When Nectar started up its first production line for processing fruit juice in beverage cartons 20 years ago near Novi Sad in northwest Serbia, there was no telling how fast the company would develop. Five years later, a factory for the production of fruit concentrates and purées was procured in the south of the country.

In 2005, a PET, a glass and a canning line were added to the machine park, with new beverage carton lines following soon after. In 2008, Nectar became the majority owner of the Heba mineral water bottling plant, and since 2011, Nectar has owned Fructal, a Slovenian processor of fruit for over 70 years.

Nectar covers all stages of the value chain, from its own plantations through purchasing, fruit processing and cooperation with fruit farmers to the finished product.

Until recently, sensitive products were pasteurized and filled with the help of ultraclean filling technology, where overpressure is applied to the filling and capping zone. The air is fed in through filters to prevent microbiological contamination. In addition, the empty bottles are first filled with nitrogen to improve the microbiological quality of the filling process.

In order to satisfy its growing demand for quality, Nectar has now opted an aseptic filling solution from KHS.

This allows Nectar’s range of products to be considerably expanded—in fruit content, flavors and product variants in all categories. “For us, the most important thing is that we can now carry out this process under sterile conditions,” says production manager Milka Tomanović. “This retains the natural properties of the fruit. We have a better quality of final product and can offer greater microbiological quality over a longer period.”

Creating sterile conditions for aseptic fillers is tricky. Nectar wanted a technological partner with certified systems proven worldwide. 

“Not only was the high quality of the components important to us, it was also essential that we could fully rely on the technology to generate aseptic production conditions,” emphasizes Tomanović. 

The many opportunities offered by the KHS system, its control setup and maintenance program, and recommendations from other companies persuaded Nectar to work with the Dortmund, Germany, systems supplier. “With the new Innosept Asbofill ABF 711 C, Nectar has the first aseptic filler of this kind for the production of fruit juice in all of Serbia,” says Nenad Delovski, head of the KHS office in Belgrade, Serbia.

The line has a capacity of 12,000 bottles per hour and processes 500-milliliter, 750-milliliter and 1.5-liter PET bottles. Nectar not only invested in a filler, but also in a stretch blow molder by acquiring a used, fully overhauled system from KHS.

Including all air conveyors, discharge to the packaging and palletizing section and an Innocheck FHC fill height control system, the investment came to about $4 million.

Nectar appreciates its cooperation with KHS engineers. “These people share their knowledge with the customer,” Tomanović says. “This gives us security and the good feeling that we can easily clear up any problems which might arise in a straightforward manner.”

Tomanović is pleased with the result. “With our new line we’ve been able to greatly boost our efficiency—on the one hand thanks to the much higher capacity than on the old line and on the other through a reduction in downtime and larger production series.”

For more information, visit  www.khs.com