The recent changes have achieved savings of 45% in the consumption of electricity, 20% in the use of compressed air and significant reductions in the use of raw PET.
The bigger the output, the greater the savings
Quantum Mineral Trading Company Ltd was founded in Romania in 1997 and began production as a private company in December, 1998. The company owns and operates two mineral water springs (FH1 and FH2M) in the Harghita Mountains with significant artesian flow. Using the brand name 'Spring Harghita', the company bottles natural mineral water and partially carbonated natural mineral water from the volcanic mountain range. Three existing production lines originally comprised one Sidel Universal SBO6 and three SBO2F PET blow-moulding machines. The company has a daily production capacity - in PET formats ranging from 0.5 litres to 5 litres - totalling over 1 million litres. With such a large output, it was naturally very interested in any potential savings.
Reduced costs and greater production flexibility
After Quantum Mineral managers attended a Sidel Value Creation Day held in Poiana Brasov, the popular Romanian ski resort and tourist centre, they entered into discussions with the supplier in earnest. As a global solutions provider for PET, can and glass, Sidel offers new and existing customers bottling solutions tailored to their individual needs. Its Options & Upgrades (O&U) programme allows customers with existing lines to put into effect and benefit from the latest breakthroughs in packaging technology. Implementation often results in increased uptime, lower operational costs and greater flexibility. 'Options' are all about adding new functionalities and 'Upgrades' generally involve improvements to existing functions by leveraging the latest technological advances. The discussions between Quantum Mineral and Sidel resulted in the decision to replace the existing ovens in the production lines with the more economical Ecoven to cut down on the use of power. It was also decided to adapt the existing bottle design of all the products and formats to reduce the use of raw material.
Gabor Karikas, Technical Manager of Quantum Mineral Trading Company, said: "We decided to work with Sidel in order to continue our collaboration with experienced people. Thanks to our continual contact with Sidel's Customer Services Manager - and our participation in the Value Creation Day in Poiana Brasov - we decided to develop our 'Short Neck Project'." Neck shortening in the design of PET bottles is a valuable technology that has already provided many companies with significant benefits. It offers the potential for tremendous economic gains and reduces post-consumer waste. It does so by achieving material reductions in preforms, bottles and caps.
Shorter necks and more efficient ovens
Keeping exactly the same bottle design and specification, it was decided to change the existing standard 1810 closure to an 1881 closure. This resulted in material savings for Quantum Mineral of 1.5 gram on all four formats: 0.5 litre; 1.5 litre; 2 litres and 2.5 litres. In addition to the cost savings, the reduction in raw materials and waste has also had a positive effect in environmental terms. However, there has been no compromise on the bottles' mechanical properties due to testing designed to optimise bottle performance while preventing deformation during use by the consumer. During the changeover in the design of the bottles' necks, the simultaneous installation of a highly efficient Sidel Ecoven in each of the three Quantum Mineral production lines reduced oven consumption of electrical power by an impressive 45%. Yet the lines' process capability was fully maintained.
Requiring fewer heating modules and lamps, the installed Ecoven reduces preform-heating time and uses the installed power more efficiently. Savings on compressed air consumption compared with the previous generation of blow-moulders, will also make a difference in Quantum Mineral's Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Greater customer flexibility and security
Sidel's Options & Upgrades portfolio has been developed with the aim of making the company's equipment evolve in a simpler way, as upgrades will be anticipated and planned for from the outset. In addition to tailored solutions, Sidel offers several standard upgrades to meet customers' most common needs: performance, hygiene and safety, flexibility, maintenance, functionality, savings and process. This gives customers greater flexibility and the security that they are investing in technologies that they will be able to update.
Technical Manager, Gabor Karikas, concluded: "We collaborated well throughout the process and had a good daily relationship with Sidel - in whom we had real confidence. I believe this was down to the experience of both teams."
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