India-based flexible packaging material provider Uflex has introduced a new ESL aseptic flexi-pouch machine for packaging milk, in a bid to help extend the product's shelf life by up to 90 days. 

Equipped with an inbuilt automatic CIP and SIP system, the new machine can pack milk in several stock-keeping units (SKU), ranging from 70ml to 1,500ml.

These units are designed to fill around 5,000 to 2,500 packs per head every hour.

The ESL aseptic flexi-pouch machine packs milk in a pouch, which has five to seven layers of extruded or blown polyethylene film.

The film offers various barrier properties, including a black layer for ultraviolet (UV) protection.

A specially programmed B&R and Siemens system attached to the machine allows milk companies to pack products according to their requirements.

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"The ESL Aseptic Flexi-Pouch Machine offers an optimised packaging solution for milk in flexible pouches."

Uflex engineering business president and CEO Ajay Tandon said: “It was a challenge to design and manufacture a machine for extending shelf life of a product as perishable as milk.

“After meticulous R&D of about 18 months, the Engineering Business at Uflex has designed and brought out this machine, which has been put under commercial run and validation at one of the largest milk packers in India. 

“The end-to-end system comprising extruded / blown multi-layered specialty film and the ESL Aseptic Flexi-Pouch Machine offers an optimised packaging solution for milk in flexible pouches. This machine can also be customised for packaging other beverages too.”

The company said that the machine’s special isolation valve prevents milk from flowing from the ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) unit to the filling machine if the sterilisation of milk in UHT is incomplete. 

Around 145 to 150 million tonnes of milk is currently produced by India annually, but the majority is spoiled due to inefficient packaging.

Image: ESL aseptic flexi-pouch machine, two head filling. Photo: courtesy of UFLEX.