Bickford’s Australia boosts flexibility with Sidel’s aseptic technology

The challenge

Bickford’s is one of Australia’s oldest and most valued brands with a premium position in the market with exports to 32 countries worldwide. Founded in 1839, it is an independently owned business, with its head office and operations based in Adelaide (South Australia). To accommodate an increased demand for health and wellness in beverage categories such as bottled water, juices, nectars, soft drinks, isotonics and teas, plus keen competition, premiumisation trends and wider flavour variety, Bickford’s started to look for a highly flexible production line that could handle still, sparkling, low- and high-acid products with two different short bottle necks and two distinct decoration options.

The solution

The brand decided to shift to aseptic PET bottling by investing in one complete, versatile PET line that handles sensitive products and CSD through an Aseptic Combi Predis™ and a Combi SF300, respectively. The new versatile PET line, installed at the Adelaide plant, includes Tetra Pak Processing System technologies that guarantee full product safety and maximise uptime starting from the processing stage. The Aseptic Combi Predis is completed by a Capdis™ system for dry cap decontamination, while the CSD Combi features a compact and hygienic BlendFILL configuration, combining a carbonator and filler in a single system to reduce CO2 consumption. Gebo OptiDry®, a fully washable, stainless steel drying system with proven efficiency levels of over 99%, was also included. Lastly, the customer opted to incorporate Sidel’s proven Roll Adhesive labeller in the line to ensure extreme process stability and precision, as well as a sleever for handling PSL.

The outcome

By changing the production set-up from hot-fill packaging to aseptic PET bottling with dry preform sterilisation, this Australian player halved the weight of its 1 L juice bottle – to 32 g – while enhancing its attractiveness and expanding its shelf life up to 8 months. The new bottles were designed with relatively straight body panels and simplified ribbing at the sides to allow either sleeve labels or PSL to be applied, and the biggest format (1 L) is engraved with the iconic Bickford’s logo. So Bickford’s now enjoys greater freedom in terms of packaging design and benefits from a wide branding surface for applying either sleeves or pressure sensitive labels (PSL). Thanks to Sidel’s proven dry preform sterilisation technology, the Australian player also boasts a safe, easy to operate, cost-efficient and sustainable packaging solution. The line has expanded its manufacturing capabilities, too, in terms of volume, beverage types and rapid product changeovers, and now processes over 20 different SKUs, including still water, coffee with milk, coffee with almonds, four different flavoured waters and eight types of juices – all in either 250 ml, 500 ml or 1 L formats.

"“It is important to note that this fantastic opportunity to switch from one product to another is not compromising the sterility of our production, rather the opposite. The PET aseptic line in our factory runs ten hours per day and Sidel technology keeps the product in the filler under complete food safety conditions between the last shift of the day and the first one the day after, meaning for over twelve hours. By shifting from hot-fill to aseptic PET applications, we are benefitting from an optimised TCO. In fact, the Combi Predis offers a very competitive cost-efficiency ratio and a great environmental footprint because it does not consume any water and uses only very few chemicals.”"

George Kotses

Bickford’s Operations Manager

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