Rising demand for white vinegar recently prompted French condiment and seasoning company Charbonneaux-Brabant to install a Sidel PET line in their new Vauvert production plant. There the company bottles white vinegar in 1 and 1.5-l formats in a flexible operation that continuously changes to satisfy supply chain and distribution demands.
In fact, growing use of white vinegar as a natural and effective cleaning product spurred the expansion. As with other natural cleaning products such as baking soda and rubbing alcohol, white vinegar is also an affordable choice. Charbonneaux-Brabant three existing plants couldn’t keep pace with demand for product sold under the Charbonneaux-Brabant name as well as supermarket and private labels.
“All of those sites were nearly saturated and incapable of coping with the growing demand for white vinegar without a potential risk of production shortages,” says industrial director Loïc Dionis.
The main challenge in outfitting the new facility was maintaining the stringent packaging conditions required for edible product while leveraging PET packaging processes similar to those for edible oils, sauces, and dressings — all while ensuring the equipment could withstand the high acidity of white vinegar sold as a homecare product.
“Charbonneaux-Brabant wanted to employ inline PET bottle blowing and turnkey solutions for a fully automatic high-speed line for the production of vinegar,” says Sidel key account manager Loïc Leon.
Besides the variations in bottle sizes and labels, the product is grouped into packs of six, nine, or 12 — either in complete wrap-around blanks or in shrink-wrapped film. Product also ships in 10 different palletizing configurations with four pallet patterns.
The system Sidel supplied includes a complete PET line capable of running at 23,000 bottles per hour with 90% efficiency. A Sidel Matrix Combi blow molding + filling + capping machine has a compact footprint. A cold-glue labeler quickly processes labeling. Twin overwrapping machines include a continuous packer (for wrapping of blanks at 37.5 cases per min.) and a shrink wrapper to bundle bottles in packs. A layer-by-layer palletizer at the end of the line employs an infeed system with electronic spacing to prevent damage.
But at the heart of the installation are conveyors. A system of conveyor sections (including inclines) feeds the plastic tubes called parisons up into the blow-molding machine for bottle forming. A superhighway takes formed, filled, and capped bottles off the Matrix Combi and sends them down a narrowing funnel for accumulation before an inline labeling station.
Another conveying section at a wrap-around station transports groups of bottles into a stream of cardboard as it’s folded into boxes around the bottles.
A trio of conveyors at the end of the line allow the assembly of finished boxes of product with wooden skids (from another steel-roller conveyor) with cardboard sheets (supplied from above by a gantried pneumatic-gripper frame) and onward. Twin conveyors feed these completed skids into the wrappers.
All images courtesy Sidel. For more information, visit this page on sidel.com.