Contamination Monitoring of Refillable PET-bottles



In many countries across the globe plastic bottles made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) are used as refillable containers for beverages. In contrast to glass, PET bottles are lightweight, unbreakable and easy to transport. However, PET is not neutral in taste. Degradation products such as acetaldehyde may migrate into the drink and may have an unpleasant effect on the taste even in small quantities. In addition, refillable PET bottles have to be cleaned at considerably lower temperatures compared to glass promoting potentially contaminant retention. Common contaminants are fuels, detergents or hazardous solvents introduced by improper use of the container. Hence, in order to avoid both potential hazards to the human health and bad taste of the drink there is a need for bottlers of refillable PET containers to identify contaminated bottles and subsequently eliminate them from the filling process.


Based on their patented IMR-MS technology V&F have developed the PET-Sense instrument which detects organic and inorganic impurities with unmatched response times and high sensitivity. Designed as an OEM product the PET-Sense is easy to implement featuring a freely programmable sensor interface. The renowned German company Krones has fitted the PET-Sense into their Aircontronic system – an inspecting device mounted on a single-lane conveyor - that detects and removes contaminated bottles. Process neutral air is blown into the PET bottle and then the gas-air mixture of the bottle is drawn out immediately by a vacuum pump system and possible impurities are detected. 36.000 bottles per hour can be inspected which means a measurement time of 100 ms per bottle.


The extremely short measurement time guarantees no loss in time for the bottling process as a whole making the inspection of refillable PET bottles worthwhile. An average of one percent of the refillable bottles containing problematic contamination could otherwise lead to severe customer dissatisfaction. The PET-Sense is designed to require maintenance only once a year which significantly minimizes the downtime of the bottling process.


  • Detection of organic and inorganic contaminants
  • Unmatched response times
  • OEM product

Reference customers (excerpt)


Applicable instruments