Self-manufacture of PET bottles has grown in popularity with beverage producers. The ability to produce bottles, on demand, at the point of filling offers a myriad of advantages. Cost containment, reduced warehousing and transportation costs, improved inventory control and increased production flexibility are but a few of these advantages.
Agr International creates new division focused on assisting PET bottle self-manufacturers optimize their production operations
The Agr Process Performance Optimization Group offers technical assistance to maximize the productivity and efficiency of PET blowing and beverage production lines.
However, along with the advantages come some new challenges. Many companies that self-manufacturer struggle with PET bottle processing. This often involves determining the proper recipe for a given bottle, taking into consideration the local plant and regional environments or dealing with preforms from different sources or lineages. Sometimes it is just a challenge to produce bottles with consistent quality and performance that do not compromise downstream operations. And, let’s not forget about the scarcity of experienced blowmolder operators and processing personnel. These are just a small sample of some of the issues that self-manufactures face.
Overcoming blowmolding challenges
The Agr Process Performance and Optimization Group was established to provide self-manufacturers with a go-to resource to help overcome some of the everyday challenges in producing their own bottles. The approach of the Process Group is somewhat different than what is traditionally offered by the blowmolder manufacturers. The Agr Process group takes a holistic approach towards optimization that not only focuses on the blowmolder, but goes beyond to understand issues affecting the efficiency of the entire production line. Since Agr is not affiliated with any specific brand of blowmolder, the group can provide whole plant assistance in operations that have different blowmolder brands in the same facility.
Some of the offerings now available through this group include working directly with a plant’s process engineers and plant floor personnel to help manage challenging light weight applications, develop effective processing recipes and address process variation and quality issues as well as a myriad of downstream process improvement efforts that can lead to improved pack rate. The services of the group are offered under the following categories:
- Blowmolder management and optimization – individual assessment of individual blowing lines
- Effective use of basic quality tools for blowmolder management
- Optimizing Pilot Profiler® and Process Pilot® automated tools to manage blowmolder and production quality
- Production line auditing and optimization planning
- Job-specific services such as recipe design and startup assistance
According to Robert Cowden, Agr’s Chief Operating Officer, “our primary mission is to work with our customers to optimize production efficiency, both in terms of blowmolding and total line efficiency. Agr’s consulting professionals work directly with plant personnel to optimize blowmolding and container flow downstream in order to reduce manufacturing costs.”
Agr is not a novice when it comes to managing blowmolder performance. This Process Performance Optimization Group is an outgrowth of the Agr Process Pilot® automated blowmolder management program. With over 400 Process Pilot systems operating in the field, Agr system engineers have encountered many of the issues that traditionally plague PET bottle manufacturers, helping to identify a need for this kind of service. As part of the installation and commissioning of these Process Pilot systems, Agr engineers have been tasked to provide some of the very services that are now being offered through the Process Performance and Optimization Group. However, through this group, the services have been greatly expanded and are no longer limited to facilities only using Agr’s Process Pilot system.