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Soft Drinks Process Background

The consumption of soft drinks in their various forms has taken place for many centuries in order to meet
the bodys fundamental requirement for hydration. The most obvious source of hydration is water, but in
earlier times the consumption of water was very hazardous as it was frequently contaminated by micro-
organisms. Soft drink is a product which require a lot of process to have a quality texture and taste in
order to compete with other company. Before the soft drink is produced, a lot of procedures and processes
have to be taken. Most soft drinks are made at local bottling and canning companies. Brand name
franchise companies grant licenses to bottlers to mix the soft drinks in strict accordance to their secret
formulas and their required manufacturing procedures.

The first process is clarifying the water. The quality of water is crucial to the success of a soft
drink. Impurities, such as suspended particles, organic matter, and bacteria, may degrade taste and color.
They are generally removed through the traditional process of a series of coagulation, filtration, and
chlorination. Coagulation involves mixing a gelatinous precipitate, or floc (ferric sulphate or aluminum
sulphate), into the water. The floc absorbs suspended particles, making them larger and more easily
trapped by filters. During the clarification process, alkalinity must be adjusted with an addition of lime to
reach the desired pH level.

The next steps are filtering, sterilizing and dechlorinating the water. The clarified water is poured
through a sand filter to remove fine particles of floc. The water passes through a layer of sand and courser
beds of gravel to capture the particles. Sterilization is necessary to destroy bacteria and organic
compounds that might spoil the water's taste or color. The water is pumped into a storage tank and is
dosed with a small amount of free chlorine. The chlorinated water remains in the storage for about two
hours until the reaction is complete. Furthermore, an activated carbon filter dechlorinates the water and
removes residual organic matter, much like the sand filter. A vacuum pump de-aerates the water before it
passes into a dosing station.

Next, mixing of the ingredients. The dissolved sugar and flavor concentrates are pumped into the
dosing station in a predetermined sequence according to their compatibility. The ingredients are conveyed
into batch tanks where they are carefully mixed; too much agitation can cause unwanted aeration. The
syrup may be sterilized while in the tanks, using ultraviolet radiation or flash pasteurization, which
involves quickly heating and cooling the mixture. Fruit based syrups generally must be pasteurized. The
water and syrup are carefully combined by sophisticated machines, called proportioners, which regulate
the flow rates and ratios of the liquids. The vessels are pressurized with carbon dioxide to prevent aeration
of the mixture.

After that, the process of carbonating the beverage takes place. Carbonation is generally added to
the finished product, though it may be mixed into the water at an earlier stage. The temperature of the
liquid must be carefully controlled since carbon dioxide solubility increases as the liquid temperature
decreases. Many carbonators are equipped with their own cooling systems. The amount of carbon dioxide
pressure used depends on the type of soft drink. For instance, fruit drinks require far less carbonation than
mixer drinks, such as tonics, which are meant to be diluted with other liquids. The beverage is slightly
over-pressured with carbon dioxide to facilitate the movement into storage tanks and ultimately to the
filler machine.

Last but not least, the last steps is filling and packaging the soft drinks. The finished product is
transferred into bottles or cans at extremely high flow rates. The containers are immediately sealed with
pressure-resistant closures, either tinplate or steel crowns with corrugated edges, twist offs, or pull tabs
because soft drinks are generally cooled during the manufacturing process, they must be brought to room
temperature before labeling to prevent condensation from ruining the labels. This is usually achieved by
spraying the containers with warm water and drying them. Labels are then affixed to bottles to provide
information about the brand, ingredients, shelf life, and safe use of the product. Most labels are made of
paper though some are made of a plastic film. Cans are generally pre-printed with product information
before the filling stage. Finally, containers are packed into cartons or trays which are then shipped in
larger pallets or crates to distributors.