Industry 4.0 Solutions That Increase Production Proftability

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A tiny peninsular covered by desert dunes and surrounded by the waters of the Persian Gulf, where life continues under the shade of the ancient souks and futuristic skyscrapers. Qatar is a land of contrasts, where history and traditions live hand in hand with innovation. In Qatar everything is projected towards the future, above all the companies which, in preparation of growing market demand, continually invest in new technology and in cutting edge production installations. As the future is not always predictable the winning choice is that of concentrating on the customers’ current needs without losing sight of future objectives. One example of success of this development strategy is Al Etihad Refreshment, which, thanks to its collaboration with SMI, has installed a new water bottling and packaging line for the Doha Water brand. This installation, with a current production of 20,000 bottles/ hour, can easily be adapted to double the production without changing the line layout, or replacing the machinery that is currently used.

Ready to increase production! The idea of a line with expandable production
To create the new water bottling and packaging installation for the Doha brand, Al Ethiad Refreshment turned to the experience of SMI, who proposed a bespoke solution for the current production requirements but with a truly innovative aspect, the possibility to quickly and easily adapt to growing future market demands, without compromising their investment. The idea of an expandable production line was devised, a line that right from the start could face an increase in production of up to 40,000 bottles/hour without having to change any machinery in the installation, which is currently producing 20,000 bottles/hour, because they only need to add a new integrated ECOBLOC® ERGON system to double the installation output in very little time. The flexibility of the SMI equipment also gives the customer another option, he can decide if he wants to maintain his current production speed of 20,000bph and use the new integrated ECOBLOC® ERGON system to bottle another product or to run new bottle formats. Even in this case, no modifications to the line are necessary as the conveyors and automatic wrappers from the LSK and LWP range are so flexible that they will allow the simultaneous management of numerous products and/or formats.

Industry 4.0 solutions that increase production profitability
In the era of Industry 4.0 machines and installations need to be flexible, intelligent and interconnected. Men, machines and systems communicate constantly among themselves, creating networks of added values and automated production processes that guarantee the optimal use of the resources available.
More and more often, companies need to face rapid organisational and production changes to satisfy constant changing market demands, these can be, the type of product, packaging format, packaging material and so on. To be able to have the availability of more slender, flexible, versatile bottling plants is without a doubt, an important competitive advantage, which allows companies to maintain and gain market share, and to successfully face the most demanding challenges that come from fickle consumer habits.

A practical example of this reality can be seen by the “expandable” production line supplied and installed at the Al Ethiad Refreshment Factory.

Main advantages of SMI solutions:
• Compact and flexible solution for stretch-blow moulding, filling and capping PET bottles with mineral water.
• The use of innovative technical solutions that satisfy the installation’s present and future demands. The conveyors have been sized so that in a very short time, they are able to manage greater volumes of production without needing any further modification to the present layout.
• Changeover time reduced to minimum for a rapid switch from one batch to another.
• Modular and ergonomic structure that is easily adapted to various types of container and production flows.
• Precise and quick operation, thanks to the electronic operations system, to the motorised stretch rods and the use of high efficiency valves controlled by flowmeters.
• Reduced energy consumption: the stretch-blow moulding module has a dual air recovery system that allows the reduction of energy costs tied to the production of high pressure compressed air.
• High energy efficiency, thanks to the IR lamps fitted on the preform heater module.
• High operational flexibility, making it easy for promotional demands such as applying different colours to the bottles of Doha water.

Secondary packaging machines:
• Extremely flexible shrink wrapper, already geared to double the current production of 20,000 bph in the 0.2 L / 0.35 L / 0.5 L formats so that it can satisfy any future greater market demand;
• The packer is fitted with an optional device to work packs in twin lane, film only, offering the customer greater flexibility when packing the current 3×2 bundles of 1.5L bottles and the future 4×3 for 0.35 L and 0.5 L bottles, if there is an increase in production.
• All LSK ERGON models are equipped with a mechanical product grouping system. The version installed at the El Etihad Refreshment Factory has an automated regulation system for changing format to switch quickly and easily from one format to another.
• The LSK ERGON wrapper has reduced dimensions and represents the most suitable solution to satisfy the needs of customers who don’t have much available space.
• Excellent comparison quality/price despite having cutting edge technology and highly trustworthy components, the LSK ERGON series has highly competitive prices.
• The knife unit is compact and the blade is controlled by a brushless motor with “direct-drive” transmission, making the cutting operation much more precise and facilitating maintenance.
• Packaging process of the LWP 30 with wrap-around system equipped with a mechanical device which groups the product, with the advantage of forming the cardboard box around the transiting bottles without having to stop the machine.
• Ideal solution for a package that is resistant to impacts and protects the product during transport. Machine equipped with fixed guides at the outfeed which keep the sides of the box pressed together, this system guarantees that the box will keep its perfect long-lasting shape, compared to other pressing systems with rotating chains that are not able to maintain the same level of quality.

Automatic machines that adapt to consumers
One of the greatest challenges that is faced in the production of beverages, is that of finding the correct balance between production and flexibility. To reduce costs, a high level of efficiency is needed, together with the best specialised installations.

Knowing for certain that consumer demands will change over time, companies in the “food & beverages” sector need vast operation flexibility from their production lines so that they can modify production recipes, and bottle and packaging formats.
As flexibility has a cost and meeting new demands means down time on machinery, it is essential to choose machines that right from the start, are designed to reduce minimum down time and to be able to immediately adapt to the new production demands, improving the efficiency of all the plant.

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