Intensive optimization process
The expert team’s first task was to develop new components for Badoit’s packaging machines. The packaging specialists in Kleve subjected all system parts to thorough testing. After several optimization loops the improved components were integrated into the latest generation of the KHS shrink packer. “We then performed a series of further tests to make sure that our new developments satisfy Badoit’s high demands,” says Stuhlmann. Finally, the system passed its factory acceptance test and was shipped to Saint-Galmier.
Here, the KHS team replaced the old KHS Kisters shrink packer from 1986 with the optimized packaging machine. Following successful initial commissioning in December 2017 the packaging experts then focused on optimizing the system and its processes under real production conditions. “At first we weren’t able to fully achieve the required packaging quality with the combination of shrink film and machine used,” admits Stuhlmann. The specialists therefore spent the following months working on the various machine components, further developing, constructing, installing and testing them time and again.
Significant development for the entire Danone Waters Group
One major further development on the new generation of machines was to distribute the hot air supply more accurately on both lanes. The optimum alignment of the hot air flow on both sides of the multipacks loosely wrapped in film also had top priority for KHS. “Both are crucial for crease-free pack quality as the optimum processing window for the partly inverse effects was extremely limited,” Stuhlmann explains. The Dortmund company solved this problem with the help of a number of further developments, one being the specially designed central tunnel nozzle which will also be available to other projects in the future. The special air nozzles with their optimized perforated nozzle plates also help to create crease-free packs.
Furthermore, the KHS Kisters shrink packer sets a new benchmark when it comes to efficiency and saving on resources. One plus is that it can now process films of a much lower thickness. The machine also uses an optimum width of film per pack thanks to film web control. Badoit and its operators in particular also benefit from fully automatic film web control which is not only easy to handle but also ensures consistently high packaging quality. “With this new technical feature we were able to achieve the goal set by the customer, namely of providing optimum packaging quality while using the lowest possible amount of material,” smiles Stuhlmann. The team of experts also managed to boost the packer’s performance. On the further developed shrink packer up to 37,000 bottles per hour can be formed into packs of six on two lanes at the existing line speed.
The final acceptance test at the beginning of 2019 was performed to the full satisfaction of all involved. "KHS has met our requirements in every respect. The packaging quality has considerably improved compared to what it was,” praises Marie. Creasing and distorted print are now no longer a problem for the premium brand. “Thanks to the improved quality we’ve been able to double the size of the lettering on the packaging,” Marie relates. “This is a great advantage as regards product presentation. Our brand is now more visible to our customers than ever before.” The management of Danone Waters is also convinced by the final result. The French parent company considers the project to be an excellence reference for the entire company group.