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SIPA has in recent years put much effort and money into developing and improving various types of filling equipment. Its electronic-controlled volumetric systems have grabbed much of the limelight, with their ability to guarantee high performance and numerous operational advantages in terms of flexibility and customization. But we should not forget SIPA’s mechanical gravity filling monobloc, the Stillfill.

Stillfill caters for a large segment of the market requiring a workhorse for filling non-carbonated products like still water, teas, fruit juices, isotonics, and fruit juices with and without pulp – filled cold or hot with recirculation. Units are simple in use and maintenance, suitable for operation by staff that are less skilled, and which provides excellent performance for its price.

Now SIPA is launching a new generation of modular mechanical gravity fillers, Stillfill Evo. It can be configured in two variants – Stillifll Evo S for cold-filled still water and clear juices; and Stillfill Evo HR for hot-filling with recirculation – with the only difference between the two being a simple-to-install hot-fill kit.

This kit includes a pneumatic valve within the filling valves and a rotating manifold for product recirculation, and an external tank for recovery of the recycled product and pumping back to the pasteurizer. Recirculation is maintained in the valve and the bottle for optimal management of the temperature during stoppages and of the level in the bottle, with evacuation of the foam at the end of filling.

Various new and innovative features have been incorporated into the Stillfill Evo. These include:
 centralized remote fill level adjustment that eliminates the need for adjusting each individual valve vent tube when changing from one bottle size to another;
 product deflection by universal swirl – no deflector change needed for different bottle sizes;
 fixed valves – no flexible pipes, no sliding parts above the bottle mouth;
 bottle-activated valve opening and closing, with a built-in “no bottle, no fill” system –there is no component, electronic or pneumatic, on the filling carousel;
 increased precision in filling level.

Several new features have also been added to ensure high levels of cleanliness on the Stillfill Evo:
 a single membrane is used for both shutter and stroke protection, without the need for sliding gaskets and virtually eliminating debris from wear and tear;
 cleanliness of the valve, which was developed in response to requests from leading international customers wanting to increase efficiency of washing cycles;
 much attention has also been devoted to a key aspects of fillers in general and fillers for still water in particular, namely cleaning and sanitizing of the filling zone;
 optional automatic CIP (Clean In Place) cups loading and unloading for CIP operation, removing any contact by the operator of the valve when inserting false bottles, and hence a possible source of contamination;
 beyond the traditional ISO 7 controlled contamination cabin, pressurized with HEPA filters, it is also possible to configure the Stillfill Evo with a reduced enclosure and isolator technology in the filling valve zone; with this drastic reduction in the space that needs to be kept under control, it is possible to use automatic sanitizing systems on all the surfaces of the filling zone.

Essential construction features of the previous Stillfill generation have been carried over into the Stillfill Evo. These include:
 an extremely simple and fast membrane filling valve;
 contact filling;
 easy access for maintenance;
 central tank on the rotary carousel;
 an optional hot-fill (HF) recirculation valve;
 ability to accept pulps and fibers;
 separate air return;
 high flow capability
 100% stainless steel (grade 304) draining basement;
 quick changeover for different neck diameters, without the need for special tools;
 a nitrogen dispenser option for lightweight bottles.

Roberto Cucciol, Specialties and Beverage BU Director, comments on the new Stillfill Evo: “We have taken a successful line of mechanical gravimetric fillers and further improved it to more than satisfy demanding customer needs, especially in emerging markets and for applications where products to be filled are relatively simple and can be handled without the need for investment in electronic valves.”
The first Stillfill Evo has already been ordered by a customer in Turkey and was due to be installed at the time of writing.
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