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    Flexibility at Pepsi to Meet Consumer Demands

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    How the Pepsi North America Beverages Tampa plant used the latest Krones technology to help not only its own operations but local hurricane victims as well.
    • As Hurricane Irma was barreling towards the U.S. state of Florida, PepsiCo made the decision to produce only water on its new line in the coming weeks. “We basically produced an extra quarter of a million cases of water”, says Plant Director Robert Sirois.
    • On its new turnkey line in Tampa, PepsiCo is able to produce 43,000 containers per hour.

    When Hurricane Irma – a Category 5 storm at the time – was barreling towards the U.S. state of Florida in September 2017, the Pepsi Beverages Company plant in Tampa was on high alert. The plant had just installed a brand new high-efficiency line that included an ErgoBloc L.

    The plant was forced to cease production for at least two days due to mandatory evacuation orders. They were able to quickly get operations back up to speed, but with one important change: the decision was made to produce only water in the coming weeks in order to support those in the community affected by the storms. “We basically produced an extra quarter of a million cases of water thanks in large part to the efficiency and flexibility of the Krones line,” emphasizes Plant Director Robert Sirois.

    In fact, the plant was able to support all areas of Florida that had been affected by the hurricane. “We moved hundreds of thousands of cases of water in a short period of time. It was a very rewarding experience to see our product on the shelves so quickly. We were able to run the number of cases required to meet the needs of consumers,” says engineering manager Andry Agustiady.

    Flexible changeovers with LineXpress

    Thankfully, PepsiCo North America Beverages was prepared to handle the huge spike in demand for water. Just a few months earlier they had installed a line for producing water and RTD tea, replacing a system originally meant for two-liter beverages. The turnkey line contains a new Krones ErgoBloc L that is rated at 43,000 bph and comprises a Contiform 3 Pro blow molder, a Modufill filler, and a modular labeler with a Contiroll station.

    It also features one of Krones’ newest technologies for product changeovers – LineXpress. The quick-change system uses a combination of equipment intelligence and mechanical technology. In PepsiCo’s case, product changeovers, for example from water to tea, can be managed in only 28 minutes, bottle-to-bottle. LineXpress offers various changeover options – either after a defined number of produced containers or after a certain volume of production. While the last containers of the previous article are still being packed, the line is already starting production of the new product.

    To help expedite the changeover to a new container type, a robot executes bottle mold changeovers in only ten minutes – a process that previously took closer to an hour. “The blow molder is completely hands off,” says Brian Pinter, maintenance supervisor. “After a short test run, production starts immediately – and it keeps running until it’s time for the next changeover.”

    But LineXpress wouldn’t live up to its reputation if the fast product changeover only applied to the blow molder. It also handles packaging changeovers – mostly sizes between 12 and 24-packs or even 32-packs for water.

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