In 1980, Sidel launched its first commercial blower, the SBO blower, for producing PET bottles for the beverage industry. Since then, the company has been supplying and pioneering PET packaging solutions to meet evolving consumer demands in the beverages, food, home and personal care markets.
‘Our underlying objectives are answering industry requirements in terms of product integrity and package quality, as well as providing maximum efficiency, lower total cost of ownership and sustainable competitiveness,’ explains Guillaume Rolland, VP for the PET and sensitive products portfolio.
‘Another key target is ensuring optimised production flexibility, allowing easy handling of multiple SKUs and focusing on energy savings and the reduction of raw material consumption to minimise environmental impacts.’
Ultra-light PET bottles
According to Guillaume, Sidel has been instrumental in some of the most significant and attractive PET bottle designs. ‘We remain focused on innovative design and recognising market trends to create original, eye-catching shapes that support producers in differentiating their products in a highly-competitive and fast-paced market.
‘Sidel’s commitment to packaging design also includes driving initiatives in rightweighting, which have seen weight reductions of over 70% for 500ml still water bottles between 1985 and 2019,’ he comments.
Introduced last year, the X-LITE 500ml bottle weighs 7g while still maintaining excellent top-load performance, thanks to the blowing process capabilities of the company’s latest-generation blow moulder, known as EvoBLOW.
Blow moulding legacy
EvoBLOW combines reactive automation with connected machine technologies and real-time data analytics. IntelliBLOWER, the patented blowing process control and self-regulation system, automatically detects and eliminates bottle process deviations to ensure production consistency and quality. Guillaume adds that simplified and intuitive operator interventions, smart notifications for better reactivity, and reduced maintenance time help improve productivity.
In 2020, a Sidel EvoBLOW line produced 90 000 bottles/hour on the world’s fastest production line for water; almost 25 times faster than the SBO blower from 1980, operating at 3 600 bottles/hour.
‘With over 7 000 SBO blowers running worldwide, Sidel’s blowing technologies have become the standard,’ he claims.
Available as a stand-alone or integrated machine, it can be combined with other functionalities like filling and capping in Combi Blow Fill for all types of processes. It can also be linked with labelling and filling, as in the Super Combi, an all-in-one line for producing water and carbonated soft drinks. Additionally, when associated with Actis plasma-coating and filling it extends beverage shelf life and enables package lightweighting while the Combi Blow Deco ensures fast, safe manufacturing and decoration of empty containers.
Ensuring high-quality and performance
Sidel has always aimed to keep the blowing process as optimised as possible to deliver the best quality and performance for all types of PET resins – virgin and recycled PET (rPET), one-way and refillable PET (ref-PET), transparent and opaque, monolayer and multilayer.
Ref-PET and rPET bottles have become popular sustainable plastic packaging alternatives, thanks to legislation that helps reduce the consumption and carbon footprint of plastic raw materials.
Sidel’s electrical mould heating enables an accurate blowing process, ensuring consistent ref-PET bottle quality. It can be combined with the company’s bottle design capabilities, in-house washing evaluations for refillable bottles, ref-PET sorting line engineering and sustainable bottle washer solutions.
‘Through a holistic approach to PET packaging production, supply chains can be turned into value chains. Continuous R&D efforts, focused on extending the frontiers of blow moulding, contribute invaluably to future sustainable beverage packaging.
‘Sidel will continue playing a fundamental role in this process by constantly innovating to ensure that packaging in rPET will further evolve for everyone’s benefit,’ Guillaume concludes.