Coca-Cola NBC in Nigeria turns to Sidel for ‘the ideal project’

Sidel, the complete line solutions provider, has recently accomplished the installation of its Super Combi high-speed, flexible and digitally empowered packaging line at the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC). NBC is part of Coca-Cola Hellenic, the Coca-Cola Company’s third largest bottling partner, which sells more than 2 billion unit cases each year to 600 million consumers in 29 countries. Nigeria is its most southerly market.

In June 2022 Sidel installed the Africa region’s first Sidel Super Combi line for carbonated soft drinks (CSD) at the NBC plant in the northern city of Challawa. Capable of bottling speeds of 65,000 bph, this high-speed combined line was the perfect solution for NBC to meet Nigeria’s booming CSD market. Described by the Engineering Group Manager Theodoros Kappatos ‘the ideal project’ in honour of its smooth performance, this is the fifth line that Sidel has installed, building on a relationship that has gone from strength to strength since 2017, when Sidel planned and executed a line in Abuja that has performed strongly for the bottling company ever since. Carbonated soft drinks are very popular in Nigeria, with consumption higher than the regional average at 17 litres per head per year. Sales of low-calorie and low-sugar options are increasing as more Nigerians embrace healthy eating. CSD is one of the best-performing soft drinks segments, with growth of 6.7% between 2019-2020. Premium brands dominate CSDs, led by Coca-Cola with a 38.7% volume share.

The Super Combi solution

The Sidel Super Combi is an all-in-one solution comprising blowing, labelling and filling. This technology is increasingly being chosen by the large beverage companies such as Coca-Cola, that are continuing to invest in the latest high-speed, high-efficiency equipment and have confidence in Sidel’s quality, consistent standards and continuing developments. Flexibility was a key consideration in NBC’s choice of equipment. The Challawa line needs to accommodate 20 different SKUs, with a variety of brands including Coca‑Cola, Coke Zero, Fanta and Sprite in PET bottles sizes of 600ml and 350ml, and quickly adapt to different caps and labels.

“We have built such a strong relationship with Sidel. Over the course of several projects that we have worked on together, Sidel has shown how they truly understand our business,” says Theodoros Kappatos, Engineering Group Manager, NBC. “With Sidel at our side, we know we can easily meet demand in this fast-growing market. The Challawa line is a great example of Sidel’s unique capabilities. Having been completed ahead of schedule it underscores the fact that we selected the right partner for this development.”

Enhanced sustainability

The new Sidel complete line will allow the customer to save energy and resources. The Super Combi can blow bottles using the lowest possible blowing pressure, with water recycling at the transferring stage and a filtration system on the filler. Its Gebo OptiFeed closure feeding solution also has low energy and no air consumption, delivering high quality caps using features that enable smooth cap handling, and that automatically detect cap quality and colour. Sidel BlendFILL, which combines mixer and filler tanks in one single compact system, reduces CO2 consumption by up to 50%. Down the line, the EvoFilm shrinkwrapper offers energy savings thanks to its new light-weighted tunnel belt and eco tunnel flaps.

Superior hygiene

Hygiene has been a key element for NBC, which is ensured by the Sidel solution. At the beginning of the line, clean conditions are ensured by EasyFEED with its UV lamps, and a dedusting system for preforms is integrated into the blower. Having installed High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on the roof, a tight enclosure keeps the filling environment safe, preventing any potential risk of contamination and increasing even further the already exceptional standards of hygiene. The tank, filling valves and piping, which are always in continuous contact with product, are made with high food grade stainless steel, S/S AISI 316L. Finally, automatic Cleaning In Place (CIP) is performed with automatic dummy bottles, allowing superior hygiene for all kind of beverages.

Digitally advanced performance

To ensure maximised line performance, NBC has chosen to use Sidel’s Evo-ON software suite. An example of how digitalisation is accelerating in the African marketplace, the Evo-ON system aggregates and analyses equipment data, offering real-time and pro-active alerts, notifications, customisable dashboards and reports. Together, Sidel and NBC are building a trusted partnership and the foundation for future projects in support of NBC’s continued success in Nigeria.

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