Advanced filling in a water world

based on an article by Tommaso Tegoni, Product Manager Filling, Sidel

The beverage industry has expanded rapidly over recent years, and bottled water represents the fastest-growing category driving PET growth – driven particularly by countries such as China, India and Turkey.

To meet the rising demand, packaging solutions provider Sidel introduced Evofill PET at the start of this year, a compact new filling machine technology for water and still beverages. The new design is claimed to offer enhanced hygiene and quality while also reducing water and chemical consumption.

Sidel designed the first PET filler in 1987. The evolution in filling design has been influenced by a range of factors. Starting with the end consumer, packaging choices are mainly influenced by lifestyle preferences, sustainability claims and budget constraints. Health and price remain key considerations for bottled water. “However, customers often have also other considerations unique to the individual markets that they operate in, such as local legislation, for example,” stated Tommaso Tegoni. “Packaging expertise and extensive knowledge of customers’ industries have led Sidel to develop the Evofill PET system, which provides enhanced water quality in a reduced footprint and is changing the way that manufacturers utilise filling machines”, he added.  

Enhanced optimisation & design

As optimum hygiene is extremely important for all customers, the Evofill PET has been designed to be easier to operate, maintain and clean. To achieve this, Sidel has created a simplified configuration with fewer transfer star wheels and a more compact front table and process unit. In addition, the company has simplified the format changeover in both manual and automatic mode, which can be completed in less than five minutes. The filler can be integrated within Sidel’s Combi and Super Combi complete systems and can also be fully embedded into Sidel’s Evo-On digital intelligence platform to monitor and improve all aspects of the filling parameters and performance. 

Ease of use

Tommaso explained that the ergonomic design of the new development ensures a consistent and repeatable performance that can be used by operators of all skill levels. The reduced filler enclosure is a controlled environment that keeps the water safe during production. The flowmeter contactless filling is claimed to ensure product safety and quality, while preserving bottle integrity with gentle neck handling.

Starting at 24 and ranging up to 144 filling valves, with various pitch and filler diameter sizes, Evofill PET can handle bottle sizes from 0.1 to 10 l. The space-saving filler can handle high production speeds of up to 90,000 bph with a footprint that is 15 per cent smaller compared to previous generations.

Reduction in water and chemical consumption

“There is no doubt that improved sustainability and reducing resource consumption is a huge priority now, both for consumers and governments, with new legislation and directives coming into force around the world. Evofill PET’s integrated CIP system reduces energy by around 25 per cent, while also cutting both water and chemical consumption by 12 per cent for external cleaning. Additionally, its compact size means fewer components and less maintenance operation,” Tommaso proudly announced. 

Striving for a lower total cost of ownership

Tommaso summarised: “While bottle designs and filling technologies have evolved over time, goals for packaging solutions has remained constant: to benefit from the lowest possible total cost of ownership (TCO). Evofill PET has been designed to enhance productivity on PET water bottling lines. The improved accessibility enables faster format changeovers and cleaning operations, reducing downtime. Combined with lower operational costs, it all adds up to a lower TCO. Evofill PET is robustly built for an extended lifespan, enabling customers to count on its reliable operation – with efficiency rates of up to 99 per cent – for years to come.”