Milk being a perishable product is highly susceptible to infestation by bacteria and other micro-organisms. Milk brands sold in pouches across India have for long been fretting about restricted shelf life, time elapsed during supply and distribution, optimum pasteurization, necessity for cold chain to be integrated within the overall supply chain, etc. To alleviate all these concerns in one go, Uflex has manufactured and launched ESL Aseptic Flexi-Pouch Machine for packaging milk. When sterilized and packed in this machine, milk can be kept in normal ambient conditions at the point of sale for as long as 90 days.
The machine packs milk in a pouch that is formed of a 5- to 7-layer extruded/blown polyethylene film with strong barrier properties including a black layer for UV protection. As a fully integrated packaging solution provider, Uflex offers the especially extruded/blown film too.
The machine has an inbuilt automatic CIP and SIP system, and can pack milk in SKUs ranging from 70 ml to 1500 ml volumetrically. The filling speed for these variants ranges between 5,000 and 2,500 packs per head per hour. On a specially programmed B&R and Siemens PLC fitted to this machine, altering the desired volumes to be filled can be actuated at the press of a button.
The machine has been manufactured with a special isolation valve (sterile interlock) that does not allow the milk to flow from the UHT to the filling machine in case sterilization of milk in UHT is incomplete or does not conform to the set specifications. This spares unnecessary invocation of intermediate CIP and SIP of the filling machine avoiding wastage of time. The machine also features a Gravity Filling System with Precise Tank Level Regulation.
ESL Flexi-Pouch Machine can be customised with single-, two- or three-head filling arrangement as per the client’s requirement. This versatile machine is also capable of simultaneously packaging differential volumes on various heads. Addition of the Impulse Sealing system, especially imported from USA, ensures a perfect leakproof seal.
A typical two-head ESL Aseptic Flexi-Pouch Machine requires 415V AC, three phase, 50 Hz supply. Its power consumption at peak load is 20 KVA. The machine requires steam at a pressure of 4 Bar with 0.5 kg/hr consumption during production and 70 kg/hr during sterilization. Launching the machine, Ajay Tandon, president and chief executive officer – Engineering Business, Uflex Ltd. said, “It was a challenge to design and manufacture a machine for extending shelf life of a product as perishable as milk. After meticulous R&D of about 18 months, the Engineering Business division at Uflex has designed and brought out this machine, which has been put under commercial run and validation at one of the largest milk packers in India. We are the only company in India to manufacture this machine, which easily competes in quality with any European machine of this kind. The end-to-end system comprising extruded/blown multi-layered specialty film and the ESL Aseptic Flexi-Pouch Machine offers an optimized packaging solution for milk in flexible pouches. This machine can also be customized for packaging other beverages.”
Expressing delight at the launch of the new machine, Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director, Uflex Ltd. said, “I am glad to present the Flexi-Pouch Machine to the Indian milk industry. Roughly 145–150 million tons of milk is produced by India every year, out of which several million tons get spoiled owing to inefficient packaging. In such a scenario, an overall system to extend the shelf life of milk without disturbing the retail coordinates and further to be able to ensure availability in the remote areas without having to spend towards cold chain is a real shot in the arm for milk brands and retailers. This will go a long way in reducing spoilage and wastage of milk. Uflex’s ESL Aseptic Flexi-Pouch Machine is a promising product manufactured in our country and I dedicate it to the government’s flagship scheme of ‘Make in India.’”