For more than 20 years, Tetra Pak looked for a suitable technology to replace hydrogen peroxide sterilization of their carton-based multi-layer packing, which is used to form various food product packages. Electron beam processing was discussed on a few occasions, but there was no sealed, compact product available that could be easily installed into existing manufacturing lines. Tetra Pak approached COMET to develop an innovative solution to the issue and began an official partnership in 2004. Thanks to the engineering assets in-house at the COMET group, together they were able to begin development of electron beam (ebeam) lamp technology.
ebeam works by focusing a controlled beam of electrons onto the surface of packaging material as it runs through the filling machine. The electrons deactivate any bacteria or micro-organisms present on the surface of the packaging, by fracturing their DNA chains. The process is quicker, safer and more reliable than other sterilization methods. For the end client of Tetra Pak’s customer this means that the products are safe and have increased shelf-life. Find out how Tetra Pak’s customer Rajo, the largest dairy producer in Slovakia, implemented the technology in this video
The official commercial launch of the first ebeam-equipped Tetra Pak solution was the “Tetra Pak® E3” platform, in June 2015 at the FISPAL trade show in São Paulo. The compact ebeam Lamps replaced hydrogen peroxide as the method to sterilize the packaging material. The use of ebeam allowed Tetra Pak’s customers to reduce their environmental impact, increase production speed and reduce costs. Attendees were amazed by the new product and its economic and environmental benefits. You can see the launch video here
Tetra Pak machines with ebeam have up to 20% lower operational costs due to improved efficiency. The modular design of the Tetra Pak E3 platform offers increased production flexibility to manufacturers. By installing an ebeam kit, manufacturers can switch between pasteurized and extended shelf life production orders on the same filling machine. ebeam is a “cold”, contact-free process and therefore 33% less energy consuming which reduces the CO2 footprint drastically. Tetra Pak has sterilized more than a billion food-safe packages using ebeam.
Subsequently, ebeam has been able to successfully scale manufacturing technology to industrial levels and has since branched into new markets. Having proven itself as an attractive solution for other industrial applications – within the next decade, we are set to manufacture more electron beam accelerators than every other manufacturer in the history of this technology combined. The partnership with Tetra Pak was a big success and we will continue innovating and working together for the benefit of the food and beverage packaging industry.
“This is a very exciting development; Tetra Pak E3 not only delivers significant cost and environmental benefits to our customers, it also marks the start of a new era in the world of carton packaging. The efficiency and effectiveness of filling equipment has just taken a major step forward.”
– Charles Brand, Executive Vice President, Product Management and Commercial Operations at Tetra Pak