Centrale del Latte di Brescia has doubled its aseptic production of UHT milk in PET bottles and in doing so is benefitting from a simple, safe and sustainable packaging line. The project saw this innovation-driven company become the first producer in Italy to invest in Sidel’s aseptic and environmentally friendly combined blow-fill-cap solution with dry preform decontamination – the Sidel aseptic Combi Predis.
Centrale del Latte di Brescia has started shifting from carton to PET to promote its fresh milk in 1L and 0.5L bottles in early 2000. At this time, the dairy producer invested in a complete aseptic PET line equipped with standalone equipment. In just a few months, the company almost completely switched its UHT milk production from carton to PET bottles, a ground-breaking development which received a positive response from Italian consumers.
Market proven solution to meet challenges
Building on the increasing consumption of UHT milk in PET in Italy, Centrale del Latte di Brescia recently needed to enlarge its production capacity. The company wanted to ensure its products were of the very highest quality while reducing its reliance on chemicals. It had also to consider the restricted floor space available in its plant: a historic building located in the centre of the city of Brescia. Based on its extensive experience in dairy and specifically in aseptic production and packaging, the Italian manufacturer evaluated the main solutions available on the market and chose Sidel to become the first manufacturer of UHT milk in PET in Italy.
One of the many reasons why the company decided on Sidel as its supplier for this new line, was the successful implementation of the aseptic Combi Predis by major names in the industry throughout the world. One such dairy project is in North America which, following trials, saw the aseptic Combi Predis receive approval from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This made it the world’s first aseptic PET filling equipment with dry preform sterilisation validated for low acid manufacturing and commercial distribution in the United States market.
Brand differentiation and marketing opportunities
By investing in the Sidel aseptic Combi Predis, the company took advantage of the integrated blow-fill-cap solution to leverage the practical and marketing benefits offered by PET. The squared shape of our bottle allows an optimal palletisation pattern, with more containers per pallets. The unique design of the PET bottles for the fresh and UHT milk also ensures that Centrale del Latte di Brescia and retailers’ brands stand out compared to other products on the shelves. The innovative bottle breaks the visual codes of the containers that consumers were accustomed to for UHT milk. The PET bottles and their branding are also a good marketing tool for the company when it promotes its PET packaging solution to other dairy brand producers and retailers.
Sensitive product safety enhanced by PET barrier bottles
Fundamental to ensuring the success of packaging the fresh and UHT milk in PET bottles are product safety and integrity, with no quality issues caused by microorganism growth or alterations caused by light, oxygen and temperature. “PET packaging solutions really offer dairy products the possibility to retain their fresh taste, vitamin content, texture and colour from production to storage, including shipment and distribution. The opaque barrier PET we use, combined with the dry preform decontamination process, offers great product safety. We do not need to use any aluminium lid as the tightness between injected bottle neck and cap is very reliable, and the consumers really appreciate this,” comments Guillaume Rolland, Sensitive Products Category Director at Sidel.
Compact footprint with production doubled
The small floor space was a particular challenge in the project. The plant of Centrale del Latte di Brescia, a historic building with a city centre location, offered minimal opportunities to enlarge the production hall to accommodate a new production line. An industrial configuration similar to that of the first aseptic line based on a standalone equipment approach could not fit within the limited available floor space. Consequently, the company had to implement a much more compact configuration, which justified the decision to turn to an integrated blow-fill-cap solution. The low-output aseptic Sidel Combi Predis specifically accommodates the need for an ultra-reduced footprint, making it ideally suited to the space constraints the dairy faced. It was also perfectly sized for Centrale del Latte's production needs of up to 16,000 bottles per hour.
Flexible and efficient production
The new line is used for a range of different milks, which includes a multitude of references under Centrale del Latte di Brescia’s own brand, along with those produced for private labels, in 330ml, 500ml and 1litre sizes. In terms of the major references, by applying the same design, regardless of the brand and bottle format, almost no changeover is required: just the product itself and the labels. The Sidel Rollquattro labeller offers flexibility to change wraparound labels, a key in bottle customisation. The line is also equipped with Sidel conveyors and a very compact accumulation table to fit with the reduced footprint available. Centrale del Latte is satisfied with the overall performance and reliability of the bottling line, reaching an efficiency greater than 95%, with an average of 92%.
Source: SidelAuthor: Sossna