The State-of-the-art beverage plant that John Peter Koss visited on the Island of Tahiti (see story on page 20), is of course, equipped with the latest in beverage manufacturing technology. And the cutting-edge technology employed by Brasserie de Tahiti (Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia) starts right at the beginning of the soft drink manufacturing process with a sugar processing, beverage blending and carbonating system from Miteco (Zofingen, Switzerland).
When the bottler of Coca-Cola products was looking to add a new soft drink line to its Papeete facility, it turned to Miteco for a traditional blender installation. “We decided to use Miteco equipment for the prepartion of the simple syrup because of the precision of their equipment and the reproducability of the process,” explains Brasserie de Tahiti’s Lydie Joufoques.
But what started out as a traditional blender to serve a single new line turned into a more innovative approach to blending. Looking at the needs of Tahiti’s existing lines together with the additional line, Miteco recommended that the bottler install a single Multiblender to serve all three filling lines.
Taking recommendations from fellow Coca-Cola botters in Brisbane and Clamart, Tahiti took Miteco’s advice and installed a Multiblender RB-4-60 for the continuous blending of up to 60,000 liters/hour of non-carbonated beverages for three filling lines with capacities of 30,000 liters/hour, 12,000 liters/hour and 10,000 liters/hour respectively The Multiblender is fed by four inlets-final syrup for each of the three lines and one for deareated water-and feeds into all three filling lines simultaneously Miteco also installed three carbonators-one for each line, as well as the sugar dumping station, the screw conveyor to the dissolving unit and the Contisolvr 10CI, a continuous sugar dissolving unit for 10,000 liters/hour of a 62[degrees] Brix.
Engineering for the system was handled by Miteco’s engineers, who started with 3-D layouts for the assembly P&I diagrams and wiring diagrams for the system. All piping and electrical material and the control panel and software were also handled by Miteco.
According to Joufoques, the decision to go with Miteco’s plan was made because it allowed the bottler to separate the essential mixing and carbonation steps to allow for improved quality control and product consistency “This has improved our control and the precision of the principle parameters: Brix and [CO.sub.2],” she says.
In fact, Miteco’s Multiblender and carbonation systems surpass Coca-Cola’s notoriously stringent quality control standards. While the latest CocaCola specificatiors are for the Actual Capability Index (Cpk) of a blending system to be >1.33, the Multiblender at Tahiti provides a Cpk of >4. And accuracy of the Brix of the non-carbonated beverages leaving the Multiblender is [+ or -]0.03 [degrees]Brix or better. Accuracy of the carbonated beverages are [+ or -]0.05 vol or better and for the carbonation units, while Cpk >1.33 is specified, the Miteco system achieves Cpk >2.
The accuracy of Miteco’s equipment comes from the company’s years of experience and its history of technological innovations. The continuous in-line blending of the Multiblender is a patented process developed by Miteco. The system is designed to ensure maximum product quality without the need for stop-and-go adjustments which affect line speed and product quality. Each of the inlet components, for example, have its own mass meter and an independent control loop for better dosing accuracy. The idea is that the quality of the product depends upon the quality of the production plant.
The complete system allows the bottler the option of sanitizing one line while the other two are in production and also provides Tahiti the flexibility to run non-carbonated drinks on any of the three lines. The end result is at the same time a simplification and improvement of the blending process. “Having only one blender serving three lines has provided gains in space, energy efficiency and maintenance savings,” says Joufoques.