The company says the doser (pictured) passed its US Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) at the start of May; it is able to fill beverages with large dimension fruit pieces (up to 10mm3) and is being used for low acid, high protein beverages.
“It has proved to be a difficult development as, almost by definition, a Piston Doser is not aseptic as the containers are hot filled, or sterilized by autoclaving," GEA Procomac said.
“However, the early stages of the project had generated considerable interest with customers looking for new products, new market spaces and new technologies, such as aseptic filling, to reduce packaging costs.”
GEA Procomac says it built a pilot plant and ran tests using products as varied as peaches, chestnuts and walnut kernels, using carrier liquids of various viscosities.
The company says its began producing design studies for the machine a few years ago following customer interest in the technology and the appearance of drinks with large cereal, fruit or aloe vera pieces in the Far East.
“The problem was how to fill those new products while maintaining the integrity of the fruit pieces and, as far as possible, their nutritional and organoleptic properties,” GEA Procomac added.