Maintaining the healthy properties of Prolom water was key for this customer. This is why the excellent hygienic conditions and the high accuracy offered by the Sidel Matrix™ equipment represented a central factor in the decision making process. Also important was the mutual trust built between the two companies during their cooperation of almost 10 years.
Natural health properties provide market advantage
Planinka is a joint-stock company founded in 1964. They began bottling Prolom water at their bottling facility in 1990 in response to continuing local demand and the growing global trend for healthier drinks. At the time, there were only sparkling waters available in the former state of Yugoslavia, with no still waters on the domestic market at all.
The average unit price of bottled water in Serbia increased by 4% above the country's inflation rate in 2015. Domestic producers remain in a much better overall position in Serbia, despite the growing popularity of imported bottled water from countries such as Croatia and Slovenia. With numerous natural springs in the area offering very high quality water, local bottlers are able to provide the optimum combination of quality and cost which international companies find difficult to match.
Prolom spring water ensures optimal rehydration with its natural diuretic and bacteriostatic effects. Additionally, the high alkalinity of Prolom water makes it ideal for establishing the body's pH balance and, due to its low mineralisation, it can be consumed in quantities - by children, pregnant women, athletes and other consumers for whom health and wellbeing is an important consideration.
A solid relationship with Sidel
Planinka has worked with Sidel since 2007, when it
purchased its first blower, a Universal SBO 6, for its water
bottling line at its facility in Prolom Banja. As Mr.
Dragoslav Ilic, Head of Prolom Voda says, "We have been supported
by Sidel for nearly a decade now - and consequently we have great
confidence in both their equipment and the expertise they
provide." So when the company decided to invest for the first
time in a complete new production line to meet the demands of its
domestic and export markets, it capitalised on the existing,
trusted relationship established with Sidel.
"As top producers in the beverage business, we are looking for great performance and the lowest possible total cost of ownership (TCO) from all our production lines," continues Mr. Ilic. "The main challenge of this particular project related to space constraints. However, Sidel's line project team was able to offer the solution to fit all the component machinery needed for the line into the available space in a safe and functional way."
As this is the first occasion that Planinka has purchased a complete mineral water production line - including a Combi solution comprising blowing, filling and capping processes in a single system - the company conducted some investigative trips in both Serbia and Italy before finalising its decision.
Mr. Ilic concludes "We were impressed by the very high standards of hygiene and performance demonstrated by the complete line, particularly the contactless filling process and the different types of enclosure configuration of the Sidel Matrix Filler. It further increased our confidence in Sidel's capabilities and in a solution through which we can maintain the great quality of Prolom water on the new line."
Optimum hygiene to maintain water properties
The complete new line installation will begin in October 2016, at the Prolom Voda facility, and will operate in addition to the existing PET bottling line. It will include a compact Sidel Matrix Combi, featuring a Sidel Matrix blower SBO 6 and a Sidel Matrix Filler SF100 FM with 36 valves. The Sidel Matrix Combi is based on the most cost effective technology of the latest generation of Sidel Matrix systems. The Combi system integrates the blow-fill-cap functions in a single unit - with neck-handling transfer of bottles enabling potential for lightweight bottles - occupying up to 30% less floor space and requiring only one operator, due to its single and simple control interface.
Sidel Matrix SBO blowers create the very highest PET bottle quality and performance. They offer the flexibility to pick and choose a size and shape that best fit specific production needs. With three sizes of blowing stations and up to 200 possible blower configurations, almost endless distinctive light or ultra-lightweight bottle shapes are possible in sizes ranging from 0.1 litre to 3.5 litres.
Additionally, the new 13,200 bph Prolom PET bottling line will feature the contactless Sidel Matrix Filler SF100 FM, suitably developed to handle with high precision the filling of beverages with little or no conductivity. For high accuracy and improved efficiency, it minimises product losses and its external tank holding the beverage is easy to clean. All parts that come into contact with the water are made from stainless steel AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute) 316L. A tight enclosure, featuring HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters on the roof, keeps the filling environment safe, preventing risk of contamination and further increasing the already excellent standards of hygiene. The health properties of natural Prolom water are vital to the appeal of the brand so maintaining these through a fully hygienic bottling process is central to the brand's ongoing success.
The complete line will also include equipment from the Sidel Group, such as a highly efficient cap feeder; an automatic shrinkwrapper; and bottle and pack conveyors.
Paolo Givera, Sales Director Southern Europe at Sidel said "The excellent relationship we have already built up with Planinka continues to develop through this new complete line installation. It demonstrates the benefits of close collaboration between the beverage producer and the solution provider. This allowed us to create a line tailored to the specific site requirements, achieving the desired bottling capacity in what was a relatively confined space, while also offering the high levels of hygiene required."
 Euromonitor International