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    The state-owned mineral water producer Jeju on the eponymous island off the Korean coast owns South Korea’s most successful brand of water: Jeju Samdasoo, the market leader almost from the very beginning.

    Jeju will be manifesting this success with a new Krones high-speed bottling line rated at 54,000 PET containers an hour.

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    The market for packaged water in South Korea is extremely young, and also extremely expansive. It was not until 1995, not even 20 years ago, that the Korean legislators for the first time permitted water to be extracted and bottled on an industrial scale. A boom quickly ensued, with mineral water companies busily securing their corporate. As did JPDC (Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Development Corporation), a company owned by the independent provincial government of Jeju Island in the south of Korea, which by setting up the Jeju mineral water company and launching the Jeju Samdasoo water brand became a player in the still-young water market.

    In March 1998, the facility went into operation with two PET lines. JPDC was thus Korea’s 72nd registered mineral water company. Only three months after sales began, the Jeju Samdasoo brand had taken over market leadership in Korea’s water market, and has kept it ever since.

    High-speed, high-tech line

    When in 2007 Jeju Samdasoo had passed the 300-million-litre mark, it was time for a third PET bottling line, which went into operation in 2008. The same situation recurred in 2011, with capacity utilisation coming up against its limits at now 600 million litres. Once again, a new bottling line was required. This time, JPDC wanted right from the start to use a high-speed, high-tech line. “In order to decide between two vendors, we commissioned a group of experts, who together recommended Krones unequivocally”, explains Oh Jae-yoon, President of JPDC. This new line, Jeju Samdasoo’s only high-speed line, rated at 54,000 containers an hour, went into operation at the end of 2012, and fills 0.5-litre and 2.0-litre containers at a speed of 44,800 containers an hour.

    JPDC also installed an in-house preform production capability, featuring a Netstal PET-Line. The PET-resin preforms produced here are then immediately monitored in the same room by a Krones preform inspector. The PreformCheck rotary inspector operates with high-resolution CCD camera technology and features darkened machine guards, so as not to falsify the results by influencing the light conditions. Features monitored include the quality of the neck finish, damage or irregularities on the sealing surface, and the length and colour of the preforms. The OK preforms are then placed in aluminium containers for intermediate storage, and when they are needed are poured into the blow-moulder’s automatic preform feed unit in a separate room.

    Contiform Bloc

    From here, they are passed to the bottling section, where a Contiform Bloc produces the bottles, fills them and caps them. The Contiform Bloc is composed of a Prejet linear preform rinser, which uses ionised air to clean the preforms, a Contiform blow-moulder with 24 modules, a volumetric, electronically controlled Modulfill VFJ filler, plus a screw-capper, which is supplied with the caps from a Capcade closure sorter located outside. Jeju also has an option for using an integrated Contipure module for preform decontamination with H₂O₂. All these units are grouped together in a cleanroom. The fill level is then inspected by a Checkmat FM-IR using infrared technology. A Flowliner now distributes the filled containers from the single-line conveyor to the mass transport belts. The bottles are passed to an Accutable buffer, which ensures sufficient buffering time and provides a breathing space for the line as a whole. Then Jeju deploys a specially developed machine, a full-bottle inspector, which examines the filled PET bottles for unwanted constituents in the product, and monitors the fill level again.

    Topmodul with Contiroll stations and Multireel

    After this repeated inspection and monitoring, the containers now leave the filling zone and are passed to an ancillary room, where they are first of all blow-dried by a Linadry and then directly dressed on a Topmodul with two Contiroll HS stations for wrap-around labelling. Each of these stations is supplied from its own freestanding Multireel C magazine holding eight label reels. This multiplies the uninterrupted running time by eight without an operator having to intervene, which eases the staff’s workload and increases overall efficiency. Another Checkmat FEM-IR inspects the labels for correct positioning.

    Now the containers can be packaged at the end of the line. For this purpose, Jeju uses a Variopac Pro FS film shrink-wrapper with a two-lane infeed for parallel handling of two sixpacks at a time. A rising pack conveyor transports the sixpacks to a higher level, where a Robobox grouping station creates the requisite layer.

    Striking glass bottle

    The two-litre PET bottle for Jeju Samdasoo is being offered in the shops for about 900 won (just under 0,70 euros), and is thus in the upper price segment, topped only by the imported waters. In 2013, JPDC for the first time launched a second mineral water brand in addition to its Samdasoo flagship product, a premium-segment water called Hallasu, named after the Halla volcano and the Korean word Su for water, marketed in both PET and glass bottles. This really striking glass bottle won immediate accolades with the 2013 Red Dot Award and the 2014 iF Design Award. In a second facility on the island, JPDC also produces orange juice and in the shape of Vio Jeju V Water+ a near-water product with added potassium. The latest product creation is the Jespi beer brand, which JPDC brews as five different variants – from Pilsner and ale to stout with a current production capacity of 1,000 hectolitres – in cooperation with the US Brooklyn Brewery, and distributes in South Korea.
    “The success of our Jeju water and all the beverages based on it will continue on our chosen market”, believes JPDC-President Oh Jae-yoon. “The quality of this water simply brooks no argument.”


    Selected machines and solutions
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