Dolium The Dolium® barrels are specially designed to make that belief a reality. Dispack-Projects is a young, innovative company. In 2013, they opened a new factory in the Antwerp port area, producing plastic beer and wine barrels under the brand name Dolium. Quality manager Fré Boeren was closely involved in setting up the line. One of his jobs was to produce kegs that are technically sterile. "The kegs have to be disinfected. We wanted to use as little water and chemicals as possible, because that damages the environment. It's also expensive to buy and dispose of chemicals."
Partnership with Bioclimatic
In the search for alternatives, Boeren landed on Bioclimatic, a company based in Nieuw-Vennep. "Bioclimatic has a lot of experience in disinfecting surfaces and air with UVC light and ionisation," says Boeren. "They also function as a good advisor. They were able to brainstorm with us about the best way to set up the line."
Disinfection is now done in two steps. The barrels enter the clean room on a conveyor belt. The barrels then pass under a UVC light for a few seconds to kill the microorganisms. The barrels are then sealed. The next step is filling the barrels with CO2. This is also done in the clean room. A UVC bulb disinfects the closure of the barrel and the filling head. The CO2 is then injected into the barrel so the barrels can't be contaminated during filling.
Boeren likes the fact that Bioclimatic gave him advice on how to set up the line. "Of course we have certain requirements that our barrels have to meet," he says. "And you are faced with different choices. The degree of disinfection is determined by the contact time, the distance between the bulb and the surface, and the power of the bulb."
Watch the VMT interview with Fré Boeren
The line has been running for three years now and Boeren is still very pleased with disinfection technology. "I particularly like the fact that it is a reliable method. All kinds of things can go wrong with chemical disinfection. Employees can make mistakes in concentration and microorganisms can become resistant. When disinfection is done with UVC light, that's no longer an issue. Microorganisms don't build up resistance to UVC light. The light almost always works and that is visually visible to the employees. They can intervene immediately if the light is out. And then it's just a matter of replacing the bulb. Our technical department can do that on their own. And if there's a breakage, there are no shards of glass that could end up in the drums. The bulbs are actually protected with an HACCP Teflon layer. That means that if a bulb breaks, there will be no shards.