Refresco Group Reinvests In KHS Technology [12/16/2011]
One KHS turnkey line apiece for Belgium and the Netherlands
The KHS/Refresco success story continues. Following the many orders placed with KHS over the past few years, the Refresco Group has now commissioned two more turnkey lines from the filling and packaging expert: a non-refillable PET bottle line for Ninove in Belgium and a canning line for Maarheeze in the Netherlands.
The Refresco Group is European market leader in the production of non-alcoholic beverages for the retail trade. Founded in 2000, the company now runs a total of 25 production sites in nine different countries with a workforce of around 2,500. In 2010 the Refresco Group's total output was 3.8 billion liters, with sales figures at around 1.22 billion euros.
Christian Tuypens, manager of the Refresco plant in Ninove, and Arnold Rekmans, manager of Refresco's site in Maarheeze, agree that "In KHS we have a partner who not only gives us top quality filling and packaging technology but also provides us with the best service. This is a key factor; we expect the highest efficiency from Refresco lines that as a rule are in operation 24 hours a day."
The recently ordered PET line for Ninove can fill up to 39,600 0.5-liter, 30,000 1-liter and 1.5-liter, and 25,000 2-liter PET bottles an hour. The highlight of the line, comprising KHS engineering from the blow molder and filler through the labeler to the packaging and palletizing machines, is the new KHS InnoPET BloFill stretch blow molder/filler monoblock. Besides specifically saving on the expense of an air conveyor, plus the fact that less space is required as the air conveying segment is no longer needed, the monoblock system also has the advantage of especially gentle PET bottle handling. There are also other benefits in using the next generation of KHS Corpoplast InnoPET Blomax Series IV stretch blow molders and the KHS monoblock concept. For instance, the Series IV has a new heater that uses a heating technology capable of reducing the heat up time for preforms by almost fifty percent versus the InnoPET Blomax Series III. Another highly significant feature is that the stretching process in the blowing stations is controlled by a servomotor. The stretch speed is independent of the machine speed, which facilitates the adaptation of different bottle sizes to the filler. Moreover, the material is optimally distributed within the manufactured PET bottles, allowing preforms to be used which have been optimized down to the last tenth of a gram. The bottles are filled using the volumetric, computer-controlled Innofill DRV-VF filling system in a process that makes use of swirlers to process both carbonated and non-carbonated alcohol-free beverages. Apart from not having spreading elements protruding into the bottle, the advantage of the swirler is the high level of filling flexibility achieved. "Maximum filling flexibility is of great importance to us at Refresco," Tuypens explains. "We have this maximum filling flexibility to its full extent in our new KHS PET line."
Arnold Rekmans thinks the same of the KHS canning line recently commissioned for Maarheeze. The heart of the line, the Innofill DVD filling system, is also extremely flexible and perfectly equipped for the bottling of carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks. Here, too, KHS has supplied a complete package of technical machinery. The Innofill DVD, for instance, has 144 filling stations and manages the filling of all kinds of different receptacles. In Maarheeze it fills 150-ml, 200-ml, 250-ml, 296-ml, 330-ml, and 355-ml cans at a rate of up to 90,000 cans an hour, also processing up to 72,000 cans an hour that hold 500 ml. Maximum filling accuracy is achieved on the Innofill DVD through electromagnetic inductive flowmetering. Deviations in can capacities supplied by various manufactures are no longer a matter of concern. For example, if a volume of 330 ml is programmed into the system, the cans will then contain exactly 0.33 liters. The Innofill DVD can easily be switched to different can sizes from the operator terminal at the push of a button. The operator simply retrieves the settings programmed into the system, and production continues with the new can size. This results in time savings and increased machine availability. Normal format part changing is necessary only if cans with other diameters are to be processed. Rekmans concludes, "We of course also opted for KHS because the aspects of flexibility and line efficiency are so important to us – and in this respect KHS has provided the Refresco Group with several systems that can confidently be described as absolute masterpieces."
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