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Willowton Group switches to inhouse PET bottle production for sunflower oil

The challenge

Founded in 1970, Willowton has established itself as one of Africa’s leading oil seed processors and edible oil packers. It is the top edible oil manufacturer in South Africa, too, and it owns the country’s leading sunflower oil brand, Sunfoil. To increase its yearly production volumes and differentiate its Sunfoil brand from traditional edible oil brands with generic container shapes, Willowton decided to partner with Sidel to produce its PET containers in-house.

The solution

The company acquired two Sidel EvoBLOW™ standalone blowers and relied on Sidel’s packaging design skills and experience to help it develop customised family bottle shapes. To find the perfect solution, Sidel conducted various packaging evaluation and qualification tests on a 2 L bottle with either push fitting or screw closures. These included Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and feasibility trials to improve the bottle’s strength and performance across supply chain simulations.

The outcome

The equipment selected enables efficient production planning and reduces warehouse space. The SBO 16 EvoBLOW produces a 2 L format while the SBO 10 EvoBLOW produces all bottle formats up to 1 L. As the latter manages various bottle formats, Willowton also chose to install a mould Bottle Switch system to conduct ultrarapid bottle changeovers. This system is based on repeatable, tool-free operations that mean the operator spends only 30 seconds per cavity, thereby increasing production flexibility, equipment availability and production uptime. Both machines operate at an efficiency level of 99.5% regardless of End-of-Line performance, thanks to the production buffer created by the storage silos located on the lines. To optimise blower operations, Sidel also organised training courses for the Willowton operators before and after the equipment validation process. These were performed on-site by local Sidel technical experts who both enhanced the Willowton team’s skills and reinforced their trust in Sidel.

"“The easy way to adapt our oil production to fast-moving market demands is through great production flexibility. With these two blowers, we have already increased our yearly production volume by 50% and are ready to handle any future additional demand as well. Implementing this project went particularly smoothly and we are all really happy with the result.”"

Faisal Modi

Operations Manager at Willowton

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