Canadian Packaging

Untroubled Waters

Canadian Packaging   

Beverage-processing systems powerhouse modernizes its stretch blow-moulder control unit to prevent unplanned downtime

It is the brains of a machine: without a control unit your bottling system can neither mould nor fill your containers.

When suppliers notify a discontinuation of such components—such as the control unit on the KHS InnoPET Blomax Series III—in the worst case production can grind to a halt.

In order to avoid this dilemma, and the unnecessary costs, the Dortmund, Germany-headquartered beverage filling systems specialists KHS GmbH (www.khs.com) is now offering a comprehensive upgrade for its stretch blow moulder.

As a result, customers such as Slovenian bottler Atlantic Droga Kolinska are profiting from KHS’ holistic services by not only increasing their production reliability, but also significantly boosting their efficiency. Proactive installation of the KHS ReDiS remote maintenance system in the course of the conversion also helps to further cut process costs.

Many customers across the globe value the many years of service life provided by KHS-built machines.

This is no different when it comes to the third-generation of KHS stretch blow-moulding technology, which was already heralded as one of the pioneers on the market back at the turn of the century.

Hundreds of these machines are still in successful operation at customer plants all over the world.

For its existing clients, KHS now offers a conversion of the control unit to modern components, a step made necessary by the discontinuation and thus cessation of production of the same by the former supplier.

The number of available spare parts will thus decrease as a result. If there is a machine failure, downtime could last longer and repairs may not always be possible, or may take up a vast amount of time and effort.

“We therefore urgently advise all users to replace their control unit. Ignoring this could prove expensive,” says Dennis Jacobi, service sales manager and expert for conversions at KHS in Hamburg, Germany.

One of the first customers to opt for a machine conversion on one of its two InnoPET Blomax Series III stretch blow moulders at its Rogaška Slatina plant in the east of Slovenia is the aforementioned Atlantic Droga Kolinska.

Here, premium Donat mineral water is filled into non-returnable PET bottles, holding between 0.5 and one litre, that comes from the springs of Rogaška Slatina and is named after the nearby mountain of Donačka Gora. It is valued as a healthy product for its combination of trace elements and good digestive properties.

In order to safeguard the continuing production of perfect containers in the future, the control unit on the stretch blow moulder – now more than 20 years old – was recently replaced.

“Mechanically it’s in a sound condition; it’s the electronics that are showing their age,” says Matic Javornik, manager of process automation for the Slovenian bottler.

“We wanted to carry on using our stretch blow moulder for a good few years more despite its vintage.

“The conversion has now greatly reduced the risk of unplanned downtime,” says Javornik. “We’ve also ensured the reliability of production.”

As Javornik relates, the modernization project was successfully completed in less than a week. As as part of its extensive range of services, KHS experts supervise production on converted machines onsite for five days in order to reliably adapt all processes on the machinery.

“The support above and beyond this phase is equally exemplary,” Javornik extols.

By converting its plant engineering, the Slovenian beverage producer has secured the availability of parts in the long term, while benefiting from lower costs for any necessary spare parts.

Moreover, both the software and visualization have been brought up to the minute, thus making operation easier thanks to the intuitive operator panel, for example.

KHS also offers its existing customers further advantages above and beyond the actual conversion.

“With the new control unit we’ve gained lots more functions that are comparable with newer-generation machines,” claims Javornik.

Unlike its predecessor, the installed system now has a Bluetooth link, instead of rotary connectors that were something of a challenge to maintain.

While replacing the control components, the systems provider also installed the intelligent ReDiS remote maintenance system free of charge.

“As with replacement of the control unit, this reduces the risk of machine downtime, as remote maintenance enables advice and support from service engineers to be given regardless of the actual location,” Jacobi explains.

“Any errors in the production process can therefore be detected in good time and remedied much more efficiently.”

Costly travel arrangements for assignments on site are also a thing of the past.

“We offer our customers an attractive complete package that not only increases production reliability but also boosts process efficiency,” Jacobi states. “They also receive intensive support from their initial inquiry through to implementation.

“We have exactly the right solution for each container and beverage segment in our discontinuation management program.”

Ultimately, however, it’s not just the service provided by KHS that has the Slovenians convinced but also the machines themselves.

This is why Atlantic Droga Kolinska is planning on further modernizing its production setup in the near future together with KHS.
www.khs.com

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