Sidel sells 1,000th blow molder in Africa

Part of a high-speed PET water line at StrongPack

Sidel sells 1,000th blow molder in Africa
The blow molder is being installed as part of a high-speed PET water line at StrongPack in Nigeria.

Sidel, a global provider of packaging solutions for beverage, food, home, and personal care products in PET, glass, cans, and other materials, is celebrating the sale of its 1,000th EvoBlow. The blow molder will be installed as part of a high-speed PET water line at StrongPack in Nigeria in early 2023.

StrongPack has been a customer of global packaging solutions leader Sidel, since starting operations in 2018. Benefiting from an experienced, flexible, and customer-focused Sidel project management team, StrongPack is now one of Nigeria’s biggest co-packers of non-alcoholic beverages. The new 86,000 bottles per hour (bph) high-speed line will be the fastest in Africa, the company said in a statement. It marks StrongPack’s entry into the still-water co-packing market.

StrongPack is one of the biggest producers by volume of Royal Crown (RC) Cola worldwide and is also the biggest and the most diversified co-packer in Nigeria. The company is co-packing products such as malt drinks, teas, regular carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, juice nectar, and fruit-flavored drinks, including some nitrogen-pressurized packaging for major global brands. Packaged water is the most consumed soft drink category in Nigeria and has a higher-than-average share of the overall soft drink sector compared to the rest of the region.1

Efficiency and hygiene standards

StrongPack’s new water line will combine an EvoBlow regular blow-molding machine with filling and capping equipment, integrating these production phases into one compact Combi SF100 solution. The integrated solution includes a water treatment room and automated cleaning-in-place (CIP), ensuring hygiene and food safety.

Sustainable production

StrongPack’s choice of Combi set-up offers material savings, with bottle lightweighting opportunities through bottleneck handling and the elimination of intermediary conveying. Energy consumption is kept to a minimum through Ecoven’s infrared ceramic lamps. The Sidel Starlite mold base, combined with the SuperVent optimized mold venting system, will minimize the blowing pressure and subsequent energy consumption, enabling further lightweighting while ensuring quality and strength on this new complex bottle design.

A team of trusted experts

Eric Thibault, chairman of StrongPack Nigeria, said: “We have partnered with Sidel right from the start of our operations and we are very happy to have had the same trusted execution project manager, Yasser Seffo, throughout. The Sidel team of experts overcame challenges in designing this high-speed line within the space available. They worked closely with the StrongPack team to find the perfect solution, utilizing the compact and optimized Combi layout. We look forward to Sidel supporting our future growth in the water and carbonated soft drinks markets.”

Resistant and distinctive bottle design

Sidel has designed a new bottle shape inspired by the Nigerian multi-cultural lifestyle. It combines a distinctive shape with a sharp structural design to optimize the user experience and bottle resistance, in addition to enhancing bottle functionality and strength. Nitrogen dosing into the bottle headspace at the filling phase prevents vacuum or swelling and offers a lightweighted and high-performing bottle – ideally suited to a local distribution chain that demands extremely resilient bottles. The new line will produce 600ml bottles weighing just 11.5g in packs of 12. Sidel has carried out its full feasibility and performance tests on the stretch blow-molding process.

1000th EvoBlow machine

Sidel launched its first commercial PET blower more than 40 years ago, and there are now 7,000 Sidel SBO blowers of all generations still operating worldwide. The company says it offers the highest level of blowing configurability to ensure that solutions are tailored to specific market needs, for example, in the three complete PET lines integrating Sidel’s Actis coating system that have been installed at StrongPack. Sidel experts are continuously working to optimize the blowing process to deliver the best bottle quality and performance for all types of PET resins. This includes virgin and recycled PET (r-PET), one-way and refillable PET (ref-PET), as well as transparent, opaque, monolayer, and multilayer.

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