03 Mar 20 Is bulk processing the next big step in HPP?
High pressure processing has been in the foodbev processing news for some 20 years. A leading player in the game, Hiperbaric, recently released a new machine concept for processing liquid in bulk, greatly opening scope for the technology.
The new Hiperbaric 525 Bulk and 1050 Bulk systems (pictured above) are capable of processing up to 10,000 litres per hour when equipped with two processing chambers of 525-litre volume.
The HPP in-bulk technology allows more juice to be processed with a variety of packaging options, regardless of the material, design or size. The first in-bulk machine has been purchased and is in use at an independent French juice and beverage co-manufacturer and bottler.
Here’s an interview with Hiperbaric’s commercial and applications director, Carole Tonello-Samson, who has led the business development of its new in-bulk technology.
She holds a PhD in food science on the effects of HPP on inactivation of microorganisms.
A member of the Executive Committee of the Institute of Food Technology (IFT) in the US, for her work in bringing this new technology to reality, Tonello-Samson was recognised by the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) with its Women’s Alliance Network Red Circle Honor award.
The Innovation and Inspiration Honor recognises a woman who brought game-changing innovation or an inspiring idea in the last 18 months to her company and/or industry.
How many HPP machines has Hiperbaric sold worldwide?
Carole Tonello-Samson: To date, we have installed 290 HPP industrial machines in 45 countries across five continents, and currently have more than 60% market share. With our world headquarters in Spain and North American headquarters in Doral, Florida, we export more than 90% of our equipment to North America (our main market), as well as Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
What are some of the highlights you’ve seen in the HPP industry over the years?
Prior to 2002, food was processed in HPP vessels vertically, and not efficiently. In 2002, the first Hiperbaric horizontal HPP prototype was installed in Spain in which food was placed in its final packaging and introduced into the HPP vessel. This allowed for more food to be processed, resulting in cost savings and efficiencies.
Until recently, HPP was a post-packaging process, and only packaged food or beverages in bottles could be processed. But with Hiperbaric’s latest innovation, large volumes of beverages can be processed in bulk, before bottling, increasing productivity (up to 5,000 litres per hour with a Hiperbaric 525 Bulk machine) and enabling the use of any packaging material besides plastic.
By processing juice in bulk using HPP, companies can process twice as much product per batch, and bottle their juice in any format they choose, from cans to glass bottles, many of which are more economically friendly.
What are some of the pain points users had with existing HPP batch equipment?
The main challenges of HPP are price and production. The economics are more favourable with a bulk machine because the vessel has a 90% filling ratio compared to 45% on average for an in-pack machine.
Since the in-bulk machine is fully automated, there is no manual handling of bottles or pouches, resulting in an 80% reduction in labour costs. The energy cost per litre of HPP’d beverages is also cut by almost 50%, as almost twice the volume of juice is processed per cycle.
What led you to push to develop the 525 and 1050 in-bulk machines?
Large beverage processors are used to bottling/packing their products after heat pasteurization. Until now, HPP was difficult to implement because they could not easily substitute their current heat pasteurization process by in-pack HPP machines that process only bottled products.
With the Hiperbaric Bulk, this challenge was solved. The HPP’d beverage is sent to an ultraclean tank connected to the bottling line.
The Hiperbaric Bulk machine development was the result of a four-year R&D project granted by the EU involving our engineering teams. The research project culminated in a demonstration day at the Fruselva Co in Spain, where our first real-scale prototype was installed during the last part of the project in 2018.
Last year, we sold our first industrial version of the Hiperbaric 525 Bulk to a co-packer in France.
How do the bulk machines work?
They’re designed for low-viscosity products, such as beverages. The beverage is sent to an inlet tank, which contains a reusable and recyclable plastic pouch occupying 90% of the total vessel volume.
After that, the liquid is unloaded into an ESL (ultraclean Extended Shelf Life) tank and goes directly into an ESL filling line for bottling in any kind of packaging material…..
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