Syrup room for soft drinks production

Refresco: leading independent beverage solutions provider

Refresco is a leading independent beverage solutions provider for Global, National and Emerging brands and for retailers, with production in Europe and North America. With over 70 production sites in Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico, the company produces an almost unlimited variety of product and packaging combinations in soft drinks, juices and other beverages, with recipes that meet specific customer needs.

As is often the case, companies start collaborating not only to exploit business opportunities, but also because they share the same values. This is what happened to Refresco and CFT Group, which from their very first meeting found themselves aligned on the quest for excellence in product quality, innovation and the ability to develop flexible, tailor-made solutions.

History: CFT Group and Refresco

Our collaboration with Refresco began several years ago, with the supply of several systems mainly related to the production of fruit juices at their facilities in Italy, the Netherlands and the south of England. Thanks to these first successfully installed and commissioned lines, we developed a mutually rewarding relationship that has allowed us to be involved in this latest project as well.

The latest collaboration took us to the North of England, where we worked on a new objective: the design and installation of a syrup room for the production of soft drinks. Refresco’s requirement was to have a system capable of automatically handling a large number of recipes, while at the same time occupying a limited amount of space. Added to this was the need to be independent in the production of sugar syrup, a fundamental basic ingredient in many soft drink recipes.

With these needs in mind, we worked on the implementation of a syrup room with a 42,000 l/h capacity.

Design of the 42,000 l/h syrup room

We had already developed similar technologies related to the production of soft drinks and juices in the past, such as the continuous dissolving system for granular sugar, but for this particular project we decided, along with the customer, to invest in improving capacity and performance. We therefore studied all the most recent and innovative projects completed by CFT for the Processing industry, with the ambitious aim of drawing on the best solutions to create a state-of-the-art system.

Once the technological fundamentals of the line had been identified, the design phase began, together with Refresco, to discuss their requirements and feasible solutions. During this phase we also changed the composition of the supply that had initially been planned. We decided to optimize the initial idea and use a pasteurizing solution. This offers a very good energy performance, reducing the amount of energy needed by up to 80%.

Once the design for the syrup room had been established, we started with the installation work. The work plan was carried out with a few difficulties, along with several interruptions caused by the pandemic period, but it was successfully completed in the end. The credit for this goes to the collaboration between Refresco and CFT as well as the professionalism and flexibility of the CFT technicians, who were able to work to very tight deadlines.

The CFT solution

The solution designed for Refresco includes the following key technologies:

  • 13 cubic metres/h continuous dissolving system for sugar, comprising a granular sugar storage unit and a sugar syrup storage unit
  • Three 42,000-litre stainless steel blending tanks for preparing the beverage base to be sent to the next processing stage
  • 3-ingredient continuous blender (water, sugar syrup, beverage base) of 42,000 l/h to produce the finished drink and send it to the pasteurizer
  • Plate pasteurizer Olimpic P-XX/PS for preheating, pasteurizing and cooling the soft drink
  • 2-stream Cip system with 12 independent cycles dedicated to washing all the sets of machines that make up the syrup room. The use of mix-proof valves allows the different sections of the system to be washed separately, minimizing production downtime.
Syrup room for soft drinks production

Achievements

The new soft drink production line has resulted in:

  • Maximum efficiency of internal sugar syrup production with a faster dissolving time
  • Soft drink production capacity of 42,000 l/h
  • Energy savings of up to 80% thanks to the pasteurizer that allows heat recovery through the plate heat exchanger
  • Ability to handle recipes with a minimum of 16 different ingredients that can vary in terms of sequence and characteristics.

We are particularly proud of this project, because it confirms our team’s ability to work on tailor-made projects through ongoing coordination and close collaboration with the customer, as well as the ability to provide turnkey solutions that lay a solid foundation for long-lasting and fruitful relationships with the companies with which we collaborate.

Soft drinks market outlook

The soft drinks industry has grown at a rapid pace and is now an important part of the food and beverage sector. The soft drinks market was valued at $820 billion in 2020 and is estimated to reach $2134.6 billion by 2031, registering a 6.8% growth from 2022 to 2031. This scenario offers excellent prospects for the future.

Aldo Bardulla – Regional Sales Manager

Lorenzo Belli – Sales Area Manager

Daniele Biancheri – Process Specialist