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16 October 2020

Palletiser retrofit for a superior performance and product quality

Sidel | Producing a great diversity of bottles from 0,5 L to 1,5 L on a single packaging line for PET, Pearlwater Mineralquellen AG, Termen, Switzerland, was determined to enhance the efficiency of its production line as well as bottle quality by upgrading its PalKombi Gripping palletiser’s performance, installed by Sidel in 2011. Trusting in its OEM, Pearlwater were able to increase the palletiser’s reliability and flexibility for the handling of various pack sizes and improved overall line efficiency by 5% with better pack and pallet stability. 

Pearlwater bottles around 100 million litres of beverages per year and is one of the top four players in water and soft drinks market in Switzerland.

To sustain the efficiency of already running lines and the state-of-the-art operation of the equipment over time it is important to maintain and optimise machine’s performance. Therefore, Pearlwater reached out to its OEM and was particularly looking at how to increase performance for the End-of-Line equipment.

New pack conveying and rotation system

After analysing the performance of the line, Sidel’s engineers identified that the main performance loss was coming from handling small bottle packs at palletisation stage. Upgrading small bottle packs conveying and rotation would enable to reach improved product quality and palletiser uptime. Therefore, Sidel proposed to enhance bottle positioning on the palletiser with a new pack conveying and rotation system “Electronic Spacer”. “The upgrade for Pearlwater’s PalKombi Gripping palletiser focuses on a new packs inlet module made of modular chain conveyors across which the packs are smoothly transferred and rotated forming rows before being pushed on the pallet,” explains Danny Bollnow, Service Sales Manager at Sidel.

This new system increases palletiser performance towards maximised uptime, packs, and pallet quality as well as reduced changeover time for new format handling. The system reduces impacts and scrappages between packs when they are spaced to generate correct rows with fewer falls and damages, hence minimising downtimes for manual intervention to reposition correctly the packs and providing better product quality. With electronic spacing principles, smaller packs are smoothly positioned to form correct rows, ensuring pallet accuracy for more reliable production.

Smooth project management and close and efficient collaboration between Pearlwater and Sidel exceeded Pearlwater`s expectations in many ways. Firstly, the palletiser was running and ready to re-start production after only three days of installation instead of one week that was planned originally. Secondly, by installing the new pack conveying and rotation system, Sidel was able to optimise maintenance costs, which decreased by 30%, and time that was not an initial requirement by the producer. “We are very satisfied with the project execution, follow-up, and the great collaboration we had with the Sidel team,” expresses Mr. Pascal Collaud, Head of Production & Logistics at Pearlwater. Thanks to the palletiser`s upgrade not only reliability and flexibility for the handling of various packs sizes have been increased, but also the company can now produce very small packs as 250 ml bottle format in 3x2 packs.