The basics of different filling technology

August 10, 2021
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According to LinkedIn:

Many different options exist for packaging beverages into rigid or flexible containers. Processing options include hot fill, cold fill and aseptic. Packaging containers include bottles (glass or plastic), cans, lined paperboard cartons and flexible containers (pouches). Most common are hot and cool technologies

–          Hot Fill

Hot fill is a process where the product is heated and filled at a high temperature to sterilize the product and the container and closure. Hot fill is relatively inexpensive and appropriate for non-carbonated beverages and liquid food products such as fruit and vegetable juices, nectars, soft drinks, enhanced water and teas. Hot fill products have a shelf life ranging from 6-12 months. The principle of operation is similar to the gravity-low vacuum system, however the machine and its filling valves are designed to allow product recirculation in the tank and in the filling valves themselves in order to keep the constant filling temperature even in the eventuality of a machine stop. With the hot fill technology it is possible to fill at 90°C, guaranteeing a constant filling temperature, filling level accuracy and total product recycling. If you’re not quite sure where to begin your hot fill technology journey, you’ll need to obtain a highly knowledgeable consultant who can advise you of the right solutions for your products. They should have access to many numerous suppliers.

Choosing the right hot fill technology for your products can be difficult and vital to your branding. You should have the best customer service for your product packaging in order to advise you on the best bottles, tubes, closures, caps, and other packaging needs you require.




X – Remember:  Hot filling requires heavy bottles i.e.: more expensive. When the product it is hot filled, a heavier bottle is required. 24g vs 16 g PET bottles are taken in consideration for hot filling and other packaging types.

             X – It may affect Cooked flavor

             X – It may affect Inferior nutrition

             X – It may Altered color

 – Cold Fill

 During cold filling, a container is pressurized by cooling the product. The cold product is added to a cold container. Cold filling is common for fresh products including juice and milk and aerosol applications such as sodas and other carbonated beverages.

They are three cold fill technologies (at least what I know)

Iso-barometric FillersApplied to carbonated soft drinks, where the packaging, in PET or glass is filled in iso-barometric fillers, capped and pasteurized in tunnel. Filling is made at 3ºC to 4ºC and the tunnels are much longer. 

Ultra Clean Systems: applied to beverages filling at low temperatures, and where the environmental conditions are very strict. This type of products has normally a short expiring date -about 30 days- and are distributed at low temperature under chilled conditions. They have high quality, flash pasteurized and applied to carton and PET packaging.

Steril filling: Sterile filling preserves the product best according to nutritional, organoleptic and shelf life qualities. In this type of technologies, the different filling systems sterilize the packaging before filling, and this is produced in sterile environment, sterilizing the packaging with peroxide or per-acetic acid to be later dried to eliminate any traces of it. The sterility of the filling atmosphere is achieved via air filtering and high temperature sterilization.
The first technologies of this kind where developed for the carton packaging and was massively employed for milk packaging. Currently there are sterile fillers for carton packaging and PET bottles.

 –          Aseptic Fill

 Aseptic fill is a technique where the product is flash pasteurized by heating to 180-220 degrees for a few minutes and then cooled and filled at room temperature. The container and closure must also be sterilized prior to filling and the filling process takes place in a controlled, sterilized environment. Aseptic fill is appropriate for high acid products (less than 4.5pH) and the aseptically filled product is shelf stable at room temperature for up to 18 months without refrigeration. Aseptic processing eliminated the need for preservatives in the product and has gained popularity due the recent trend toward all natural and organic beverages.

 Sodas and other carbonated beverages are typically filled into either glass, aluminum bottles, aluminum cans or PET containers. Canning and bottling lines utilize special equipment called a counter pressure filler where the container is pressurized with CO2 and then sealed or closed.

 Containers: Beverages containers include glass bottles, cans, plastic containers (PET, HDPE, LDPE), lined paperboard containers and flexible containers such as pouches.  Flexible containers are popular for juices and other food beverages. Some pouches include a plastic fitment for a spout. Flexible containers can be pre-formed or produced and filled simultaneously on a vertical or horizontal form, fill and seal machine (FFS). Flexible containers are frequently used for children’s beverages. Beverage cans made from paperboard are the most recent trend in beverage packaging. Beverage cans, traditionally made from metal, aluminum or tinplate have become more expensive over the last several years whereas paperboard has remained consistently cheaper.  Also, paperboard containers are more environmentally friendly since they can be more easily recycled than other glass or plastic containers.



– Beneficial to maintain the flavor, color and nutritional benefits of certain products such as fruit juices

– Decreased energy requirements to maintain inventory


X-Expensive to Install

X -Replacement of glass with plastic has caused concern

X -Loss of nutrients during flash heating process

X- Challenges in recycling the packaging materials currently in use

X- Challenges in maintaining and creating sterility

X- Hi temp.  pasteurization could also kill some non-pathogenic beneficial microbes in products

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