The Agr Process Pilot automated blowmolder control system operating on Line 2 of Eckes-Granini’s bottle-making and filling plant in Fallingbostel, Germany, is providing an extra layer of process management and quality assurance for the premium drinks maker.
Responding to the corporate mandate to bottle its popular hohes C juices exclusively in 100% recycled plastic, Fallingbostel Production Manager Tim Pageler recognised that the sustainability directive demanded exacting control of the bottle blowing process. While he was confident in the plant’s ability to make the transition from 25% rPET to 100% rPET, he was looking for ‘a technical safeguard to keep the process stable and to ensure that production’ was robust.
Eckes-Granini installed Process Pilot inside a KHS Series IV reheat stretch blowmolder producing roughly 30,000 containers per hour. Long an enthusiastic adopter of new technology, the juice maker had configured the line as a block, integrating blowing, the application of a protective Plasmax interior coating, and the filling operation in one unit. In addition to the 1L hohes C, the line would produce four other SKUs: 1L Die Limo, 1.5L hohes C Naturell, 0.75L Bio, and 1L Trinkgenuss Granini. Design features like a long neck, dimples, or embossing gives each juice bottle a distinctive appearance, but all are 100% rPET. Both the bottles and their content are high value, leaving no margin for waste from containers that don’t measure up.
To assure a smooth transition to the new bottle parameters, Eckes-Granini engaged the services of Agr’s Process Performance Optimisation Group (PPOG) to set up and commission the system. Limited plant access due to the pandemic meant that the PPOG engineers had to work remotely from the U.S., coordinating with the Agr technician on site to carry out their instructions. As they went through the trials, the PPOG engineers tapped the full spectrum of their expertise to offset the lack of direct contact with the bottles.
With the Agr equipment commissioned in January 2021, Line 2 has now made it through all four seasons in its new configuration. Several months of trials and ramp-up have confirmed its ability to produce the same bottles to exact specifications, despite fluctuating temperatures, variations in resin, and preforms from different suppliers. Pageler is confident that Fallingbostel has mastered the shift to 100% rPET and will consistently meet production and sustainability targets. For more visit agrintl.com