Both this and Sokpol’s first aseptic line, launched one year ago, use Combi Predis FMa machines to package liquids in PET (polyethylene terephthalate).
‘We made a mistake’
The second time around, Sokpol’s president chose Sidel as its sole supplier.
“In the beginning we made a small mistake. We ordered the filling line and the blowing part of the equipment from Sidel and the dry part of the equipment from another supplier - and this combination is not always good.”
Supplying all Combi Predis FMa from Sidel was “the best way forward,” said Roman Sobczyk, president.
The Combi Predis FMa machine is part of a growing industry trend for waterless washing via aseptic dry preform decontamination technology.
The company describes it as a “cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative” to rinsing bottles with fresh water.
“Dry decontamination” uses ionization and UV light to remove dust from packaging preforms. The plastic is then sterilized using hydrogen peroxide vapor (H2O2), which is evenly distributed on the container’s surfaces by condensation. The chemicals is activated by heat when the bottles pass through an oven.
Air filtered down to 0.01-micrometer particles is used for blow-molding the containers. The manufacturers said the process, which forgoes extreme heat and moves bottles by the neck, allows production of lightweight bottles in many different shapes.
Sokpol stressed the green credentials of the equipment, which combines blow-molding, filling and capping, usually done by separate machines. By eliminating the transport, empty bottle handling, accumulation and storage stages, the system creates a smaller total footprint, said Sokpol.
The extra line increases Sokpol’s production to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The companies put the launch down to increased demand from “changing consumer attitudes in Poland and Europe.”
“The reason for investing in a second aseptic line was very simple,” said Sobczyk.
“Our capacity at the time was not enough. If we wanted to implement all of our projects and produce more effectively, for example, without having to change formats so often, we needed another line.”
Polish Sokpol supplies fruit juices, nectars, and soft drinks mainly to Eastern Europe as well as Portugal, France, Italy, and the United States and Germany.
It supplies large supermarket groups with private labels and a smaller number of its own brands. Over 75% of its output is for discount chains.
Sokpol’s Polish plant is situated in Myszków in the south, near Katowice, the country’s main industrial city.
“In the beginning we produced in cartons and then we started production in glass bottles. Finally, in 2009 we started production in PET,” added Sobczyk.