Coca-Cola India’s bottling plants are using nitrogen gas as a counter pressure gas to ensure enhanced freshness of the product

Many juices, sports and ready-to-drink tea beverages employ conventional hot fill methods to maintain the product shelf life and quality. Special bottle designs with vacuum compensation qualities along with a heavier-weight PET were required to minimise the de-shaping of filled bottles. These vacuum panel bottles also needed to be covered with shrink sleeve labels to improve the aesthetics of the bottles.

Innovation for Coca-Cola’s packaging is now using of nitrogen as a counter pressure gas. That has a dual benefit –it enhances the freshness of the product, and provides opportunity for light weighting, indirectly having a positive impact on the environment.

How it Works

In the Nitro Hot Fill process, liquid nitrogen is injected precisely at a predetermined rate between the filler and the cap per into each container, which pressurises the container adding to its rigidity. Immediately after this, the bottle is capped. The nitrogen in the bottle becomes gaseous and increases the inner pressure. In the cooling tunnel the temperature of the hot filled beverage is lowered again.

The nitrogen compensates for product volume shrinkage at chilling and prevents bottle distortion with a stabilising residual pressure that remains in the bottle. Thus the bottle is stabilised through the interior pressure and keeps its shape even when cooled down.

Why it’s the Best Solution

  1. Nitro Hot Fill keeps containers stable without vacuum panels. This gives the opportunity for a completely new product design.
  2. Nitro Hot Fill enables the combination oflight weighting with hot filling. This way, material costs can be reduced significantly, doing away with high-cost heavier panel PET bottles.
  3. Hot Fill bottle blow moulds are made of steel and require hot oil circulation. Nitro Hot Fill bottles use aluminium mould requires no hot oil circulation and less compressed air. This results in increased station output and savings in energy compared to the traditional hot fill process.
  4. The panel-less bottles do not require special shrink sleeve labels and can be labelled with the same label type as soft drink andwater bottles, which is often more cost effective too.

Not only is the use of Nitro Hot Fill a more economical process, it is also more convenient and environment-friendly. And at Coca-Cola, it is always about following the most efficient processes and finding the most optimum solutions.