Sidel recently engineered and installed a complete aseptic packaging line, integrating the Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis at China’s Nongfu Spring. The line helped the leading Chinese beverage player launch a breakthrough in the domestic market: sparkling Ready-to-Drink (RTD) products, aseptically bottled in PET.
Founded in 1996 in Hangzhou, Nongfu Spring is one of the key players in the soft drinks market in China, maintaining leadership in the packaged water market over the past eight years. The company bottles provide high-quality natural drinking water and vegetable and fruit juices, functional beverages, teas, and other high-quality soft drinks, including plant protein yogurt, premium water for elderly people, and vitamin water. Its strong focus on innovation and premium brand positioning contribution to the steady customer base increase, even within beverage categories.
Flexible aseptic bottling thanks to dry preform sterilization technology
The leading Chinese player was already familiar with aseptic bottle decontamination technology in a standalone configuration. And it also validated Sidel aseptic dry preform sterilization solution in the past few years. This efficiently supports Nongfu Spring in the expansion of its portfolio while ensuring reliability and product integrity. Furthermore, for further flexibility, the dry preform sterilization technology solves the challenges presented by different bottle shapes, as the sterilization takes place at the preform stage.
Additionally, the Nongfu Spring decided to equip the Combi with Sidel’s patented active base mould system, the Base Over Stroke System (BOSS), to differentiate some of its bottles and expand its marketing opportunities. The technology can be selected depending on the container’s shape. BOSS is a piston-activated system in the blowing phase that strokes the base, raising and lowering it during the bottle-forming process, independently from the opening and closing of the two half-shells of the mould.
The new aseptic complete PET line at Nongfu Spring’s plant in Xin’anjiang (Eastern China) runs at 36,000 bottles per hour (bph). Aside from the Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis, it was also equipped with Capdis, the dry cap sterilization technology from Sidel.
The line also includes Tetra Pak Processing Systems technologies, an easy-to-handle Sidel RollQuattro roll-fed labeler – for wrap-around labels – and a Roll Adhesive labeler cooler with optimized water consumption. In addition, the end-of-line solution integrates a wrap-around case packer and the modular PalKombi palletizer for medium to high speeds.
The successful partnership of Nongfu and Sidel leads to repeat orders
To quickly reach the committed line efficiency and maintain consistent volumes and quality of production, Sidel also ensured that two dedicated shifts of field engineers worked alongside Nongfu Spring’s personnel for 18 months.
Due to this fruitful cooperation, Nongfu Spring quickly decided to turn to Sidel again and invest in two additional Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis, installed in the company’s factories in Hubei and Zhejiang, respectively. Both equipped with BOSS and running even faster at up to 49,500 bph, those pieces of equipment have already been fully validated. Last autumn, Nongfu Spring acquired another Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis Combi from Sidel with speeds up to 54,000 bph.