In 2018 a big fire caused terrible damage to Serbian milk producer Imlek’s production site. One of the many items destroyed was a KHS aseptic filler, just six years old. When it came to procuring a replacement, the company opted for a KHS block system featuring the latest in stretch blow molding technology.
What’s now the Imlek Group has its origins in a farmstead in Glogonjski Rit, a suburb of Belgrade, where in 1953 an artisan dairy farm was established. This transported between 3,000 and 5,000 liters of milk a day from the farm’s 800 or so cows to the city’s markets. Today it fills over one million liters of milk a day. This makes Imlek a market leader – also beyond the Serbian border in the neighboring countries of Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
The diary giant was the very first in the Balkans to invest in an aseptic filler in 2012 in order to enable germ-free filling of a section of its portfolio into PET bottles. Back then Imlek decided to invest in a linear KHS Asbofill ABF 711 filler, as with its very small aseptic zone this machinery permits sterile filling without the need for intermediate sterilization. In September 2018 a devastating fire tore through Padinska Skela, destroying the exemplary technology of the aseptic filler.
At the start of reconstruction a clear decision was made to make the new factory the most modern in the region. The new InnoPET BloFill ACF-L block system is largely instrumental in this, where a latest-generation KHS stretch blow molder, an InnoPET Blomax V, has been combined with a KHS aseptic filler, the Innofill PET ACF-L, for the first time ever. The block boasts a number of further developments that not only make it even more powerful than the previous filler but also more sustainable and more economical – by saving up to 40% in energy, for example. A special transfer module has been designed to join both machines that feeds the continuous PET bottle flow from the rotary stretch blow molder to batch processing on the linear filler. Combining the stretch blow molder and filler does away with the need for an air conveyor, resulting in a compact system that saves space, cuts energy consumption and eliminates a potential source of error.