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The InnoPET BloFill ACF-L aseptic block from KHS is now part of one of the most modern dairies in the region. It incorporates a stretch blow molder of the newest generation. Photo credit: KHS

Block Systems

Serbian milk producer Imlek relies on an up-to-the-minute block system from KHS

3:30 min Filling and aseptic
Dortmund, Germany

In 2018 a big fire caused terrible damage to Serbian milk producer Imlek’s production site. One of the many items destroyed was a KHS aseptic filler, just six years old. When it came to procuring a replacement, the company again opted for the Dortmund systems supplier – and for a block system featuring the latest in stretch blow molding technology.

What’s now the Imlek Group has its origins in a farmstead in Glogonjski Rit, a suburb of Belgrade, where in 1953 an artisan dairy farm was established. This transported between 3,000 and 5,000 liters of milk a day from the farm’s 800 or so cows to the city’s markets, initially in metal churns loaded onto horse-drawn carts and tractors. Just four years later the company installed its first pasteurizing and filling line. Its development then gathered pace: by 1963 the dairy was already producing over 20 million liters of milk a year. The 1970s were also marked by growth, with more and more dairies becoming part of the consortium. Since 1991 the company has been run as a stock corporation under the name of Imlek. It now fills over one million liters of milk a day, with its annual turnover amounting to around €300 million. This makes Imlek a market leader – also beyond the Serbian border in the neighboring countries of Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. Further sales markets include Croatia, Albania, Slovenia and – first and foremost – Russia.

The diary giant was the very first in the Balkans to invest in an aseptic filler in 2012 in order to enable germ-free filling of a section of its portfolio into PET bottles. Its prime aim was to facilitate the export of sensitive products by lengthening shelf lives and lowering transportation weights. Back then Imlek decided to invest in a linear KHS Asbofill ABF 711 filler, as with its very small aseptic zone this machinery permits sterile filling without the need for intermediate sterilization. Up to 12,000 PET bottles holding between 250 milliliters and two liters are processed per hour.

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