Modelling and Multi-objective Optimisation of the VHP Pouch Packaging Sterilisation Process

Author(s): 
Simone Spanu and Giuseppe Vignali

CHALLENGE - Spouted pouches are being increasingly used in the beverage sector. However, aseptic packaging technology used for spouted pouches requires a highly complex sterilization and rinsing process for the packaging materials before filling. This paper deals with the pouch packaging sterilization process used in aseptic technology.

SOLUTION - Firstly, a modeling and fluid dynamics simulation of the sterilization process on the pouch with a subsequent experimental validation is performed. A mixture composed of vaporized hydrogen peroxide and the hot sterile air is injected into the package through a sterilization nozzle. A CFD multicomponent model in ANSYS CFX has been created and validated in order to simulate the real process. In the second part of the study, ANSYS CFX software was implemented in the modeFRONTIER multi-objective optimization tool in order to select the optimal solution among the configurations which tend to achieve a defined sterilization effect. Based on this model, the paper aims to minimize hydrogen peroxide consumption and optimize the sterilization treatment of the packaging. This issue has been approached using multi-objective optimization software applied to CFD multicomponent simulations.

BENEFITS - The most suitable nozzle position inside the pouch has been established, as well as the optimal treatment time, concentration and flow rate of the sterilizing mixture. An MCDM software tool ranked all the optimal designs and identified design 127 as the optimal configuration. The optimal configuration shows a sterilization target of 2.96 × 10–01, 15.2 s as process time and a low treatment cost of 2.61 × 10–04
€/bottle.