1. Context and general objectives of the CleanPack project

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project (For the final period, include the conclusions of the action)

The objective of the CleanPack packaging machine is to provide (at a small scale) aseptic/ultraclean
food packaging conditions and safety standards that until now only clean rooms of big food processors
could ensure. In response to customers’ needs, TECSELOR is developing the CleanPack prototype
that allows ultraclean/aseptic packaging conditions for food products, which will represent a costeffective
alternative to a clean room with the same level of food safety.
CleanPack goes beyond clean rooms in terms of shelf-life extension of foods. This goal could be
achieved through a new packaging technique, which combines different patented technologies: sterile
thermoforming and packaging, filling with surface decontamination of perishable fresh foods and
ultraclean cutting of trays. The integration of these techniques in a whole CleanPack machine will
allow SME-packaging to maintain the same level of food safety as clean rooms and extend shelf-life
and freshness of their packed foods even more than big producers.
The industry sector of preparation and packaging of solid refrigerated foods such as dairy products,
meat, fish, ready meals and salads or cut fruits and vegetables, is demanding increased levels of
hygiene to package products with minimal microbial contamination or commercial sterility conditions
(aseptically). CleanPack extends food shelf-live, preserving fresh-like characteristics of food as a
clean label since there is no need for addition of further chemical preservatives. The implementation
of this milder technology also has the potential of reducing energy consumption and the dependence
on cold-chain logistics, which enables decentralized production for a more sustainable and economic
distribution-chain. Therefore, a huge array of SME food industries would achieve better products with
extended shelf-life thanks to CleanPack, improving the competitiveness of the sector.

2. Work done during the project

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far (For the final period please include an overview of the results and their exploitation and dissemination)

Summary and Overview for Year 1: During the first stage of the project new designs of CleanPack
were performed. This was comprised of the four modules and the aseptic enclosure: (i) Thermoforming
Module; (ii) Filling Module with essential oils for surface decontamination; (iii) Thermosealing
Module; (iv) Cutting Module. All technical designs have been elaborated since year 1 considering
compatibility with the other modules, which has been essential for a successful assembly for the
whole CleanPack machine during the project. In addition to these technical designs, it’s noteworthy to
mention that the microbiologically controlled enclosure was also successfully validated during year
1 according to the ISO class 5 standard conditions (less than 100 particle size ≥0,5 μm; microbial
count in the air ≤1 CFU/ft3), to ensure ultraclean conditions of the assembled machine. The on-site
validations started initially at the end of the first period. This was to verify the performance of the
machine under real conditions and using different type of food products.
CleanPack information has been published in TECSELOR website, social media networks and
specialised media. Several demonstration actions have been developed in events related to foodindustry
and in meetings with potential clients. Moreover, an exhibition-truck containing the
manufactured prototype was developed to facilitate the transportation of the machine for several
Ref. Ares(2019)6591491 – 25/10/2019
project tasks, such as the on-site validations or the demonstration and marketing activities. The
preliminary results during year 1 were positive, where several commercial contacts were established
with potential customers and distributors within the food-packaging technology industry.
Summary and Overview for Year 2: During the second period of the project, and according to
the implementation of the Project Work Packages, the industrial validation was finalised: obtaining
positive results regarding microbiological control, as well as sensory and self-life preservation of
food products [WP3]. The internal and external validations were also successfully developed and
pre-commercial activities, such as further dissemination, extension international of the industrial
protection (Patent), certifications and documentation for market deployment, were carried out [WP4].
Thus,positive preliminary results were obtained, establishing – pre-commercial agreements with
potential clients and distributors interested in the acquisition and installation of CleanPack equipment.

3. Progress and expected results

Progress beyond the state of the art, expected results until the end of the project and potential impacts (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

CleanPack is a unique solution will allow packaging-SMEs to maintain the same level of food safety
as clean rooms and extend shelf-life and freshness of their packed foods even more than big producers.
The four-module design of CleanPack machine can be adapted to different market and customers’
needs, resulting in a more efficient and economic process. In addition, the new decontamination
technique using essential oils, within the filling module, helps to extend shelf-life of products,
estimated at a minimum of 150%, without additional chemical preservatives. CleanPack technology
also has the potential to reduce energy and costs within the food distribution chain, by decreasing
the dependence from cold-chain logistics, enabling decentralized production and improving the
competitiveness of the food sector.
The results derived from the CleanPack project; following the successful implementation of the work
packages during year 2 enabled TECSELOR to bring to the RTE (ready-to-eat) food packaging market
a thermoforming machine for in-situ production of aseptic trays, which enables to reduce foodborne
diseases and food waste, and increases shelf-life of RTE food, mainly fresh-cut fruits and vegetables,
sliced food (meat, fish, poultry) and other RTE prepared meals. Moreover, such results have provided
significant technological advantages over TECSELOR’s competitors.