Gulf Cryo, the leading manufacturer of industrial, medical and speciality gases in the Middle East, has introduced Liquid Nitrogen (LIN) dosing to its product application portfolio targeting the food and beverage industry.
With ongoing environmental and cost concerns about the use of plastics in packaging, bottle manufacturers for non-carbonated beverages such as water, juices and vegetable oils, have been required to reduce the thickness of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used to produce the bottles. This weakens the impact resistance and tensile strength of the bottle and can result in bottles at the bottom of a stack being crushed in transportation.
The application of LIN dosing stops PET bottles containing non-carbonated liquid buckling under the weight caused by stacking by pressurising the bottles from within. This is achieved by placing a small amount of Liquid Nitrogen into the headspace of the container between the filling and capping points.
Milos Kostic, applications manager at Gulf Cryo explains: “Nitrogen is the perfect solution for the crushing problem bottling plants face, which can be both unsafe and costly in high volume product losses. Due to its inert properties, Liquid Nitrogen can expand to its gas form when released into the atmosphere therefore the actual volume of the gas will be 700 times the volume in its liquid state which gives the bottle the required pressure to withstand heavy compression.”
A stronger and more rigid bottle enables pallets of non-carbonates to be double stacked to improve distribution, vending machine delivery is more reliable and labelling and multi packing operations are improved. LIN dosing also enables bottle manufacturers to reduce the PET thickness of the bottle which has both environmental and cost benefits and gives them the flexibility to enhance design features.
Another benefit is the prevention of oil oxidation as it displaces Oxygen from the bottle headspace as well as preserving the flavour and nutrient properties of the non-carbonated liquid.
Gulf Cryo is currently conducting a number of trials for this process with customers in the beverage sector based in the GCC countries.