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Sidel PET line at Niagara Bottling boosts production by two million cases annually

From: Packaging News

Californian water drink brand Niagara Bottling has recently upgraded its Salt Lake City facility with a Sidel complete PET line.

The line features two Super Combis, equipped with the innovative and compact ground-level preform feeder, EasyFEED, along with Gebo Cermex conveying and end-of-line equipment.

This investment has enabled the ambitious bottler to significantly increase its productivity through high-speed, efficient manu-facturing and high availability rates of the line.

The PET bottled water market in the US is expected to grow by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 3% year on year between 2016 and 2020, and the firm looked to Sidel for a new complete PET line to enlarge its production capacity to answer consumers’ demand.

Starting point of the new complete line at Niagara’s plant is Sidel’s EasyFEED, an innovative, compact and safe ground-level preform feeder for PET lines.

From the hopper, the preforms are lifted by an elevator column to only 2.5 metres. They are then sorted and vertically driven into the bowl of a rotary unscrambler.

Positioned at the edge of a rotating table and supported by the neck flange, the preforms are moved onto a rail by a filtered airflow. Instead of traditional gravimetric infeed rails, the preforms are driven by two motorised, food-grade brush belts up to the infeed blowing wheel, contributing to keep the level of preform integrity very high.

With output speeds up to 82,000 bottles per hour, Sidel EasyFEED is optimal for PET water bottle producers like Niagara Bottling LLC, who need to combine very high-speed production lines with ultra-light PET bottles handling, while increasing the availability of their lines.

Bill Hall, executive vice president of manufacturing at Niagara Bottling, said the EasyFEED preform feeder ensures greater control over the production.

“As a result, we have seen OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) improvements, which are worth about 2% more produced bottles per year according to our estimations. In a line like the one embedding EasyFEED and the Sidel Super Combis, this translates to 2 million cases per year of extra productivity. That would not have been possible with a traditional preform feeder, so we are really happy with this achievement.”

Paul Wilson, vice president of manufacturing at Niagara Bottling, added: “We have seen large gains with the two EasyFEED solutions. In terms of machine availability, they are running above 98%, with a mean time between failures (MTBF) that is more than three hours: this is a big improvement to anything we have seen in the past. In addition, in terms of preform integrity, the handling via EasyFEED is extremely efficient and provides good quality preforms to the blow moulder. Its very high level of availability requires minor interventions from operators. And – when needed – its ground-level design provides maximum safety. All in all, we have gotten better performance from the new preform feeders.”

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