Automatic and food safe sterilization - Walluf (DEU)


For over 70 years Van Hees GmbH in Walluf – Germany (near Wiesbaden) has been producing various types of spices, spice mixes, additives and marinades for meat and sausage specialties. The family owned business is active in more than 80 countries and employs over 500 people.


In the production process stainless steel food containers are used. The containers are shipped with end product to customers. After use, the food containers are returned to the factory to be cleaned and sterilized.


Van Hees was looking for ways to improve the sterilization process and found Gröninger. A few years ago, Gröninger developed a system to automatically sterilize stainless steel food container, without the operator having to perform any actions.


The fully automated process consists of four steps:

  • Heating: to a temperature (100 °C to 130 °C)
  • Sterilization: for a certain (adjustable) time
  • Cooling: with air (inside) and water (outside); the internal pressure is continuously measured to prevent implosion of the container
  • Conditioned storage: of the container, with a slight overpressure, at the factory


The system is equipped with a data logging system in order to build up a sterilization history per container. Before a container is actually sterilized, various parameters and set points must be reached. If for example the sterilization temperature to be reached is not met, the monitoring system of the PLC controller will ensure that the sterilization is rejected.


Companies that want to sterilize food containers with a validated method like Van Hees, can contact Gröninger in order to help them on the way to higher food safety.