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    Filling high up in the mountains

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    08. November 2022
    3:40 min.
    The Albanian company Lajthiza is adding yet more capacity with a new PET line from Krones.
    • Lajthiza's premium still water is bottled in a wide variety of containers. Image credits:


    Lajthiza supplies all of Albania with its top-quality mineral water. In order to increase capacity and exports, in June 2022 another Krones line was added to the five already up and running at its plant.

    It looks like something out of a science-fiction film, this gigantic factory perched right atop Roshi mountain and surrounded by more mountain ranges. The factory is owned by Lajthiza, Albania’s biggest mineral water producer. It was on this mountain in the north-east of Albania that Hajri Elezaj, founder and managing director of Lajthiza, discovered a mountain spring with ultra-pure water which is naturally filtered by its passage through magmatic rock. That was 1999 and it marked the start of the family-owned company’s success story. The water reaches the factory purely by gravitational pull – no pumps needed – which means that Lajthiza fills still and carbonated mineral water directly from the spring.

    The company has steadily upsized its factory over the past few years. The water is taken down to the valley, and material transported up to the factory, on a winding mountain road with more than 3,000 bends. Sustainability is very important for the company. Lajthiza produces both preforms and closures in-house, so that they don’t have to be transported over long distances. Any bottles and preforms rejected during production are recycled and fed back into the manufacturing process. Moreover, the company employs returnable gallon bottles that can be re-used up to twelve times. Lajthiza sells its water in Albania and other countries like Kosovo and North Macedonia. Demand for it is huge, and the company intends to increase exports – Lajthiza still has many big plans.

    Image 30579
    The factory was built on Mount Roshi in northeastern Albania. Image credits:


    Ever onwards

    In 1999, the company started its production and filling operation, with pre-owned equipment at the time. Lajthiza has not only continually upsized its factory but also kept on modernising it, and can look back on more than ten years of cooperation with Krones. At first, the company bought individual machines, then blow-moulder/filler blocks and finally complete lines.

    “We’re relying on state-of-the-art technology from Krones”, says Hajri Elezaj. “Krones has supported us to optimum effect in all our projects: with their comprehensive expertise in planning, designing and implementing the lines, with top-notch service support in all project phases and with quickest possible deliveries of lines, equipment and spares. That makes Krones an important strategic partner. Thanks to our cooperation, we today comply with all standards specified in the EU regulations and have no problems at all exporting our beverages.”

    Krones is an important strategic partner for us. Erwin HächlHajri ElezajFounder and managing director of Lajthiza

    Four of the six lines operating at the mineral water producer were supplied by Krones. Lajthiza fills 20,000 bottles per hour on a returnable-glass line, 6,000 five-litre bottles an hour on a PET line and 26,000 bottles per hour, ranging in size between 0.5 and 1.5 litres, on another PET line. The company also runs a line for filling beverage cartons, plus another line for five-gallon bottles. To increase capacity, a new Krones line – the third one for PET bottles – was commissioned in June 2022. It is intended mainly for 0.5-litre bottles but can also handle sizes ranging from 0.33 to 1.5 litres.

    Once you block, you can’t stop

    The main specification for the line was to provide high levels of efficiency coupled with low energy consumption. The ErgoBloc L wet-end block from Krones, consisting of stretch blow-moulder, labeller and filler, is able to satisfy these wishes on a minimised footprint. After the bottles have been blow-moulded, they are first labelled and then filled. An Ergomodul with a Contiroll station for wrap-around labelling applies the bottle dress, with packaging handled by a Variopac Pro FS and palletising by a Modulpal Pro 2AC machine.

    Project: New PET line
    Customer: Lajthiza Invest sh. a.
    Location: Lajthiza, Albania
    Commissioning: June 2022

    PET line, rated at 48,000 bottles per hour


    “The project marks a milestone in our cooperation in terms of both investment size and production speed,” says a gratified Hajri Elezaj. Lajthiza fills 48,000 bottles per hour on its new line. They leave Roshi mountain in lorries to provide refreshment for the people in Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia and soon in many more countries as well.

    08. November 2022
    3:40 min.

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