Nebula Project - Modified Atmosphere Packaging

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Nebula incorporates a miniaturised Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) technology for food preservation. It is SAES’ first Industrial Design project and combines expertise in advanced technologies for niche sectors such as getter technologies for ultra-high vacuum, gas management, and functional packaging materials. According to the UNEP Index, 930 million tonnes of food are wasted each year, with 60% discarded at home. Nebula intends to address this by leveraging cutting-edge technology to empower individuals in reducing food waste. Nebula embraces a rational and analytical design language found in the labs of SAES. The cage-like structure is inspired by NextTorr pumps, which are used in particle accelerators. The alveolar geometry of the handle is the result of extensive parametric iterations, ensuring optimal grip and one-handed rotation. Thanks to pressure and gas recognition sensors, the integrated OLED display provides real-time information on process parameters. The device is divided into three parts: the handle with the user interface, the core, and the hammer with the rechargeable capsule slot and the interface with the containers. MAP technology is widely used in the food industry to preserve goods while retaining organoleptic properties and taste without the use of preservatives. To replace the air inside the container, Nebula uses capsules filled with compressed gas (typically nitrogen and carbon dioxide). The rechargeable capsules, which are colour-coded for easy identification, contain a colourless gas mixture suitable for various types of food. Sensors and interface: Each food requires a unique gas composition for preservation. Raw poultry, meat, and soft cheese benefit from a nitrogen/carbon dioxide ratio of 70/30%, whereas raw fish prefers a 40/60% ratio. Certain foods, such as raw red meat, require the presence of oxygen to maintain colour and inhibit anaerobic organisms. Fresh cut fruits and vegetables require a low oxygen concentration to slow respiration and prevent anaerobic fermentation. Nebula offers six different gas mixes with varying percentages of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and inert gases like argon. By tailoring the gas composition to each food category, Nebula ensures optimal and extended preservation. Containers: Traditional flexible MAP containers are often made of multilayer materials that are difficult to recycle. Nebula’s rigid containers save 5kg of non-recyclable plastic per person per year. Because MAP containers do not need to withstand prolonged pressure differentials between the interior and exterior, they allows for lightweight solutions without reinforcement structures. The procedure involves extracting air to a pressure of 100 mbar in less than 30 seconds and injecting the gas mixture to restore internal pressure to 900 mbar. The circular shape, which is common in vacuum labs, naturally counteracts external forces. Nebula’s containers employ a new micro cellular PP moulding technique that reduces weight by 20% while increasing tensile and impact properties by 30%. Red Dot Award: Design Concept | Concept | Culinary and Kitchen Appliances

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