessary
The new unit is a cost-effective alternative to standard systems. The compact version was inspired by the successful GEA Visitron All-in-One monoblock. “The market made clear that multifunctionality is also needed for filling with compact footprints. Especially growing young companies want a versatile, efficient and fully automated solution that they can afford,” explains Andreja Markoja, head of Sales and Offer Management at GEA VIPOLL. This is the case, she says, with craft brewers or even co-packers – wherever small batches are produced and quick changeovers are necessary at the same time.
“Therefore, when scaling our larger monoblock to the smaller unit, we eliminated complexity without sacrificing flexibility. For example, customers buying the Small-in-One unit won’t probably need champagne corks or 1-liter cans but a durable, easy-to-use machine with a low consumption,” Markoja says. For the Small-in-One, GEA has streamlined the filling process so that it requires less water and less carbon dioxide when filling cans, while ensuring a low oxygen pickup.
Flexibility and resource efficiency
“The Small-in-One is a new addition to our GEA Visitron family that illustrates our filling technology approach: Our equipment is intended for customers who value multifunctional, easy-to-maintenance filling with a long service life,” says Jens Neidhardt, Managing Director of GEA’s Slovenian subsidiary. In these specialty markets, customers have a close look at both affordable investment and operating costs. That is why GEA’s compact units also raise the bar in terms of sustainability: While the material footprint is exceptionally small, they focus particularly on low CO2 consumption and water efficiency. In the GEA Visitron Small-in-One, process water is recirculated. It is recirculated in the machine during sterile rinsing, external (post-capping) bottle rinsing, and during vacuum pump cooling.
Six months to a saleable product
GEA also responds to market needs in terms of manufacturing times, where investment cycles are becoming increasingly tight. The Small-in-One can be delivered to the customer’s site within six months, ready for operation in two more weeks. This is beneficial for smaller bottlers as well as for producers with high filling volumes.
There, the compact block can take over small batches for product development and special products while the large lines continue to run uninterrupted. The low-maintenance, intuitive operation also helps the investment pay off quickly. In addition, the Small-in-One uses reliable mechanical drives instead of servo motors – an economical solution that makes the bottler independent of spare parts markets with difficult supply conditions.