The company had different alternatives of who their bottling line supplier was going to be. “We were convinced by the good experience we had with a variety of Sidel equipment and decided to continue with them. Currently, we are very satisfied with the performance of the line, two years after its installation. Another factor in choosing Sidel for this investment was that Quilmes were looking for a complete solution to satisfy our needs. We took into account not just the bottling line, but also product processing via pasteurisation (Tetra Pak Processing Systems), in order to maximise the potential synergies. Sidel showed the necessary flexibility for this and were able to provide a solution, creating a better model of efficiency and production quality for us,” he continues.
Quilmes were also quite satisfied with the positive collaboration of Sidel’s team of experts throughout the project stage prior to the line installation, as well as during the installation itself and for the aftersales service. He goes on, “Obviously we started by looking for the best options for Quilmes with the line design team. Afterwards, the start-up phase was the most intense, when we required assistance from Sidel. The machines were installed in a new zone of the factory floor, and we underwent the typical difficulties related to our utilities; but in all truth, we were able to solve the problems as they arose quickly and safely with Sidel’s assistance.” Another advantage of working with Sidel that Quilmes recognised early on was the technical support service, both from Field Service Engineers (FSE) and from remote. In case of any need or emergency, this service provides assistance from a FSE 24 hours a day. Alternatively, support personnel can remotely connect to the machine and recommend the best solution. “We used it several times, and it helped us to keep production running successfully.”
Production reliability and flexibility to comply with PepsiCo’s standards
The hot-fill bottling line is characterised by its excellent production flexibility. “It has the capability of hot-filling isotonic drinks, juices and products with or without pulp. Additionally, this line is also able to cold-fill, in order to offer consumers a wider variety of products,” he says. Today, Gatorade is produced in a number of flavours and sizes: 500 ml, 750 ml, 1200 ml and, more recently, 300 ml, with either flat or sports caps. As for labelling, the new solution enables the placement of partial sleeves on just one part of the bottle or full-body sleeves on the whole bottle, providing several marketing opportunities to stand out on supermarket shelves.
“As for the flexibility provided by our production line, we also have the possibility of handling several pack options, such as 6-packs, 12-packs or 24-packs.” When it comes to the palletising of hot-fill products in PET containers, quality is a very important matter and must be guaranteed. “To face the long transport distances on often challenging roads, palletising must be precise, reliable and very stable. We are very happy with Sidel's palletising solutions, since they guarantee the integrity of our products, so that they reach consumers intact,” he highlights.
Quilmes operate as a PepsiCo bottler and, therefore, a new line validation must involve a specific approval protocol. Prior to the launch of the industrial production on the line, there was a validation stage for all the different containers in Sidel’s packaging labs in France. According to the Plant Manager, “the individual validation of each of our Gatorade bottles was executed according to PepsiCo’s specifications, which enabled production of the moulds. Due to PepsiCo’s requirements, during the first packaging runs, we complied with a quality protocol regarding line efficiency and the number of marketable bottles during the process. Every step was carried out successfully.”