To boost efficiency and maintain a competitive edge in a tough market, Emirates Refreshments Company (ERC) has carried out a short-neck conversion on its PET bottling line. ERC, brand owners of Jeema Mineral Water and carbonated soft drink O Cola, worked with Sidel (sidel.com), the leading provider of production equipment and services for liquids in PET, to upgrade its production line with Sidel’s innovative PET packaging solutions.
“We had worked with Sidel for the past 17 years and we have always been satisfied with their solutions. By upgrading our PET production line with Sidel’s innovative solutions, we were able to make substantial cost savings that translated into 25 per cent annually,” says Munther Khlifat, plant manager at ERC.
The beverage sector is expected to continue growing in the UAE across various categories. In 2015, the consumption of water, the most consumed beverage item, stood at around 1.13 billion liters and is forecast to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% to reach 1.48 billion liters by 2019.
The solutions introduced for ERC included a blower, a filler and a combi, along with packaging and line improvement services. The objective in making the investment was to increase efficiency, reduce energy consumption, save raw materials, and cut production costs by lightweighting the company’s packaging through moving to a Sidel StarLite™ base and short neck.
Muhammed Elgharib, also a plant manager at ERC, comments: “By changing the design of the PET bottle and shortening the bottle neck to adopt a short neck 29/25 closure, we were able to produce attractive new designs that weigh considerably less – 27.5 grams compared to 32 grams for 1.5 liter bottles; and 11.6 grams compared to 17 grams for 500 ml bottles.” Short necks offer tremendous economic gains and reduce post-consumer waste by cutting down the material used. The Sidel StarLite base gives added durability, stability and overall resistance to the bottles, providing higher bottle integrity throughout the supply chain without compromising on the safety standards of the beverages inside.
In addition, ERC introduced Sidel ECO lamps to the PET line to provide more precise and more efficient heating. This reduced the line’s electricity consumption and therefore also contributed to the cost savings achieved, as well as improving the PET line’s performance in terms of sustainability.
“We understand very clearly the potential impact of lightweighting on brand value and the consumer experience. We are glad that ERC can now save substantial costs, remain competitive, and achieve their sustainability goals after upgrading their PET line with Sidel technology,” states Samuel Gobbe, customer service director at Sidel.