The role of producers of bottling and packaging technology as SMI is particularly important for the success of companies operating in the food& beverage, household cleaning, personal hygiene, chemical and pharmaceutical sector. Success which can be achieved only through an optimal combination of competitiveness, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and environment-friendliness of the manufacturing process.
With the launch of the ERGON technology, SMI has kicked off a design and engineering revolution, which can be summarized through three new concepts: “new age of packaging”, “new age of bottling” and “new age of smart manufacturing”.
With the innovations applied to the ERGON systems SMI has shown its extraordinary capability of proposing advanced solutions inspired by the Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) principles, with improved efficiency, flexibility, eco-friendliness, ergonomics and with easier management and control.
The SMI Group's data as of 31.12.2018
The SMI Group is today one of the world’s largest manufacturers of bottling and packaging plants, able to meet production requirements up to 36.800 bottles/hour, devoted to the liquid food industry and standing out for low power consumption, high performances and a quality/price ratio among the best in the market.
The new EBS (Electronic Blowing System) ERGON series is the outcome of a 2-year intensive R&D project thanks to which SMI has introduced innovative concepts, summed up in the new ERGON brand, for both the design and production of SMI's rotary stretch-blow moulders. The first EBS ERGON was rolled out last October to SMI sales network on the occasion of the opening of the new showroom at SMI headquarters located in San Giovanni Bianco (Bergamo).
SMI stretch-blow moulders are available both stand-alone (EBS series) and integrated into complete stretch-blow moulding, filling and capping systems (ECOBLOC® ERGON series).
The EBS ERGON series of stand alone stretch-blow moulders includes:
- 7 “standard” models, from 4 to 16 cavities, capable of producing bottles from 0.10 to 3 litres, with a maximum output of 2,300 bph/cavity; (*)
- 3 “HC – High Capacity” models, from 3 to 6 cavities, specifically designed for the production of high-capacity containers (from 3.5 to 10 litres) with a maximum output of 1,200 bph/cavity;
(*) *depending on the machine model and the container type and size.
The EBS ERGON series of rotary stretch-blow moulders ensures high performances in the stretch blow-moulding of PET, PEN and PP bottles.
Thanks to high-tech components, minimized maintenance and operational costs and excellent quality/price ratio, the EBS ERGON series is the ideal solution for the production of plastic containers of different capacities, featuring various shapes, from the most simple to the most sophisticated ones.
The new EBS ERGON stretch-blow moulder offers a long list of advantages:
- compact, ergonomic and functional frame, capable to considerably simplify its running, cleaning and maintenance operations and to ensure significant space saving in the bottling line
- new preform heating module, characterized by compact dimensions, horizontal frame of the preform-holding mandrel chains (37 mm pitch for the production of bottles up to 3 L) and an optimized ventilation system. The new heating module is equipped with heat-reflecting, high energy efficiency panels made of composite materials positioned both on the front and to the rear of the he at lamps in charge of preforms heating. It ensures a high reflection of the heat generated by the lamps and its more uniform distribution on the preforms surface.
- blow-moulding module equipped with motorized stretching rods whose functioning is controlled by electronic drives with no need of mechanical cams. This new technology enables a precise descent of the stretching rod, an accurate control of its position, remarkable energy savings along with a reduced stress generated by the vibrations of mechanical components. Moreover, this new technology enables to adjust the stretch-blowing speed without mechanical interventions (cams replacement)
- high performance, low dead volume valves system which has reduced the pre-blowing and blowing times with the subsequent great advantage in terms of machine's efficiency and quality of the final bottles
- automation and control by Motornet System®, which ensures the constant keeping of optimal working parameters during the whole production cycle and directly adjusts the machine's settings, simplifying format changeovers
ECOBLOC® ERGON series of integrated systems of blowing-filling-capping.
Is the ideal solution for manufacturing, filling and capping PET, PEN and PP containers of many different sizes and shapes, from the simplest to the most complex and innovative. Combining stretch-blow moulding, filling and capping in one single machine offers major economic benefits:
- No need for a rinser, accumulation conveyors and conveyors between the blower and the filler;
- Virtual elimination of container contamination risks;
- Considerable reduction of line inefficiency causes.
The ECOBLOC® ERGON series of integrated systems of blowing-filling-capping includes:
- ECOBLOC® ERGON VMAG/EV – VMAS/EM models, ideal for manufacturing, filling and capping rigid containers up to 3 liters for still liquids;
- ECOBLOC® ERGON LG-VMAG models, ideal for manufacturing, filling and capping rigid containers up to 3 liters for sparkling liquids;
- ECOBLOC® ERGON “HC – High Capacity” models, ideal for manufacturing, filling and capping rigid high-capacity containers (up to 10 liters) for still liquids.
All models are equipped with an innovative bottle transfer system, minimizing the risks of product contamination and increasing the machine’s overall performance.
The ECOBLOC® ERGON series offers the end user countless economic benefits such as:
- modular and compact design, which combines in a single block the stretch-blow moulding, filling and capping modules, with no need for connecting belts between blow moulder and filler;
- low consumption of water and energy, thus allowing low running and maintenance costs and safeguarding the environment;
- excellent accessibility and easy maintenance operations, thanks to the “baseless” technology of the filling module; in fact, motors and motion transmissions are placed in the upper part of the machine in a fully dry leak-tight area and the area underneath the containers to be filled is completely clear, ensuring easy access to operators;
- automation and control system allowing the management of the system by only one line operator through a simple and user-friendly man-machine interface;
- high precision system, for the application of screw caps and pressure caps;
- cap hopper feeding placed outside the machine at a height easily accessible by the machine operator;
- electronic filling system: no contact between the bottle and the filling valve (in case of still products).
Producing PET bottles in a small space?
Now you can do it thanks to the compact EBS K stretch-blow moulder.
Starting from the countless technical innovations introduced on the ERGON EBS series stretch-blow moulders, SMI designers have developed a new series of extremely compact, rotary stretch-blow moulders called ERGON EBS K (the letter K of the name comes from the German word "Kompakt"). Capable of satisfying production demands of up to 9,200 bottles/hour, the new models are available in 2, 3 and 4-cavity versions, and offer all the advantages of rotary technology in a "speed" range traditionally controlled by linear stretch-blow moulders. In fact, due to advanced technological solutions, the ERGON EBS K range is capable of producing PET containers up to 3L in capacity, with output up to 2,300 bottles/hour per cavity for 0.5 L formats.
The new SMI compact stretch-blow moulder is a cutting-edge technical solution for the stretch-blow moulding of PET bottles and offers a long list of advantages that make it stand out in its market:
- The preform heating section (tunnel) is integrated with the stretch-blow moulding section (carousel) in a single, extremely compact module, that makes the system suitable to installation even on small bottling lines. This innovative preform heating module, integrated in the machine module with the stretch-blow moulder carousel features a horizontal preform feeder chain and an optimized ventilation and aeration system.
- The structure that contains the tunnel and the carousel is equipped with slightly rounded safety doors, providing more space inside the machine to perform cleaning and maintenance tasks easily and safely.
- The carousel of the stretch-blow moulder is equipped with motorized stretch rods controlled by electronic drives and do not require mechanical cams. This innovative solution ensures precise control of the stretch rod's path and position, as well as significant energy savings. It also makes it possible to change the stretching speed without mechanical intervention (switching cams) and greatly reduces the vibration stress on the blowing carousel compared to traditional solutions.
- The stretch-blow moulding system uses high-performance, low dead-volume valves that reduce pre-blowing and blowing times, thereby improving efficiency and the quality of the bottles produced.
- The mechanical assembly of the mould is equipped with its own motorization, which ensures the utmost precision for the up/down motion of the mould bottom and the opening/closing of the mould-holder unit. The integration of this innovative solution with the electronic stretch rod system, makes the SMI ERGON EBS K stretch-blow moulder a "cam-free" system, with considerable advantages in terms of greater kinematic accuracy, less maintenance, less vibration, less noise and increased system life.
- The machinery is managed by the Motornet System® for automation and control, which ensures constant maintenance of optimum processing parameters throughout the entire production cycle and the direct modification of machine settings, thereby simplifying format changeover operations.
The ECOBLOC® K ERGON systems offer all the advantages of the rotary technology, even for production requirements up to 9,200 bottles/hour usually served by linear stretch-blow moulders, and are devoted to bottling lines for still water and milk (EV models) and edible oil (EM models).
The benefits gained from the technological innovations applied to the ERGON EBS K stretch-blow moulders, are further enhanced when they are combined with a filling and capping module to form an integrated ECOBLOC® ERGON K system. The SMI integration of the three main wet area operations into a single block, makes it possible to achieve optimum performance at reduced costs for the production, filling and capping of rigid containers of up to 3 litres. This solution does not require connecting conveyors between the stretch-blow moulder and the filler, and in most cases, not even a rinser (the empty bottles are blown, filled and capped on the same machine without risk of contamination from the external environment).
ECOBLOC® ERGON K systems are available in various models for use on bottling lines of still water (EV models) and edible oil (EM), and have a filling technology that uses high-efficiency valves controlled by flow meters. The electronic control of operations provided by this solution, ensures a very precise and fast process. Even the prep times for the machine wash cycle have been reduced by integrating the use of dummy bottles into the valve. The ECOBLOC® ERGON K systems, filling and capping module, is a new design featuring a modular, seamless frame, equipped with access doors made of highly resistant and durable tempered glass. The transmission system of the filling module utilizes independent axes, made possible using brushless ICOS motors equipped with an integrated driver.
Additionally, the automation and control system, equipped with a very simple and intuitive human-machine interface, permits the entire block operation by a single line operator.
ECOBLOC® K , the most compact combi in the world, boasts:
- extremely compact modular design;
- overall dimensions reduced to a minimum;
- easier management and control of the production cycle with less maintenance;
- high technological content of the solutions inspired by Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT)
- substantial technological content of the technical solutions offered
- electronic machine with transmission systems that utilize brushless motors with an integrated digital servo-drive (driver)
- low operating and maintenance costs
- excellent quality/price ratio: the "combi" solution does not require the installation of a rinser or conveyor belts between the stretch-blow moulder and the filler and accumulation belts
- low energy consumption and complete environmental compatibility of the stretch-blow moulding, filling and capping processes.
- Advanced 3D CAD Department for the design and graphic processing of the bottles;
- accurate analysis of the customer’s requests;
- design of different containers, featuring various shapes, from the simplest to the most sophisticated;
- special laboratory for the production of moulds and mechanical components;
- moulds made of a special aluminium alloy;
- more than 15.000 moulds produced per year;
- a top-quality level of the moulds fabricated;
- company equipped with an FMS line consisting of 12 CNC machining centres: highly automated machines, running 7 days a week round the clock;
Preform and bottle check
- modern laboratory, equipped with sophisticated technologies for preform check;
- preform size test through a video-camera and special software comparing the dimensional parameters, measuring their thickness by infra-red rays and verifying the polymer homogeneity through polarized light equipment;
- testing of new materials or applications, especially multi-layer or hot filling preforms.
- Testing of the bottle design in order to certify and guarantee that the bottles meets pressure and volume expansion.
Bottling and packaging complete lines
SMI is specialized in the design, manufacturing and installation of complete lines for bottling and packaging flat and carbonated beverages and liquid products in PET containers from 0.10 to 10 L and with output capacity from 3,600 to 36,800 bottles/hour
SMI’s proposals ranges from complete economical and compact lines to complex and articulated solutions, with a wide range of intermediate products that can satisfy any present and future requirement in terms of production speed, product to be packaged, level of automation and environmental conditions.
An advanced automation and control system, equipped with sophisticated sensors distributed all along the bottling line, enables to achieve high machine yields in all of the steps of the manufacturing process; furthermore, highly-automated equipment allow optimising the employment of raw materials, work force and energy resources thus improving the environmental and social compatibility of the solutions proposed.
Bespoke solutions for every need
An accurate design of a complete bottling line, an appropriate sizing of machines and equipment and a smooth running of the whole system are essential factors enabling food & beverage sector companies to produce efficiently, to cut manufacturing costs and to achieve a good competitive edge on the markets they are focussing on.
SMI offers complete bottling and packaging lines equipped with cutting-edge technological solutions for energy saving and cost reduction.
SMI innovative technical solutions enable to dramatically cut the production costs of each bottle produced by the plant thanks to specific devices designed to save energy and streamline production cycles of every machine in the plant.
A “smart” bottling line is made up of two blocks of machines whose high integration enables to cut space requirement, costs and consumptions:
- the first block is composed of an ECOBLOC® ERGON gathering into a single unit the functions of stretch-blowing, filling and capping (also labelling upon request);
- the second block, called PACKBLOC and specific for the end-of-line packaging, is composed of an automatic machine for secondary packaging integrated with a two-Cartesian-axis automatic palletization system.
If compared to traditional bottling plants made up of more "stand-alone" machines linked together by long stretches of conveyour belts, the cost-saving compact lines enable to reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) thanks to:
- lower initial investment, since the two units allow to remarkably cut the length of the conveyor belts installed in the bottling and packaging plant;
- lower personnel costs, since the two block of machines can be run and controlled by a reduced number of operators (in particular cases one operator only might take care of the whole system);
- fewer interventions of machine maintenance and cleaning and lower consumption of spare parts, since the whole line is composed of just two multi-functional units;
- energy costs cutting, since only high-efficiency and low consumption motors are used.
SMI palletising systems set a new standard in the industry of two-Cartesian-axis fixed-column robotic palletizers.
APS series is the outcome of an intense activity of research and innovation, which allowed producing technologically advanced systems capable of providing each user with the fittest packaging solutions according to his specific needs.
SMI palletising systems enable to streamline the end-of-line operations of countless industrial sectors: beverages, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, detergents, glass, paper and many more.
SMI palletisers meet production needs from 35 to 90 packs/minute (according to the size of the product handled and to the palletisation scheme selected) and are available in many configurations, both in "stand-alone" version and integrated with a SMI packer to form a Packbloc system.
SMI's customers can take advantage of the countless benefits coming from information & computing technology by using Smipass, the new Internet-based service of after-sales technical support.
Smipass is a section of Smigroup's web site clustering in a dedicated area all of the on-line services for after-sales support, from where SMI customers, after logging-in, can also access anytime on real-time an ever-updated database of technical information relating to the machine they have purchased.
The range of services offered by SMI is constantly evolving and includes solutions meant to quickly and effectively respond to the requests of on-site and on-line technical assistance, of machine updating and of staff training; SMI service areas involved in their satisfaction are: Technical Support, Spare parts & Upgrades, Manuals and Training.
Thanks to an intense activity of Research & Development, SMI machines are constantly innovated and enhanced by adding new models and variants equipped with the latest technology; the latter enables the machine's end user to benefit from greater operating flexibility, lower production and maintenance costs and higher energy efficiency.
All customers who wish to improve the efficiency and streamline the performances of their machines can take advantage of a broad offer of upgrades, new applications and additional functions that SMI has created for packers, blowmoulders and palletizers. Upgrades are installed by specialized engineers of SMI's after-sales service, in order to ensure a perfectly done job and a quick restart of the machine.
All you have to do is to access “SmyUpgrades” section of Smipass reserved area and pick the type of upgrade package that better suits your production needs or the benefits you want to get (cost reduction, process automation, energy saving, efficiency boost, etc.). Through a reasonable investment each SMI's customers can easily and quickly adapt his bottling and packaging plants to new market trends and upgrade them to the latest technologies.
The SMI Group operates outside Italy through a widespread network of branches and representative offices.