At the same time, it also collaborated with the Sidel Services™ packaging team on a stylish new bottle design for its still water. Through developing the new design, which included adopting the international 29/25 short-neck bottle standard across the range of sizes, the weight of the bottles was reduced by up to 45%. Rio Bucovina is now producing the lightest bottles in the Romanian market.
Longstanding partnership with Sidel
Rio Bucovina is a major player in the Romanian fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market where it figures in the top three producers of natural mineral water. The company produces a wide array of beverages and foodstuffs at its two production sites. This includes the bottling of 'Bucovina' still and carbonated natural mineral water, and the production of 'La Vitta' branded water. The company also produces soft drinks under the brand names 'Rio', 'La Vitta', 'Malibu' and 'BonTon', and an energy drink with the brand name 'Golden Horse'. Besides these, Rio Bucovina distributes a wide range of food and other items.
Rio Bucovina has long been a customer of Sidel, the leading global provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging, to whom the company first turned in 1993. That was when it purchased two Sidel
SBO16 blow moulders. One was installed at the bottling plant in Vatra Dornei, the well-known spa and ski resort in the Carpathian Mountains in north-eastern Romania, for the production of both still and sparkling water. The second Sidel SBO16 blow moulder was purchased for bottling soft drinks at the Rio Bucovina plant in Timisoara in western Romania, the third biggest city in the country in terms of population.
Flexibility, reliability and energy savings
Following the success of these projects and the trust built between both companies over more than 20 years, Rio Bucovina has recently acquired another Sidel blow moulder for its Vatra Dornei plant. On this occasion, the company has selected the SBO10 Universal 2eco, choosing it for its flexibility and its reliability coupled with the technical support that the company knew Sidel was capable of providing, having experienced it first-hand for the two decades of their working relationship. Cristian Serban, Business Development Director of Rio Bucovina, says: "Having worked with the company for over 20 years now, we know the good work we can expect from Sidel. The SBO Universal 2eco, along with its Ecoven, has substantially cut costs for us, reducing the new line's energy consumption by 47% when compared to other blow moulders we might have chosen."
The Ecoven technology requires fewer heating modules and lamps, with the preform-heating time reduced by up to 15%. Power consumption of the ovens is therefore substantially decreased and the use of installed power lowered. As well as providing a wide process window, the Ecoven's large heating reserve and fast heating ensures there is no slow-down in production, whatever kind of preform is used. It also delivers excellent heat treatment precision, which ensures identical bottle characteristics and quality. Rio Bucovina also benefits from the air consumption reduction of the SBO Universal 2eco range due to improved efficiency in the air circuits, integrated cylinders, solenoid and flow limiters. This equates to additional savings in production costs.
The lightest bottles on the Romanian market
Rio Bucovina also launched redesigned Bucovina bottles, characterised by their very modern and elegant approach. Compared to the previous bottles, the attractive new designs weigh considerably less - 31.5 grams compared to 43 grams for 2 litre bottles; 24 grams compared to 39 grams for 1.5 litre bottles; and 12 grams compared to 22 grams for 0.5 litre bottles. Cristian continues: "The Sidel packaging design team listened to our branding needs for the new bottles and implemented our goals in the final shapes. Most importantly, they worked with us to optimise the lightweighting opportunity available to us. As a result, the stylish new bottles that the team optimised for us, which reflects everything we asked of Sidel, are the lightest bottles in the Romanian market - with a significant weight reduction of some 45%. The installation of the Sidel SB010 Universal 2eco has enabled us to move to the 29/25 standard - with the direct result of achieving the lightweighting benefits. This has naturally led to a more environmentally friendly production process, as well as substantial savings."
Bottled water dominates the Romanian market
In Romania, bottled water is in demand because it is inexpensively priced and is perceived as a 'natural' soft drink. It is also seen as a much healthier and reliable option in comparison to the quality of tap water generally available throughout the country, especially in Bucharest and other large cities. Domestic manufacturers, most of whom have been supplying the country with bottled mineral water for decades, dominate the market through tradition, brand recognition and affordable pricing.
Sales of water have been undergoing an annual growth of around 5% over the past two years, which has mainly seen the consolidation of leading brands. This moderate growth is the result of penetration into households of all income levels. Although carbonated or 'sparkling' water has a larger, established consumer base, mostly through the heavy consumption of traditional 'spritz' - the combination of carbonated water with wine - still bottled water has moved ahead in terms of volume growth over the past couple of years. However, the decrease in Romanian consumers' spending power has led to their growing acceptance of cheaper water.
By introducing the Sidel blow moulder, Rio Bucovina is in an excellent position to build on its already strong position in this market with a lightweight, modern and attractive bottle produced through a blowing process which is more environmentally friendly.