GAI is one of the most famous company manufacturing bottling machines for the wine industry and other beverages such as beers and spirits. Since its foundation in 1946, this family-owned company has always placed the concept of enological excellence as a pillar of their quality-oriented development. Oxygen management at bottling is at the heart of all the latest innovations developed by Gai in their machines. The goal, at each stage of the bottling process, is to put in place systems to avoid oxygen intake and keep the product quality unchanged.
For some of them, particularly for sparkling products, controlling oxygen level is even more important.
Finetuning the de-aeration stages
To lower oxygen intake all along bottling or canning process, GAI has developed a “de-aeration” step that is applied before filling the bottle or the can, but also before corking or capping. De-aeration is based on the following sequence of vacuum / inert gas injection / vacuum / inert gas injection. “This sequence must be finetuned in terms of timing to reach the desired performance in terms of oxygen removal. Thanks to the NomaSense O2 P6000 analyzer, we can optimize the settings by checking real-time how much oxygen we have removed depending on the parameters applied. This is what we did for the latest canning machine prototype that we developed. We prepared a specific transparent plastic can in which we glued the oxygen sensors on the wall of the can both in the middle and in the upper part corresponding to the headspace. We could therefore check non-invasively oxygen all along the de-aeration sequences. Thanks to these controls, we could define the right timing and right setup to apply. The same settings are now applied for the machines of the same series that we produce”.
Controlling bottling performance on-site with customers
Gai also offers regular assistance to customers on the field. “We have more and more customers who take more care about measuring oxygen at bottling. It might happen that customers call us because they face an issue regarding undesired oxygen pick-up at bottling. In that case, once again, the portable NomaSense O2 P6000 is critical to measure oxygen intake in real-time, in the liquid, or in the headspace, directly in the cellar or the brewery”, mentions Paolo Corda. Thanks to this analyzer coupled with the use of a sight-glass equipped with oxygen sensors, it is possible to identify if the oxygen intake is occurring before or during the bottling process. When shown that oxygen uptake is linked to the bottling process itself, it is then possible to investigate by decomposing step by step the process and identify the root cause of the intake by using a clear bottle equipped with oxygen sensors.
I remember one case where we could identify precisely which part of the machine created the problem and this allowed us to come back to repair the machine, knowing exactly what parts to replace. We saved a lot of time as we did not have to take the machine entirely apart to find the technical issue. We could act straight at the heart of the damaged part.