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Europe: Sidel installs two lines to water bottler in 2 years

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Sidel has supplied two complete line solutions to BMV (Birštono Mineraliniai Vandenys) in Lithuania in less than two years.

Following the success of its original polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottling Greenfield project, the company ordered a Sidel line with a very similar scope of supply again.

Sidel also collaborated on the design of BMV’s PET bottle shapes to boost sales of the client’s water brands.

The new design contributed to lightweighting the bottles by up to 30%.

Using natural resource

BMV is a provider of mineral water in the Baltic States.

Its water, rich in beneficial minerals and famous for its unique properties – and for the fact that it has the highest level of mineralization in Europe – was first bottled on an industrial basis in 1924.

Today BMV is a modern company using advanced technology and strict quality control methods to bring natural mineral water from its original source to the consumer in exactly the same form as enjoyed by the region’s ancestors.

BMV is currently selling three water brands: ‘Vytautas’, ‘Birute’ and ‘Akvile’ (the latter is suitable for baby food).

The company’s beverages are widely exported, including to neighboring Baltic countries, as well as further afield including to the UK, the United States, China and the Gulf region.

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Successful Greenfield project

In 2008, BMV began bottling natural mineral water under the ‘Akvile’ brand.

Some years later, the company intended to update one of its production lines with new equipment and so approached Sidel for the first time.

The Baltic producer asked Sidel to support with a technical and financial proposal for a new complete packaging line solution for bottling ‘Akvile’.

This was a Greenfield project to increase PET water production capacity to meet market demand.

A Sidel team collaborated closely with the customer at the early stages of the company’s first complete water bottling line project.

The team developed a complete project plan, selected all of the specific equipment, defined the floor layout and implementation plan and detailed a cost analysis and budget plan, including the management of third-party contributors.

To ensure the line was ready for production, Sidel used the latest technology and methods including feasibility studies, simulation modeling and three dimensional animations to ensure that the line’s master plans were carefully constructed and perfectly controlled.

Once the design for the new water line was established, it was implemented as fast and as efficiently as possible.

It required thorough planning, management and follow-up, from start to finish.

The Sidel team ensured a smooth delivery and ramp-up based on a detailed project and plant management, which ensured that the targets were achieved in record time.

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Installing the second complete PET line

BMV renewed its confidence in Sidel only seven months after the order for the initial equipment, investing in this second Sidel complete PET bottling line solution to produce the ‘Vytautas’ brand at the Birštonas plant.

This line features a very similar scope of supply, therefore ensuring that the advantages and benefits of the Combi would be realized again.

However, the installation of this second line was more challenging because the footprint of the layout was 20% more compact than the original bottling line.

“Installation of the second line was a big challenge – both for us and Sidel,” says Valentinas Lukosevicius, BMV’s production director at the Birštonas site.

“This new Sidel line was substituting the old existing line and the constraints of the limited plant floor space were therefore an important consideration when designing the line layout.”

The new complete line solution comprises: a Sidel Combi 8 FMc; a cap air rinser; ultraviolet lamps on the infeed rail of the preform feeding rail; a Sidel Rollquattro Evolution labeler; a cap feeder for sport and flat caps, coder, packer, handle applicator twin pack, bottle conveyor, pack conveyor, and palletizer.

Although the main format produced on the line is the 1.5 liter bottle, the new line has the flexibility to produce either still or sparkling water in the four PET bottle formats: 0.5, 1.0, 1.25 and 1.5 liters, to a maximum production output of up to 16,000 bottles per hour.

This production level represents an output three times faster than the previous BMV line it replaced.

This significant increase in production capacity assisted BMV in serving its national market, as well as providing opportunities for expanding exports in Poland and Russia.

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Going lightweight, recycling

BMV is firmly committed to contributing to the maintenance of ecological balance.

Consequently, the company determined to meet several sustainability targets and the introduction of the complete line, coupled with the new bottle designs made a significant contribution.

One of the important environmental concerns is the amount of plastic used to produce the bottles and BMV is strongly committed to reducing this as much as possible.

“The company became the first in Lithuania to reduce the amount of PET in its bottles, adopting a short-neck capping system and cutting the use of PET by up to 50 tons per year,” says Pranckus.

“The new bottles designed by Sidel also contributed to lightweighting the bottles by up to 30%.” BMV decided to use only packaging that is recyclable in its bottling, also committing to actually recycle the resulting waste rather than simply passing the responsibility on to others.

Finally, the Baltic producer focused on improving its production equipment wherever possible in order to become even more environmentally friendly.

The company intended to reduce the total amount of electrical power it consumes through the implementation of innovative, eco-friendly technologies.

“The Sidel Ecoven used within the Combi configuration makes a big contribution to this target and both of the complete Sidel lines significantly reduce the company’s consumption of electricity,” concludes Mr. Pranckus.