Just a few years ago, Krones’ subsidiary Steinecker opened a technology center in Freising where customers can create and test recipes for beer and plant-based drinks. Now, the group is setting another important milestone in the evolution of beverages and processes. In early May, at the company’s headquarters in Neutraubling, a fully-equipped R&D lab was officially inaugurated and dubbed the “Process Technology Center”.
The new Process Technology Center is designed to support Krones customers in their product development processes and meet the flavour demands of the global markets. It makes no difference whether the customer already has a finished recipe for a future product or is still at the start of the product development journey and would like to leverage Krones’ expertise for those first steps.
Krones itself will use the new technology center to more closely analyse the effects of various process parameters on different products. The results will then go into further developing and refining Krones machines and lines. The technology center is divided into two sections: process technology and water design.
On the process technology side, various process and treatment steps can be realistically simulated on a pilot UHT system. That makes it possible, for example, to compare the thermal impact of indirect heating using a shell-and-tube heat exchanger versus direct heating. For this, customers can choose between two processes: steam injection and steam infusion. For other trials, the facility is also equipped with systems for mixing, flash pasteurisation, deaeration, homogenisation and filling. The results are then evaluated in-house, for example in Krones’ own microbiological and chemical testing labs.
In the field of water design, customers can fine-tune the flavour of their water by adding just the right amounts of minerals and flavour compounds. The technological possibilities include deaeration, carbonation, electrodeionisation, ionisation, mineral dosing and filling. A water sommelier provides support throughout the trials. Customers also have access to Krones’ extensive network of experts, with engineers in a variety of disciplines, including food and process engineering, to collaborate on transforming product ideas into real products.