Co-packers, new dosing systems get AriZona beverages to market
Based in Lake Success, NY, AriZona Beverage Co. contracts packaging facilities globally for the high-volume production of its extensive line of canned and bottled beverages, from iced teas and juices to sports drinks, flavored waters, and coffees.
AriZona Beverage Director of Technical and Manufacturing Services, Jim Dar, notes, "In most cases, AriZona Beverage buys the equipment used for production and packaging of our products at the contract-packaging facilities. We determine and provide direction to the contract packers as to which manufacturers' equipment works the best for maintaining our product-quality standards and processing and packaging specifications."
Many world-class international suppliers manufacture the filling, seaming, capping, labeling equipment, and packaging materials, says AriZona Beverage. But all new canning and bottling lines installed by the company have exclusively incorporated liquid-nitrogen dosing systems manufactured by Cryotech International.
The liquid nitrogen, which converts to a gaseous state within the packaging, creates internal container pressure. This process helps prevent container damage and collapse. But as Dar explains, "The liquid-nitrogen dosing also serves to displace or minimize oxygen in the containers. The result is increased shelf life and improved preservation of beverage flavors and colors. Without the liquid-nitrogen injection, we get about three to six months of shelf life, depending on product and package. The liquid-nitrogen injection process increases that shelf life by 12 to 18 weeks."
The liquid nitrogen is introduced after filling and before bottle capping or can seaming. For inerting (oxygen-flushing) applications, the dosing head typically is positioned closer to the filler than to the capper, allowing the LN2 (about 0.5-g dose per container) more time to convert to a gaseous state. As the liquid nitrogen turns into gas, it forces oxygen out of the container headspace. Along with the oxygen, some of the nitrogen is intentionally allowed to escape before capping.
Cryotech has developed SoftDose spray technology specifically for hot-fill applications, which are used by the contract fillers. The equipment is essentially the same as what's used for cold- and ambient-fill products. But because hot-fill products often are packaged in wider-mouth containers, there is more opportunity for the liquid nitrogen (administered at about minus 320°F) to agitate and splash out of the hot-fill beverage (filled at about 185°F) container during the dosing process. This splashing effect causes inconsistencies in both the inerting and pressurization applications. The Cryotech SoftDose spray system allows the LN2 injections to sit gently on top of the product surface, significantly decreasing the potential for splashing.
Dar adds that none of AriZona Beverage's contract-packaging facilities has reported any problems when using the liquid-nitrogen injection systems.
Last call for CP 08 registration
If you want to hear how companies such as Quaker Oats, GlaxoSmithKline, Bath and Body Works, and Esio Beverage integrate innovative packaging approaches with contract-packaging services, the CP 08: Succeeding with Contract Packaging conference is the place to be.
But you only have a few days left to register. The conference is Sept. 16-17 at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg, in Schaumburg, IL. This annual, industry-focused educational and networking event, produced by Contract Packaging and Packaging World magazines, with the support of the Contract Packaging Association, kicks off Monday, Sept. 15, with a welcome reception at the hotel.
To register, visit www.contractpackagingmag.com/cp08, or call Adriene Cooper at 312/222-1010.