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Bottling solution offers 30% improvement in lightweighting

15 April 2016

Sidel, a provider of production equipment and services for liquids in PET, has supplied two complete line solutions to Birštono Mineraliniai Vandenys (BMV) in Lithuania in less than two years. 

Following the success of its original PET bottling Greenfield project, the company ordered another Sidel line with a similar scope of supply. Sidel also collaborated on the design of the company’s PET bottle shapes to help boost sales. The new design contributed to lightweighting the bottles by up to 30%.

In 2008, BMV began bottling natural mineral water under the ‘Akvile’ brand. It approached Sidel to update one of its production lines. Sidel was able to support the company with a technical and financial proposal for a new packaging line solution –a Greenfield project to increase PET water production capacity.

Sidel collaborated with the customer to develop a project plan, selected all of the specific equipment, defined the floor layout and implementation plan and detailed a cost analysis and budget plan, including the management of third-party contributors. To make sure the line was ready for production, Sidel used employed feasibility studies, simulation modelling and 3D animation technology to ensure that the line’s master plans were carefully constructed and controlled. 

Product safety and integrity – along with production efficiency – were priorities for the water producer and the Sidel Combi FMc matched these expectations.  Its single production enclosure – including the three main integrated functions configured with the positive, filtered air-pressure – ensures a hygienic and safe production environment. The hygienic design of the filling valve, with no mechanical parts in contact with the filled water and a filling process controlled by a pneumatic membrane valve, ensures safe filling. Additional hygienic options have been implemented in the Combi configuration to further optimise food safety, including air filtration and overpressure area protection. 

The Combi also offers efficiency levels that are said to be up to 4% higher than standalone machines. The magnetic flowmeters that control the filling volume help ensure accurate dosing while the filling parameters of each filling valve are controlled directly from the operator panel. The automatic dummy bottles to close the filling circuit during CIP contribute to fast and safe product changeover.

Following the first order BWV invested in a second Sidel PET bottling line for the ‘Vytautas’ brand at the Birštonas plant.  This line features a very similar scope of supply, ensuring that the advantages and benefits of the Combi would be realised again. However, the installation of the second line was more challenging because the footprint of the layout was 20% more compact than the original bottling line.

Mr. Valentinas Lukosevicius, production director at the Birštonas site, said: “Installation of the second line was a challenge. The new line was substituting the old existing line and the constraints of the limited plant floor space were an important consideration when designing the line layout.”

The new line solution comprises a Sidel Combi 8 FMc; a cap air rinser; UV lamps on the infeed rail of the preform feeding rail; a Sidel Rollquattro Evolution labeller; a cap feeder for sport and flat caps, coder, packer, handle applicator twin pack, bottle conveyor, pack conveyor, and palletiser.  

Although the main format produced on the line is the 1.5l bottle, the new line has the flexibility to produce either still or sparkling water in the four different PET bottle formats: 0.5, 1.0, 1.25 and 1.5l, to a maximum production output of up to 16,000 bottles per hour. 

One of the important environmental concerns is the amount of plastic used to produce the bottles. The new bottles, designed by Sidel, contributed to lightweighting the bottles by up to 30%. 

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