Serac’s ESL Combox delivers sustainable, single-machine solution by combining bottle blowing and pulsed light decontamination

Serac has combined PET bottle blowing and pulsed light decontamination in a single machine: the ESL Combox. The machine has already won over several local dairies by enabling them to emphasise their commitment to sustainability while offering consumers a longer shelf life.

A reduction up to three-logs without chemicals

By combining the blowing of bottles in a controlled environment just before filling and pulsed light treatment of necks and caps, it is possible to achieve a three-log decontamination on containers. This level of decontamination can be enough for several applications to significantly extend the shelf life. For example, Serac’s ESL Combox is used for fresh white milk with a 30-day shelf life, or for drinking yogurts with a 60-day shelf life in Asia.

Pulsed light is a fast and efficient decontamination method. It destroys the cell membrane of microorganisms and degrades their DNA in less than a millisecond. Using neither water nor chemicals, pulsed light allows dairies to guarantee the absence of treatment residues in the packaging and to better manage water resources, both in terms of consumption and effluents.

A lighter carbon footprint

Short supply chains are increasingly appealing to consumers who are sensitive to the carbon footprint of the products they buy. And from this point of view, PET bottles have arguments to put forward, especially in comparison with glass.

Their manufacturing requires much less energy and their lightness has a direct impact on the transportation part of GHG emissions. This impact is reinforced when bottles are blown just before filling, since the preforms are five times smaller.

Moreover, with the development of the rPET value stream, these bottles can be recycled in a circular system. At this last stage, the PET bottle will still make the difference with glass in terms of energy consumed.

All this in a compact and very flexible machine

The ESL Combox combines the blowing, filling and capping functions in a single unit with a footprint up to 25% smaller than that of a conventional filling line.

It is capable of blowing round, rectangular, oval or complex shaped bottles, ranging from 250ml to 2litres. And its patented positive neck transfer system allows different shapes and sizes of bottles to be filled on the same machine, with very short changeover times. Designed for low to medium output, it is ideal for local production units.

With this new version of its Combox, Serac provides a packaging solution adapted to the changes in consumer behavior, more attracted by ethical and sustainable products.