FOOD PROCESSING: filling and bottling

In the world of modern manufacturing, particularly in the food and beverage industry, ensuring product safety and maintaining high standards of hygiene are paramount. One technology that is increasingly proving crucial in meeting these objectives in filling and bottling industrial processing is UVC (Ultraviolet C) technology. In this article, we will explore why and how the application of UVC technology is revolutionizing filling and bottling processes.

Product safety is non-negotiable in the food and beverage industry. Contamination of products can lead to health risks for consumers, damage to brand reputation, and costly recalls. The traditional methods of ensuring safety, such as chemical disinfectants, can be effective but may leave residues and pose risks of their own. UVC technology, on the other hand, offers a safer and more efficient alternative.

Microbial Control: Filling and bottling processes involve various stages where microbial contamination is a significant concern. UVC technology effectively destroys bacteria, viruses, molds, and yeast, ensuring that the final product is free from harmful microorganisms.
Non-Chemical Disinfection: UVC technology does not rely on chemicals, eliminating the risk of chemical residues in the product. This is particularly crucial in industries like beverages, where purity and taste are paramount.
Extended Shelf Life: By eliminating spoilage microorganisms, UVC technology can extend the shelf life of products, reducing waste and ensuring that consumers receive fresher products.
Energy Efficiency: UVC systems are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. They consume less power compared to heat-based pasteurization methods, contributing to sustainability goals.
Continuous Disinfection: UVC systems can be integrated into the production line, providing continuous disinfection of surfaces, containers, and conveyor belts. This minimizes the risk of contamination at every stage of the process.

Cap and Seal Disinfection: UVC technology is applied to sterilize bottle caps and seals, preventing the entry of airborne contaminants when the product is sealed.
Conveyor Belt Disinfection: Conveyor belts, a critical component of the production line, are treated with UVC light to continuously disinfect surfaces and prevent cross-contamination.
Product Surface Treatment: UVC systems can be integrated into the filling process to treat the product's surface, ensuring its microbiological safety.
Packaging Material Disinfection: UVC is employed to disinfect packaging materials, preventing the introduction of contaminants during the packaging process.

Implementing UVC technology in filling and bottling processes requires safety measures to protect workers from exposure to UVC radiation. These measures include the use of shields, timed shut-off systems, and ensuring that UVC fixtures are installed in areas where personnel are not present during operation.
Furthermore, it is important to accurately calculate the UV dose required to achieve the desired microbial abatement. Relying on competent companies with products tested by independent laboratories for their effectiveness is therefore of paramount importance.

UVC technology is revolutionizing filling and bottling industrial processing by providing an efficient and non-chemical method of ensuring product safety and quality. Its applications in sterilizing bottles, caps, seals, conveyor belts, and product surfaces are making a significant impact on the industry by extending shelf life, reducing contamination risks, and contributing to sustainability goals. As the importance of product safety and hygiene continues to grow, UVC technology is set to play an increasingly crucial role in the filling and bottling processes of various industries.

We have been providing UVC disinfection systems for industrial production lines for over 35 years.
Contact one of our product specialists for an installation proposal and quote.
An overview of the UVC solutions we offer for the food processing industry is available here:
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Ultraviolet rays are electromagnetic waves which are part of light. Electromagnetic waves are divided into three main wavelength bands, expressed in nanometers, nm: Ultraviolet rays (UV) 100-400 nm Visible rays (light) 400-700 nm Infrared rays (IR) 700-800,000 nm UV rays are in turn identified in three bands:

  • UV-A (315-400 nm) with tanning properties;
  • UV-B (280-315 nm) con proprietà terapeutiche e di sintesi della vitamina "D";
  • UV-C (100-280 nm) with germicidal properties.

UV-C rays (100-280 nm) have a strong germicidal effect and reach their maximum efficacy at the 265 nm wavelength. The germicidal effect of UV-C radiation covers bacteria, viruses, spores, fungi, moulds and mites; this is mainly due to the destructive effect of the UV-C rays on their DNA, which damage their reproductive system and prevent them from replicating.

Bacteria, Viruses, Spores, Fungi, Mould, and Mites are all sensitive to, and can therefore be eliminated with, UV-C light. Mircrobes cannot acquire resistance to UV-C light, unlike that which occurs using chemical disinfectants and antibiotics. UV rays are ecological. Polluting the environment is inevitable using normal disinfectants. Directly inhaling the vapours, or swallowing food products contaminated by any contact with said chemical disinfectants, can also give rise to a number of serious risks. In cases where chemical disinfectants cannot be eliminated (food, pharmaceutical, healthcare industries, etc.), using ultraviolet rays for disinfection allows a reduction in their use, with considerable economic savings and greater care for the environment, while maintaining and almost always improving the level of disinfection. UV-C light devices can be installed in environments and on machinery and be programmed to maintain the same level of disinfection day and night, guaranteeing ideal hygiene conditions, without highs and lows. On the contrary, chemical disinfectants are effective only during their actual use. Using LIGHT PROGRESS equipped luminaires, operating costs are negligible; it could be said that “LIGHT PROGRESS” UV-C systems do not require maintenance except for the normal replacement of the lamps. The cost/benefit ratio is considered excellent; the devices are both powerful and long-lasting. Hence the elimination of germs using UV-C technology is low-cost and highly effective compared to (or in combination with) other systems.

UV-C really does work when applied correctly and with the necessary precautions. The difference between a quality project and an unsuccessful application is in-depth knowledge and experience gained over time. Since 1987, Light Progress has been carrying out successful projects all over the world and has acquired a clientele of major companies in all sectors that require verified hygienic conditions to produce quality products and services.