European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Energy Saving Aseptic System to Empty Concentrates out of Aseptic Bags for the Juice Production Process.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ASEPTIC-VACBID (Energy Saving Aseptic System to Empty Concentrates out of Aseptic Bags for the Juice ProductionProcess.)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-06-30

SEPPELEC developed in 2010 the VacBid® system for emptying concentrate fluids out of drums and transfer it to the next blending step for beverages production having huge commercial success in the food industry, especially in juices and nectars and allowing incorporating these ingredients effectively, with minimal product losses. The VacBid® ensures compliance with the food hygiene conditions throughout the process of emptying and cleaning, but it misses aseptic condition. The aseptic processing and packaging industry has led to a growing demand for aseptic emptying industrial equipment, to ensure preservation of the product and allow energy savings in the production plants. In response to this, SEPPELEC has developed the ASEPTIC-VACBID prototype that allows the aseptic extraction of concentrates from aseptic bags located inside the drums.
The business opportunity of ASEPTIC-VACBID is based on the need to maintain aseptic conditions of the concentrated fruit during the bag opening and pulp extraction. Current emptying methodology used in the market to extract the concentrates from aseptic bags does not preserve the asepsis in the process. This involves an additional pasteurization process which degrades the fruit quality reducing the sensory shelf life of the final product due to the high temperatures of the pasteurization process.
In response to our customers needs, SEPPELEC has developed the ASEPTIC-VACBID which is a semi-automatic prototype that allows the aseptic extraction of concentrates from aseptic bags, up to 25L, located inside the drums achieving aseptic conditions contributing to a significant energy reduction in the manufacturing process and the organoleptic properties improvement in the final product. By incorporating an ASEPTIC-VACBID system into the production process, capable to empty 18,000L of concentrate per hour, the juice industry will reduce energy consumption costs of €150,000 per year (1.324.422 kW), representing an improvement of 13% in the energy efficiency of the whole process. The use of water is reduced by 30.000L per hour and the automated equipment also reduces personal costs.
The objective of this project is to scale-up the aseptic system in a complete automatic equipment to empty the standard 250L and 1,500L bags used in the juice industry for further commercialization after phase 2 of project.
This functionality will turn it into a revolutionary solution to the complex and expensive fruit addition process actually used in beverage and dairy products manufacture.
The work perform during the feasibility study has allowed SEPPELEC S.L. to detect some technical scale up and commercial requirements as well as several potential risks and mitigation tasks along the implementation of ASEPTIC-VACBID. The identification of such requirements and problem solving will serve to successfully place our innovative ASEPTIC-VACBID technology into the aseptic food and beverage processing and packaging market. Main conclusions are as followed:
In a Technical Feasibility Study assays to validate aseptic emptying process as well as product sterilization and quality have been identified. Parameters to evaluate enhancement of food or beverage properties of ASEPTIC-VACBID process in comparison with current manufacturing processes have been also determined. Additionally, a technical viability study has been performed focused on the determination of any specific technical requirements during the scale up which will enable the food and beverage industry to aseptically open and empty industrial bag-in-drum concentrates to be transferred into the aseptic mixing and packaging process avoiding an additional sterilization process.
A patent search to ensure freedom to operate support our initial assumptions of ASEPTIC-VACBID patentability and encourage us to continue with our commercialization projections as no national or international patents which might prevent SEPPELEC SL from IPR and commercial exploitation of our ASEPTIC-VACBID system have been found.
In the Commercial Feasibility Study a questionnaire passed to current customers and potential end-users has allowed SEPPELEC to detect the necessities that they have in their plants regarding opening and emptying equipment, aseptic processes integrated in their processing and packaging lines, types of food and beverages processed in their plants and number of lines, etc. With this commercial feasibility study we have been able to identified potential end users in the food and beverage market in Europe and overseas countries and their growth expectations, some of which might be readily accessible from our current partners in Spain, and others will be potential clients with whom we will establish agreements after consolidating our sales of our product within partnerships.
After a thoroughly geographical viability study on food and beverage market and the food and beverage processing equipment in terms of revenues and compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) we have been able plan our market strategy to success in the commercialization of the ASEPTIC-VACBID technology. We have envisaged to initially introducing our product in processing and packaging plants in Spain through current customers which will assist us to introduce the product into the selected target countries in Europe. Subsequently, we will penetrate in US, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
With the economic feasibility study we have been able to adjust our financial projections in terms of costs, profits and cash flow in a 5-year period. The calculated revenue for ASEPTIC-VACBID system is of €3.2 million in year 2022 and the R.O.I is of 3.2 considering a projected total investment of €2.0 million. Cash flow and cumulative cash flow arising from product sales has been also calculated in €3.2 and €6.4 million, respectively.
The aseptic processing and packaging is considered as one of the more relevant food processing technologies with a large potential of application. Using a completely different approach to sterilization, aseptic processing prevents bacterial contamination resulting in commercially sterile products that better retain their appearance, texture, taste and nutrients content and do not require refrigerated trucks and warehouses, retail freezers and coolers for shipping and storage. This has led to a growing demand for aseptic emptying industrial equipment in order to ensure preservation of the product meanwhile allowing energy savings in the production plants.
The current methodology in the market to extract the concentrates does not preserve the asepsis in the process. Therefore, to recover the asepsis and assure the food safety in the final product, an additional pasteurization process is required with the corresponding degradation of the product since it is exposed to high temperatures, causing thermal damage to the juice and reducing their sensory shelf life. In addition to the loss of final product quality, the energy consumption of the pasteurization process requires large energy consumption. Furthermore, the process of emptying concentrates is not usually automated, being made manually by a sprinkler system without a complete control resulting in large amounts of product lost and personal costs incremented.
The ASEPTIC-VACBID will be the first equipment into the market capable of maintaining the aseptic conditions during the extraction of fruit concentrates contributing, by avoiding one pasteurization step, to an improvement in energy efficiency of 13% in the overall process and saving consumption costs of €150,000/year as well as to the organoleptic properties enhancement in the final product. This will make ASEPTIC-VACBID an attractive solution for food & beverage industries as there are no competitors.
Considering that the global market for food and beverage processing equipment was €200 billion in 2014 and it is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% from 2015 to 2020 and the global aseptic packaging market is valued at around €55 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 10.66% from 2015, the expected profit considering revenues and production costs for year 2022 has been calculated in €3.2 million and total profit in €8.4 million. Considering investment of Phase 1 (€50.000) and Phase 2 (€1.5 million) the R.O.I. (return over investment) = Turnover-Investment/Investment is calculated in 3.2 For the calculations we have considered an estimated selling price of €345,000 for our new equipment, the ASEPTIC-VACBID system and €255,000 for their manufacturing costs. After five-year period of commercialization the cash flow was estimated in € 3.2 million and the cumulative cash flow in €6.4 million. These estimations will be variable depending on the size of the customized solutions.
ASEPTIC-VACBID in the whole juice manufacturing process