Sidel has just obtained final technical acceptance of the first aseptic PET complete line in Germany, equipped with a Combi Predis™ for dry decontamination of preforms. Since June, the line has been up and running at the Hauser plant for flavored teas in lightweight 0.5 and 1.5 liter bottles.
Hauser Weinimport GmbH is specialized in vermouth, liqueurs, wine-based drinks and, more recently, fruit juices and flavored teas, which were previously packaged in glass and cartons. In 2009, this family-run company decided to innovate by adopting PET as the packaging material for its range of flavored teas (“Eis Tee”): “Our objective is to remain on the market and to give our customers a comprehensive offer,” explains Hauser. To package its teas in the 0.5 and 1.5 liter formats, which are filled without preservatives and sold at room temperature with a shelf life of about one year, the company wanted an aseptic solution that ensures product sterility, without altering its organoleptic and microbiological characteristics. In the end, it opted for Sidel’s Combi Predis™ FMa: a real technological breakthrough.
Predis™, the “dry” alternative: reliability
The Combi Predis™ guarantees 100% decontamination of the preforms with hydrogen peroxide vapor (H2O2), which means that there is no water consumption and minimal chemical use. TCO (total cost of ownership) optimization and the environmental benefits of Predis™ also played an important role in Hauser’s choice. “The choice of Predis™ wasn’t very difficult to make,” says Hauser. “By decontaminating preforms with H2O2, we chose to use a system that has been well established for several years. From an economical point of view, dry decontamination technology, when compared with conventional technology, significantly lowers costs related to chemical and water consumption, as well as decreases waste water. Predis™ is truly unique and much simpler than traditional aseptic solutions.”
Since the PET field is new to Hauser, packaging studies and development were an important phase of this project. Sidel provided its support in terms of design and technical characteristics for containers (e.g. stability) as well as for the selection of preforms.
The Combi technology, which combines blowing, filling and capping functions for PET bottles in one machine, along with Predis™ dry decontamination of preforms, offers Hauser many preform lightweighting possibilities, while also ensuring complete freedom for bottle shapes: just 15 g for 0.5 liter bottles and 29 g for the 1.5 liter format. Package lightweighting is made possible by preform decontamination and the absence of conveyors between the blow molder and the filler.
Axo-Smart, total secondary packaging flexibility
The Sidel line is also equipped with the innovative layer formation system, Axo-Smart. Entirely modular and automated, Axo-Smart handles packs by rotation and translation and can process all types of secondary packaging. The possibility of managing any new pallet pattern with software is a great advantage for this bottler, whose main distribution channel is hard discount, which is extremely demanding in terms of flexibility. In addition, Axo-Smart, with its two modules, also has a very small footprint and high accessibility from both sides of the conveyor belt.
This line also includes an Aidlin 24 cap feeder, a Rollquattro F15 labeler, a TSM2 CPL shrink wrapper, Pal-Kombi palletizer, all of the conveyors (bottles, packs, palettes) and two AQ-Max accumulation tables.
First marketable bottles in just three months
The project proved to be complex because of the small space available for line installation, which required rigorous management of equipment reception schedules for quick, efficient installation. With the need to rationalize space, Sidel’s equipment and line design know-how have proven their effectiveness. The combination of a line concept centered on the ergonomics and compactness of the Combi Predis™ FMa and the accumulation tables is a perfect response to this requirement for the smallest possible footprint.
The project was also particularly demanding owing to the very tight deadlines to start marketable production. The goal was to start shipping the first orders in June for the start of the summer season. In late April, two and a half months after the start of installation, the first aseptic validation was performed, which meant that production of tea in the 0.5 liter format could begin in late May for market release. Then, the line had to produce at the required speeds – 18,000 bph for the 0.5 liter bottles and 12,000 bph for the 1.5 liter format, and guarantee the contractually agreed efficiency for this type of line.
This installation is a real success: Combi efficiency of more than 92% and zero machine downtime for the end of line.