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    Sparkling dolce vita from Italy
    Sparkling dolce vita from Italy
      The classic Italian brand of S.Pellegrino epitomises the Italians’ zest for hedonistic optimisation, and like few other waters worldwide is the embodiment of hedonistically sophisticated drinking.

      With increasing frequency, the mineral water from Northern Italy is also being consumed on the go in single-serve containers. The 0.5-litre PET bottle is booming. Reason enough for the Nestlé company Sanpellegrino to install a new, high-speed PET bottling line from Krones.

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      For centuries, San Pellegrino Terme was a popular spa, well-known even outside Italy’s borders. Back in 1509, Leonardo da Vinci had visited the spring, and sampled this delicacy from Lombardy’s Alps. But the water was first bottled in 1899, when the stock corporation Terme di San Pellegrino was founded. Over the course of decades, the firm expanded its portfolio to include soft drinks like Sanpellegrino Aranciata, mineral water with Sicilian orange juice, or Limonata, a fruity-aromatic lemonade, and later on an alcohol-free brand of bitters called Sanbitter, which has developed into an integral constituent of the Italians’ sense of life and consumption ethos.

      A global player in the water market

      Nestlé Waters is the division at Nestlé responsible for drinking-water in bottles. It accounts for about ten per cent of the group’s worldwide sales. With 16.1 billion litres sold in 2011 according to Euromonitor, Nestlé Waters is the third-biggest global player in this line of business, with quantitative sales accounting for about 8.4 per cent of the global market, or 10.1 per cent in terms of value. At the end of 2010, Nestlé Waters possessed 67 commercial brands with 59 local brands, the three Nestlé brands Nestlé Pure Life, Nestlé Aquarel and Nestlé Vera, plus the five premium brands with an international presence: S.Pellegrino, Perrier, Vittel, Acqua Panna and Contrex. Five of the brands rank among the worlds’ best-selling products, and one of these, of course, is S.Pellegrino.

      Ten lines

      In 1961, Sanpellegrino had built the “Ruspino” factory on a site measuring around 70,000 square metres, with 38,000 square metres of enclosed space. Today, the plant operates a total of ten lines, on which four types of container, 13 bottle sizes ranging from 100 millilitres to 1.5 litres, and a huge variety of end-of-the-line packages are run. Line 10 is designed to handle 1.0-litre PET containers at a speed of 36,000 bottles an hour. In April 2012, this line received a new Krones wet end, in the shape of a monobloc featuring a Contiform S18 blow-moulder, a Modulfill VODM and a Topmodule labeller. In terms of layout, though not rating, this monobloc is identical to that in Line 11, supplied in its entirety by Krones, which Sanpellegrino had commissioned in February 2012.

      “The monobloc is nowadays simply the best technical solution.”

      For this Line 11, Sanpellegrino opted once again for Krones as the single-source supplier, and thus confirmed the worth of a lengthy and continually evolving relationship. “Technological quality and efficiency, plus the good price-performance ratio, were the crucial criteria for us when the line was awarded to Krones”, comments Luigi Ravasio. The 60,000-bph line starts with a Contiform monobloc. “The monobloc is nowadays simply the best technical solution”, emphasises Senior Engineer and Project Manager Stefano Ciocca. The filled PET containers are then passed through a bottle dryer before they arrive at the Multimodule labeller. All fully labelled containers are inspected for correct label placement by a Checkmat 731 EM.

      Commissioning right on schedule

      The labelled containers are then passed to two packers arranged in parallel, a Variopac Pro FS for shrink-packs, and a Variopac Pro PFS for shrink-packs, with pads if required. A Robobox then creates the layer pattern, “a good system, and we’re very satisfied with it”, says Luigi Ravasio. The Robogrip 4A loading robot, finally, assembles the pallet stacks, which are immediately transported to a warehouse. The line is also equipped with a CIP system, a Contiflow mixer and an LDS line documentation system from Krones. “Installation of the line was completed right on schedule within two months, in February 2012. And we’re achieving the agreed efficiency”, says Luigi Rovasio.

      1.1 billion bottles at high productivity

      Sanpellegrino has significantly upgraded its overall productivity levels over recent years. Whereas in 2006 the fills totalled around 965 million bottles with 475 employees, corresponding to a per-capita productivity of 2.0 million bottles by 2011 it had risen to 2.74 million bottles. During this period, the payroll, especially of temporary workers, fell to just over 400, while output increased to 1.1 billion bottles. Thanks to the continuingly stable demand for Sanpellegrino’s high-quality products, the company is confident that its production output will increase still further up to 2014. For S.Pellegrino mineral water alone, the target is approximately 850 million fills. The capacity upsizing thanks to the new Krones Line 11, and the modernisation of Line 10 with a wet end from Krones were the technical precondition and the foundation for this.

      Selected machines and solutions