PET bottles to differentiate edible oil for largest Indian producer

Complete line provides integrated packaging solution

Convinced by the potential that PET offered for its business, B L Agro Oils turned to Sidel to evaluate the most suitable packaging solution to bottle its edible oil. Mr Khandelwal said - "Sidel is a company with extensive experience in providing solutions for a whole range of different liquid products - including edible oils. We wanted to draw on that expertise and experience. We realised that a complete line featuring the Sidel Combi would be the best option, combining blow moulding, filling and capping in a single integrated system. It was explained to us that Combi systems cut operating costs by up to 12% and offer efficiency levels that are up to 4% higher than standalone machines."

One of the benefits of the Combi approach is that by eliminating conveying, empty bottle handling, accumulation and storage, it allowed the B L Agro Oils line layout to be optimised with a smaller footprint - an important consideration when engineering the complete line and final layout. The new line has been installed in a purpose-built facility on land purchased close to B L Agro Oils' existing production in Parsakhera, one of two refinery units operated by B L Agro Oils in Bareilly. The company was therefore able to ensure the new building was constructed to meet the exact requirements of the line, working closely with Sidel to achieve this.

The Sidel line operates at 400 bottles per minute or 24,000 bottles per hour, meaning a production speed up to 120% higher than B L Agro Oils' existing lines. It features a Combi, labeller, bottle & pack conveyor, case erector, case sealer, case packer and palletiser. Within a month of the installation being completed, a line efficiency of 90% was achieved. The line is currently running 200 ml, 500 ml and 1 litre formats for various products within the B L Agro Oils range, including its flagship brand, the Bail Kolhu Kacchhi Ghani mustard oil. This unique tasting and pungent oil is particularly popular among the large customer base of B L Agro Oils in Northern India.

New bottle designs with grip for larger formats

In addition to the smaller bottle formats already produced on its existing lines, B L Agro Oils also wants to move to PET bottles for its 2 litre and 5 litre formats and is currently working closely with Sidel to develop completely new bottle designs. These will be produced on a dedicated Sidel line and will be the premium product formats in the B L Agro Oils range.

Bl Agro oil spoonCreating effective packaging is about achieving a balance between consumer appeal and functional performance. As one of the main drivers in using PET is to differentiate its products in what is a very competitive market, B L Agro Oils is looking for creative and attractive packaging design in interesting shapes and format sizes that fits its customers' lifestyles. As a packaging material PET offers great freedom of shape and can help create a standout brand. It can be moulded into a range of formats, including extended family formats, as demonstrated by the new larger 2 litre and 5 litre options being developed by B L Agro Oils. The functional performance of the packaging also has to be addressed, particularly in larger formats to ensure they are easy to handle. To achieve this, the design flexibility that PET offers is being used to create bottles with a blown grip which provides the ease of handling.

Packaging performance is also ensured through greater accuracy in the distribution of the PET material during production of the bottles, with the elimination of inconsistencies resulting in improved quality. This is particularly important in the case of edible oils' packaging since the bottle shapes are often more complex and asymmetrical than those produced for the beverage market. As a transparent material, PET also allows the oils to be seen, another contributor to consumer appeal, with the labelling which B L Agro Oils is developing with Sidel also focusing on attracting consumers and building brand identity.

Sustainable production through PET savings of up to 20%

Another very important feature of PET packaging is the potential it offers for lightweighting. This is one of the prime reasons why producers of edible oils have been moving away from traditional packaging materials such as glass. By incorporating a Combi, the new complete line is not bound by the limitations imposed by air conveyors because of the neck-handling and positive transfer of bottles between blow moulding and filling, expanding the possibilities for bottle shapes and lightweighting. This has enabled B L Agro Oils to achieve significant weight savings on all of the bottle formats produced so far. The 200 ml bottles have been reduced by almost 17% (from 12 g to 10 g); the 500 ml bottles by more than 20% (from 18 g to 14 g); and the 1 litre bottles by 14% (from 28 g to 24 g). Through analysing how the PET packaging performs with the oils, an optimum solution is under development for the new 2 litre and 5 litre bottle formats which will also be lightweight without compromising on product quality and while still maintaining a great consumer experience.

Another benefit in choosing PET bottles is the contribution it makes to a more sustainable production process for B L Agro Oils. The company has a strong CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy and "Ensuring environmental sustainability through ecological conservation and regeneration of natural resources" is a stated commitment in this policy. Mr Khandelwal said - "We are always looking to find ways in which we can improve the sustainability of our processes and using PET as a packaging material is a major contributor to this. As a material which is 100% recyclable, PET has an important role to play in achieving a sustainable approach to our business."

Pradeep Hada, Regional Commercial Manager for Sidel, who worked very closely with B L Agro Oils, said - "With fewer machines, the Combi allowed B L Agro Oils to achieve very fast format changeovers and lower energy consumption, as well as providing savings in labour, raw materials and spare parts. It also provided the opportunity to lightweight the PET bottles."

The Sidel Group designs, manufactures, assembles, supplies and sells complete packaging lines for liquid foods packaged.