The hardware used to implement this hybrid filling technology comprises a blow-moulder/filler Contiform monobloc for CSDs and hot-filled products. The electro-pneumatically controlled filling valves of the Modulfill VFS work with two filling speeds, for both hot- and cold-filling, first of all fast and then slow. A swirl insert has been installed at the valve’s outlet, which is instrumental in guiding the product to the container’s inside wall to better effect, thus reducing both turbulences in the liquid film and foaming while also providing higher accuracy. The PET containers are pressed against the valves for filling. The cold-filling function for CSDs is preceded by CO₂ pressurisation, followed by a settling phase, and completed by container snifting. For hot-filling of still beverages, on the other hand, pressureless filling is also possible. So this filling valve can handle soft drinks, juices and water, both still and carbonated, plus hot-filled beverages as well, and even drinks with a pulp content. The fill quantity is determined volumetrically, using flow meters, with any surplus product returned directly into the valve.
36,000 containers per hour
The Contiform monobloc has been accommodated in a separate, air-conditioned room. The Contiform H blow-moulder for hotfill containers is supplied with preforms by a Contifeed preform feed unit, into which a rotary preform inspector has been integrated. Moreover, the preforms are cleaned in a Rotary Prejet preform rinser. The blow-moulded containers are passed to the filler by servomotor-driven starwheels on Monotec columns, which ensure optimum hygiene and easy access for the operators and maintenance staff.
The Modulfill VFS, with its 96 filling valves, has been dimensioned for an hourly output of 36,000 containers and combined with a closer.
Lightweighting the hotfill containers
The hybrid line went into operation in the spring of 2014, and replaced an existing 10,000-bph PET line. Suntory’s engineering department in Japan liaised closely with Krones, so as to complete weight reduction of the containers produced of the containers produced in time for the new line’s start-up. This close cooperation was instrumental in reducing the 450-millilitre hotfill bottle’s weight from 26.5 to 21 grams, with this bottle used both for Mirai and Mytea. “Our aim is to reduce its weight still further,” explains Production Manager Catur Wahyu.
The first turnkey solution from Krones for Suntory operates at peak times with an efficiency of 92 per cent. Since the two teas Mirai and Mytea are both filled in the identical 450-millilitre hotfill bottle, all that needs to be done at a product change-over is to run a CIP procedure. When the line is changed over from hotfill to cold-filling the carbonated Mountea Sparkling drink, the moulds in the Contiform also have to be replaced with those for the 330-millilitre bottle. Suntory Garuda handles service and maintenance for this line itself, under the management of Nanang Sandi, the Maintenance Section Head. Krones’ Indonesian subsidiary, located in Jakarta an hour’s flight away, can be relied upon to supply any spares that are needed.
“Both the machinery’s design and the service support Krones provides are exactly in line with what we had in mind,” says Production Manager Catur Wahyu. “We know Krones very well, and they took our wishes and needs fully on board. To put it in a nutshell: they are professionals,” emphasises Yohei Okayama, Suntory’s engineering specialist from Japan, and he adds: “My gut feeling is that the line gives us above-average performance. Whenever another hybrid line should be needed, then Krones will indubitably be right in the vendor list.”