And it’s necessary too. Due to the broad product range of more than 1,250 different articles, Starzinger has to change over to relatively small batches not only often, but also as swiftly as possible. This requires particularly flexible lines that at the same time assure minimised product losses and high standards of quality. Ludmilla’s son Victor Starzinger, who played a leading role in developing and implementing this project, explains: “At first, we were thinking of a conventional PET line, but then we looked at the LineXpress concept from Krones and realised: this is really tailor-made for our company’s needs. In terms of flexibility and change-over times, particularly, the line is simply perfect for us.”
Up to four hours saved during change-overs
With the new line, Starzinger fills up to 21,000 1.5-litre bottles per hour. In addition, LineXpress L enables the production capacity to be increased, since a complete article change-over to different products, types, formats and packs can be achieved in record time. A product change-over, for example, can be shortened to as little as ten minutes, and a format change-over to only 30 minutes. “For us, this means that in the case of a complex change-over routine, from 1.5 to 0,5-litre bottles, for example, massive time savings of up to four hours can be obtained compared to a conventional line,” emphasises Victor Starzinger. This is made possible by automated and simultaneous processes that eliminate the previous error sources at change-overs, which by reason of their complexity are repeatedly a challenge for the operators.
And this is how the system works: when the scheduled production quantity has been reached, LineXpress automatically initiates the article change-over routine on the line. The material flows are changed over on the fly, with the previous preforms and closures being removed while production is still ongoing, and replaced by new ones. Once the line is then free, the change-over routine will begin. A robot automatically replaces the moulds at the blow-moulder, while change-over at the filler is likewise fully automatic. The inspection unit is also changed over to the parameters of the new article. In the packer and palletiser, thanks to the assistance systems, the change-over to the new packages has already been promptly completed. All these operations are reproducible.