Sidel said it is turning to bottling line optimisation in light of the fact that beverage and liquid food manufacturers have not been investing significantly in new production capacity since the start of the global economic crisis.
Marc Aury, head of the new Sidel Engineering & Conveying unit, said the global group has noted a downturn in equipment sales of between 10 and 15 per cent over the period and has decided to consolidate its performance improvement services into the unit to meet a growing demand from processors for equipment audits and line adaptations.
Speaking to FoodProductionDaily.com, he said the engineering services unit is building on the company’s years of experience in diagnosis of equipment inefficiency and skill in terms of production line redesign to help processors get the maximum out of their existing equipment.
Aury said the unit is taking a three pronged approach to this bottling line optimisation service.
“We firstly can help companies that are shutting down production plants relocate machinery to another plant and simultaneously size their required manufacturing footprint.
“We also offer assistance in terms of packaging material redesign to reduce weight – even a reduction of a few grams per bottle can result in significant savings. We also work with manufacturers who, in terms of secondary packaging, are seeking to go from cartons to shrink wrapping and need advice in this regard,” he continued.
However, the unit’s core business, stressed Aury, is to cut the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of machinery for manufacturers and he said this can be carried out via audits based on information derived from Sidel’s efficiency improvement tool, the Eco-EIT.
“Our line monitoring software will measure the electricity, steam or water consumption on a line, which then enables us to review each piece of machinery to determine exactly the right type of retrofit to improve the process and make the equipment more sustainable,” he explained.
Aury said that the unit will also make recommendations, following a plant audit, about how a competitors’ equipment could be further maximised and he said the unit can liaise with these suppliers on behalf of the customer.
The fact that beverage packaging is under intensifying environmental scrutiny and the fact that reduction in the consumption of raw materials, energy, water and chemicals has become a top concern for the entire industry, was the reason cited by Sidel last year for the appointment of a dedicated sustainability officer within the group.
And another recent development by the company in terms of its stated objective of boosting its customers’ green profile is its ‘LCA User’ tool, which Sidel claims enables beverage producers to make an informed decision regarding the most environment-friendly packaging material for their products based on different scenarios.