FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF THE FASTEST-EVER SIDEL PET COMBI LINE FOR 4 LITRE WATER BOTTLES SUPPLIED TO NONGFU SPRING IN 2014, THE MAJOR CHINESE BOTTLED WATER PRODUCER HAS INVESTED IN A SECOND SIDEL BOTTLING LINE TO EXTEND ITS PRODUCTION CAPACITY EVEN FURTHER.
Nongfu Spring water is one of the leading brands for natural mineral water in China. Drawn from natural water springs in various parts of China, Nongfu Spring's bottled water is today one of the most well known on the domestic market, commanding a 22% market share in China's competitive bottled water segment in 2013. In addition to the regular 380ml, 550ml and 1.5 litre PET bottle formats, the company's bottled water is also available in a 4 litre family size, which, until recently, was only available in HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). This was the starting point for Nongfu Spring's challenge to align the production of its bottles across the range by switching from HDPE to PET for its largest bottle size. The company turned to Sidel, the leading provider of production equipment and services for liquids in PET, to provide the optimum packaging solution through the introduction of a new Combi line. Early in 2014 Sidel supplied the fastest-ever Combi water line for the 4 litre PET bottle to Nongfu Spring running at 14,000 bottles per hour (bph).
An attractive and cost-effective 4 litre PET bottle
When Nongfu Spring decided to switch from HDPE to PET for its 4 litre bottles, the company was looking to create a bottle to stand out on the supermarket shelf. Nongfu Spring also wanted to achieve a more cost effective and sustainable production process for the family bottle format. The inherent properties of HDPE result in certain constraints in bottle design, lowering bottle appeal and perceived value for consumers. The PET bottle is fully transparent and light, requiring less material to produce and creating less waste compared to a HDPE bottle which lacks clarity and needs more material to manufacture. The PET bottling line also offers lower total cost of ownership through its capacity for higher production output than a HDPE line.