July 21, 2020 – Bevcorp’s MicroBlend division announces they’ve been granted a United States utility patent for their MicrO2 Advantage Series Blending System for carbonated soft drinks (CSD). Scheduled to be exhibited at Pack Expo booth #S-1634, this unique technology deaerates blended product to achieve significantly lower dissolved oxygen (DO) and nitrogen levels compared to traditional blending systems that feed can and bottle fillers. Ideal for cans with BPA-NI (BPA non-intent) liners as well as most other cans and bottles, MicrO2 offers a substantial return on investment by reducing energy costs, supporting higher filling speeds and improving fill volume control to increase yields on packaging lines.
“The soft drink industry has been deaerating the same old way for the last half century – MicrO2 is changing that. Its upfront cost is about the same as a traditional system, and the ROI is incredible. Many of our customers are saving between $70,000 and $150,000 a year in energy costs alone. Once you factor in higher filling speeds, some processors are seeing a return of $1,000,000 every year,” said Mike Lucas, Vice President of Blending Sales at MicroBlend. “The payback on the MicrO2 is so dramatic that people have a hard time believing it. But once they buy one, they start buying more.”
Relying on a deaerating technique similar to the sparging method traditionally used in the beer industry, MicrO2 improves on that process and features other innovations that make it suitable for CSD, wine and other beverages. MicrO2 is compatible with cans that feature new, first-generation BPA-NI liners, which are more susceptible to DO than BPA-lined cans. This is particularly important when using cans from can makers that guarantee “no leakers” only for filled cans with DO levels less than 1.2 parts per million (ppm).
Compared to traditional systems that deaerate before blending and deliver DO levels of 1.8 ppm to the filler, MicrO2 deaerates fully-blended product to deliver DO levels of approximately 0.1 ppm for sugary soft drinks and 0.3 ppm for diet soft drinks. Even if the filler picks up oxygen during the filling process, MicrO2 guarantees a DO level of 0.8 ppm or less for packaged product. Modern fillers with pre-purge systems, as well as older fillers that have been modified with a basic bowl purge, will maintain DO levels of 0.2 to 0.5 ppm in the packaged product, following the MicrO2.
By reducing the DO levels and minimizing foaming, MicrO2 supports faster filling speeds, reduces refrigeration costs by allowing for warmer product temperatures and improves net volume control to increase yields – all of which support a greater ROI. Lower product volatility minimizes opportunities for expelled gases to be reintroduced, which keeps DO levels down during filling and results in greater CO2 consistency.
Also, by reducing DO levels in the packaged product, MicrO2 helps maintain the flavor of the beverage throughout its expected shelf life and potentially supports an increased shelf life.
With lower energy and CO2 consumption, MicrO2 minimizes operating costs. Rebates associated with energy-saving programs may be available from utility providers before and/or after installation to further offset investment costs and improve returns.
Traditional blending systems use either CO2, vacuum or membrane technology to deaerate the water prior to blending. This allows the DO that is naturally present in the syrup to be introduced to the blended product and results in higher DO levels. Even if the syrup is also deaerated prior to blending, the latent volatility of traditionally blended product will cause oxygen to be reintroduced and result in elevated DO levels.
The patented MicrO2 process uses MicroBlend’s proprietary technology to inject CO2 into blended product, deaerating the entire mix to achieve significantly lower DO levels. Most of the CO2 used to deaerate is retained, at which time the system increases pump pressure and injects the additional required CO2 to carbonate the product to the customer’s specifications.
By eliminating the vacuum or membrane deaeration used on traditional systems, MicrO2 offers a more compact footprint and presents fewer moving and wear parts to reduce maintenance. Compared to traditional blending systems that require a vacuum deaerator or membranes to be cleaned, MicrO2 offers an inherently more sanitary design because deaeration occurs within the filler’s normal CIP (clean-in-place) path.
Equipped with MicroBlend’s standard tanks, MicrO2 blends and carbonates 50 to 180 gallons per minute. Larger tanks, available as an upgrade, enable MicrO2 to produce up to 250 gallons per minute. The systems can typically be changed over to handle a new product in less than 10 minutes, depending on the size of the filler. With the addition of MicroBlend’s independent rinsing option, product changeovers can be accomplished in eight to eight-and-a-half minutes.
Customers using other blending systems from MicroBlend may be eligible for a significant cost-savings trade-in when upgrading to MicrO2 since some tanks, meters, sensors and other electronics can be repurposed.
Bevcorp has been a full-service provider of packaging equipment since 1992. Offering solutions for filling, blending, container handling and can seaming as well as parts and service, Bevcorp guarantees unparalleled support, highlighted by their dedicated commitment to serving the food and beverage industries. Through their Bevcorp Filling, MicroBlend, FCI Handling and East Coast Seamers divisions, they provide a wide range of options to satisfy customers’ equipment and budgetary needs.