The barrier technology was among the major focuses from Sidel at Brau Beviale 2016 in Hall 7a, booth 223.
Carbonated soft drinks (CSD) were very much the focus for Sidel at a show which is one of Europe's main platforms for innovations in beverage production. CSD category presents its own challenges in terms of packaging: one such challenge is the need to reduce the loss of carbon dioxide, particularly given the trend towards smaller and lighter bottles. The smaller and lighter the container, the greater the challenge of reduced shelf life. The single-serve format in PET packaging represents 75% of the growth in the CSD market so barrier technologies, such as Actis, are expected to be increasingly employed in CSD bottling.
Sidel Actis is a thin layer of hydrogen rich carbon deposited inside a PET bottle - a plasma coating solution to extend beverage shelf life while offering potential for packaging lightweighting. At Brau Beviale, Sidel highlighted how Actis equipment is now offered on the Sidel Matrix platform, Sidel's latest modular format which delivers a high level of safety and consistency down the complete line. This includes the Sidel Matrix Combi, meaning that this barrier technology is now available in an integrated configuration, which can include blowing and coating, or blowing, coating and filling, in one unique and safe environment. The Combi Actis solution can be integrated in bottling lines or converter lines. By avoiding intermediary conveyors, it provides customers with all the benefits that Sidel has been able to consolidate over the years of development including production reliability, bottle integrity, handling of lightweight containers, compact footprint and easy operation.
Through Sidel Matrix, Actis technology can increase shelf life by a factor of 3 depending on bottle lightweighting improvements, while offering process reliability and increased uptime along the production line. With excellent accessibility, treatment modules benefit from enhanced flexibility with easy changeovers and the capability to undertake maintenance off-line. The Sidel Actis solution has been optimised for bottle diameters of up to 78 mm, with a typical output of up to 40,000 bottles per hour.
Damien Fournier is Category Marketing Director CSD at Sidel and an expert of the Actis solution. He comments - "In terms of the barrier technologies available, the Actis coating clearly stands out from other processes like co-injection (multilayer) or plastic blends (chemical additives to improve the properties of PET), when material cost, lightweighting and recyclability are considered. Actis process is also simpler and less expensive than other coating technologies, because it is based on acetylene gas - widely available on the market - rather than requiring complex concentrates and settings. The maintenance frequency and time involved to keep the line up to speed are similar to that required for a standard bottling line."
Pawel Warszawski, Sales Director DACH, Central & Eastern Europe and Russia & CIS at Sidel, continues - "In terms of general market trends, there is a move towards an increased use of barrier solutions to match new markets and new ways of consuming beverages. In developed countries, protecting the beverage - and therefore the brand - is a particular focus. Additionally, barrier PET solutions are applied in beverages supplied for music festivals, sporting events and other outdoor occasions, for example. Here large numbers are enjoying themselves and drinking, so glass and other containers are seen as safety hazards. PET bottles are the preferred packaging format because they do not readily break and even when crushed there are no harmful shards or sharp edges. On the other hand, in developing countries, affordable packaging with extended shelf life enables producers to reach new consumers, coping with distribution challenges under difficult conditions and in remote locations. To date, 28 Actis systems have been introduced globally, from Europe to the Americas and Asia, accounting for around 5 billion bottles produced across all the main beverage categories requiring barrier protection, including beer, tea and coffee and CSD - an area where there is particular growth in demand."
Damien further comments: "With Actis technology now available for the Sidel Matrix platform, we are already seeing growing interest in an offer which combines the broad, proven and upgradeable system that is Sidel Matrix with a solution which provides significant opportunities for extending shelf life and bottle lightweighting."
Continuing the CSD theme, Sidel used Brau Beviale to discuss its latest developments in complete line solutions for CSD applications. Variety, flexibility and cost-efficiency are essential to the success in this sector of the market. With the Sidel Matrix system, Sidel challenges the limits of what one system is capable of, providing more possibilities in the four key areas of line flexibility, product integrity, production efficiency and consumption reduction.
In addition to innovations in equipment and technologies, the company also highlighted to visitors the importance of Sidel Services™, a complete portfolio helping producers increase the value of their beverage production, lower energy consumption and optimise production efficiency and sustainability.