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Jin Mai Lang boosts capacity with aseptic complete lines

Source:FoodPacific Manufacturing Journa     Date:2019-11-06
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KEY beverage player in China, Jin Mai Lang has two Sidel complete aseptic PET lines, both integrating Tetra Pak Processing System technologies and an Aseptic Combi Predis™ at its production facilities. These lines deliver a production output of 60,000 bottles per hour –the world’s fastest aseptic PET lines with dry preform decontamination for low acid products. Alongside newly designed PET bottles from Sidel, these lines have boosted the production capacity of Jin Mai Lang’s low and high acid products packaged in PET, while lowering the company’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Impressed by the benefits gained through this installation, Jin Mai Lang invested in another three Sidel aseptic complete lines, running at the same speed.

The Chinese beverage market grew significantly between 2017 and 2018, experiencing +3% in sales volume and +5% in sales value, mainly driven by a few beverage categories, including RTD tea which showed a remarkable 7% growth within a single year.  It is no surprise that Jin Mai Lang needed to increase their production capacity around their black and green tea, plus various kinds of flavoured water, to match the rising local demands.

Even before this recent installation, Jin Mai Lang was bottling in PET through Sidel’s hot-fill, wet aseptic and ultraclean technologies. “We started our successful partnership with Sidel back in 2006,” said Xianguo Fan, Chairman of Jin Mai Lang. “Thanks to this 13-year long cooperation, which has been materialised in many repeated orders, we currently have more than fifty pieces of Sidel equipment running in our factories, including seven complete PET ultraclean lines and 20 hot-fill PET lines. Over the years, we have built complete confidence in Sidel, recognising the quality and the reliability of their equipment, their innovation-driven mind set, as well as their local support and service capabilities.”

Considering the challenges placed by the competitive and crowded local beverage market, where securing brand attractiveness while minimising TCO is a must, Jin Mai Lang decided to further their trust in Sidel. For the first time in their history, they chose the Aseptic Combi Predis within the two complete aseptic PET lines, benefitting from dry preform decontamination. The lines are now in the company’s factories in Tianchang and Cuiping, located in the Anhui and Henan Province, respectively.

Outstanding performance and minimal TCO

“We wanted to minimise our TCO by relying on a sustainable and energy efficient piece of equipment that uses very few chemicals and no water during production. For us, this choice translated to significant savings,” said Mr Fan. As an FDA-validated solution, already accounting for more than 150 references globally, the Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis offers a versatile production to the top Chinese player, who is now able to manage six different SKUs, including three different bottle designs for the 500 ml format and a total of six different flavours. This flexibility is made possible by significantly reduced changeover times: a bottle format changeover on the Combi takes under 30 minutes. In addition, to secure maximum uptime, the Aseptic Combi Predis units integrated in both complete PET lines at Jin Mai Lang’s factories have been validated for 165 continuous production hours.

Sidel designed the new lines around Jin Mai Lang’s specific requirements, starting with the customer’s need for maximum performance. Safe and hygienic, the two lines offer an integrated solution from product preparation and treatment through the packaging line up to tertiary packaging. On top of the Aseptic Combi Predis solution, both Sidel lines integrate Tetra Pak Processing Systems (TPPS) technologies, the CapdisTM dry cap decontamination system, a sleever, and a wrap-around packer and palletising equipment. Most importantly, the flexible lines allow the production of all the low acid products in the company’s portfolio. Moreover, they are engineered for long-term performance, improving OEE while minimising TCO.

The two complete aseptic PET lines started production between the end of 2018 and mid-2019, both featuring more than 95% efficiency while delivering 60,000 bottles per hour. This makes them the fastest complete aseptic PET lines integrating dry preform decontamination technology for low acid products in the entire world.

Flavoured water

New bottle designs win young consumers’ preference

When highlighting the second big challenge for this customer, Steven Xie, Sidel Packaging Director, explains, “Jin Mai Lang also wanted to refresh the ten year old designs applied to their iced and green tea PET bottles. They realised they were no longer perceived as eye-catching by young local consumers, who represent their target group.” Steven continues, “To address this, Sidel provided a 360° packaging service including more than 15 conceptual and technical designs, pilot bottle tests and three pilot moulds. By taking advantage of the freedom of shape offered by the PET dry preform decontamination process, we helped the customer revamp their product range without increasing the bottle weight, which stays below 18 grams.”

The result is a very modern and dynamic look and feel for increased attractiveness and brand recognition on crowded retailer shelves. A clean and round shoulder is now combined with a bottle base enriched with an embossed pair of glasses, appealing to younger generations of consumers. Economic benefits were also high on the agenda when developing the designs: with this in mind, the sleeve height has been decreased for further cost savings. For additional flexibility and to welcome future needs, the iced tea bottle design has been developed to be applicable to both hot-filling and aseptic packaging production processes.

Sidel PET bottles

Iced and green teas in new bottles with round shoulders and base showing an embossed pair of glasses 

Excellent support gains Jin Mai Lang’s continued trust

“We worked hand in hand with Sidel through every stage of the project,” Mr. Fan says. “We especially valued the many meetings we held with the packaging, marketing, and technical teams to define the correct project specifications. Sidel’s quick responses and adaptability to our requirements resulted in a very smooth project management,” he adds.

In addition to a very close support all along the start-up phase, Sidel provided extensive training of the Jin Mai Lang operators at the customer’s plant to help their workers operate the aseptic lines integrating dry preform decontamination, a technology they were not familiar with. “The two lines have been delivered according to schedule, showing that our combination of customer proximity and global expertise is a winning recipe. Thanks to our strong aftersales support, we achieved production results which exceeded the customer’s expectations. We demonstrated that we are really a customer centric company” concludes Emily Liu, Sidel Account Manager for Jin Mai Lang.

Furthermore, Jin Mai Lang continues its cooperation with Sidel, choosing the company as one of its strategic packaging and mould suppliers for the next three years.

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