Four decades of PET blowing innovations
In 2020, a Sidel EvoBLOW line produced 90,000 bottles per hour (bph) on the world's fastest production line for water; almost 25 times faster than the SBO blower from 1980, which was running at 3,600 bph. Since the introduction of the first PET bottle, Sidel has been the key driver behind numerous innovations in the packaging industry. With more than 7,000 SBO blowers running worldwide, blowing technologies by Sidel have become the standard. Affirmation for this statement may be found in the company’s long-lasting partnerships with key packaging players and the many repeated orders, which demonstrate the confidence in Sidel’s blowing expertise.
From process perspective to machine configurations, Sidel offers the highest level of blowing configurability to ensure the most tailored solutions as regards specific market needs. Available as a stand-alone or integrated machine, it can be combined with other functionalities like filling and capping in Combi Blow Fill for all types of processes (regular, aseptic and ultra-clean with Predis™ dry preform sterilisation, heat resistant blowing and hot filling, preferential heating for flat containers). It can also be combined with labelling and filling, as in the Super Combi, an all-in-one, smart solution for production of water and carbonated soft drinks. Also, it can be associated with the Actis™ plasma-coating and filling solution to extend beverages’ shelf life and enable package lightweighting while the Combi Blow Deco ensures fast, safe manufacturing and decoration of empty containers.
Uncompromised packaging quality across PET, ref-PET and r-PET
Sidel’s blowing technology has always met the changing needs of consumers as well as environmental challenges. In addition to work on reducing energy and consumption of raw materials to a minimum, Sidel has always been working to keep the blowing process as optimised as possible to deliver the best bottle quality and performance for all types of PET resins – virgin and recycled PET (r-PET), one-way and refillable PET (ref-PET), transparent and opaque, monolayer and multilayer.
Due to legislation that helps reducing consumption of plastic raw materials and, thus, the carbon footprint, the ref-PET and the r-PET bottles have been becoming more and more popular sustainable plastic packaging alternatives in the recent years. In the production of ref-PET bottles, Sidel has been the right partner to deliver refill blowing processes for more than 30 years. The specific heat-resistance blowing process ensures optimal packaging specifications to sustain the structure of the ref-PET bottle across many uses and withstanding the durability tests (washing cycles). The unique Sidel electrical mould heating allows a very accurate blowing process, ensuring highly consistent ref-PET bottle quality. This can also be combined with Sidel capabilities in bottle designs, in-house washing evaluations for refillable bottles, ref-PET sorting line engineering and very sustainable bottle washer solutions (Swing™ range).
Sidel has also been supporting all the industry players who introduced r-PET bottles to the market more than 20 years ago. It is true that PET is the only plastic packaging material that is 100% recyclable and suitable for direct food contact with a closed loop bottle-to-bottle recycling, ensuring a very low environmental footprint compared to alternative non-plastic materials. By requiring fewer raw materials and reducing waste, r-PET achieves a carbon footprint, which is nearly five times lower than when using virgin PET. Sidel’s overall goal is to offer technologies with wider blowing processing windows to ensure consistent r-PET bottle quality while avoiding any impact of the resin quality variation due to collection methods and bottle origin. Furthermore, Sidel’s r-PET assessment platform is already contributing to this purpose boosting the development and qualification of bottles with increasing r-PET content while committing to industrial performance. To do so, Sidel keeps a fundamental close collaboration with the r-PET value chain stakeholders and offers an incomparable expertise to accompany the entire industry into the significant change of conversion to r-PET.
Through a holistic approach to PET packaging production, supply chains can be turned into value chains. This demonstrates how keeping continuous R&D efforts, focused on extending the frontiers of blowmoulding, continues to make an invaluable contribution to future sustainable beverage packaging solutions. Sidel will keep on playing a fundamental role in this process by constantly innovating in order to ensure that packaging in r-PET will further evolve for everyone’s benefit: the consumers’, the industry’s and our planet’s.