Cash boost helps
electron beam company make waves in aseptic packing
of Article: http://www.dairyreporter.com/Safety-Hygiene/Cash-boost-helps-electron-beam-company-make-waves-in-aseptic-packing
By Rory Harrington, 07-Aug-2009
A US company that uses electron
beams to sterilise aseptic packaging plans to use a $14m-cash-injection
to develop new technology, increase sales and boost its finances.
Massachusetts-based Advanced Electron Beams
(AEB) said the latest funding brings the total raised by the company to
more than $50m. The company said it hoped to use the funding to develop
its air pollution control space technology, where companies could use
e-beams instead of burning pollutants.
Josh Epstein, director of marketing, told
FoodProductionDaily.com the company is also developing a new, smaller
emitter, with a narrower nozzle that will fit inside beverage containers.
The product is expected to be introduced in September.
CEO Mitch Tyson added: “No one has been
able to do that up until this point.”
He said he hoped the cash infusion would get
the cash-flow negative company to break even.
AEB also announced it is expecting to receive
two letters of non-objection from the Food and Drug Administration for
new technology in the near future.
Poised for growth
E-beams have been used for decades in the food
and beverage sectors. They work by directing a shower of accelerated
electrons through a high-voltage emitter towards a target. However, a
number of developments in recent years suggests the technology is
poised for substantial growth, said Epstein.
One advancement is the miniturisiation of the
technology. Where units often measured 20 feet by10 feet (approx 6m x
3m), they had now shrunk to one hundredth of that size. This means the
systems can be integrated into beverage filling equipment, eliminating
the need to bring containers to dedicated irradiation centres.
Another development is the growth of aseptic
packaging, particularly in the beverage industry as demand “moves
away from carbonated soft-drinks towards functional beverages,
ready-to-drink teas and coffees and dairy-based drinks,” said
E-beam technology offers a chemical-free
alternative to conventional sterilisation, as well as delivering
reduced energy costs, a smaller processing footprint and a cut in water
consumption as it eliminates the need for rinse water, he added. The
process also results in lightweighting of packing design because no
heating is involved in the sterilisation procedure. The company said its
technology help traditional aseptic manufacturers become more
Epstein said that while capital costs for
e-beam technology were “slightly higher” than conventional
sterialisation systems, payback could be achieved within 12-18 months
on energy savings alone.
AEB is working with 12 original equipment
manufacturers at various design stages, as well as 50 customers - 19 of
which are Fortune 1,000 companies, said the marketing director. Around
75 per cent of its clients are in the food and beverage industries,
with the rest from the pharmaceutical sector. The company has shipped
200 of its e-beams worldwide, mainly in the United States, Europe and