Invest in quality from the very beginning. John Palermo, former Vice President Operations at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England – CCNNE for short – is once again able to confirm this. As Vice President Operations he was jointly responsible for the company’s investment in the InnoPET ­Blomax Series IV. Palermo and Rick Neal, manager of the CCNNE production plant in London­derry, New Hampshire, knew one thing from many years of experience with KHS bottling lines: the outstanding technical systems work particularly efficiently and over many years. Regular qualification measures for the operators in production also contribute to this fact. 

Neal and Palermo thus dispatched a team of seven employees, who would be responsible in the future for the machine, to KHS Corpoplast in Hamburg, the center for PET expertise, for preliminary training. “Back in Londonderry, they could hardly wait for their machine to arrive,“ reports Palermo. “And once it was there, they helped the KHS technicians with installation and commissioning in a highly motivated manner. You could really sense the pleasure in the new technology.“

The decision-makers at CCNNE must surely take just as much pleasure in the performance of the machine. Very quickly after commissioning, it impressed with its clear advantages in everyday bottling practice. And, in doing so, it fulfills all the expectations which resulted in advance of the investment from CCNNE’s visits to companies who were already producing successfully with this innovative KHS technology. 

The InnoPET Blomax Series IV at CCNNE …

… is highly flexible.

Key features: 28 blow molding stations; up to 2,250 PET bottles per hour; bottle sizes from 0.2 to 2.0 liters. At CCNNE, it produces 12, 16, 20-oz and 0.5-liter bottles (covers 60% of PET bottles). The bottler obtains the remaining formats from the converter; all options are open.

... saves space, energy and compressed air:

Near infrared cuts the heat-up time and space requirements by up to 50 percent. Russ ­Brunner, Plant Engineer at CCNNE says, “Compared with traditional heating technology, we save up to 40% energy – and up to 15% compressed air consumption depending on the bottle size.“

InnoPET Blomax Series IV at CCNNE: 28 blow molding stations each of which produce 2,250 bottles per hour.
InnoPET Blomax Series IV at CCNNE: 28 blow molding stations each of which produce 2,250 bottles per hour.

… increases production:

Instead of 1,800 previously (InnoPET Blomax Series III), one station can now produce up to 2,250 PET bottles per hour; a maximum total of 63,000 bottles.

… optimizes bottle quality:

The use of the latest servo technology enables, among others, excellent bottle quality.

... enables fast changeover:

When changing over to new bottle types, using servo technology ensures precision stretching and there is no need to replace or mechanically adjust the stretch bar; new settings are communicated to the system exclusively from a monitor; time-saving thanks to Speed-Loc quick-change system; the time necessary from machine restart to release of the preform, which was previously two minutes, is now just 15 seconds. “Short changeover times are extremely important to us,“ praises Neal.

CCNNE’s pleasure in the InnoPET Blomax Series IV is therefore unbroken – even after the machine was commissioned. “This generation of stretch blow molders has completely convinced us in every respect and made the advantages of in-line bottle manufacture clear,“ is Rick Neal’s thoroughly positive final evaluation. “If we expand our activities in the future, I can certainly see us investing in another InnoPET Blomax Series IV. We have realized a return on investment with this machine in only three years – an outstanding result.“

Considering that both our financial statement as well as the environment have benefited. The necessity of transporting around 1,800 truckloads of PET bottles to the Londonderry plant per year has been eliminated. However, there is one fly in the ointment for CCNNE with the otherwise all-round harmonious investment: “There is just one point of criticism,“ adds Plant Manager Neal in conclusion, “and that was our own fault. We should have decided on the InnoPET ­Blomax Series IV much earlier!“

“The quality aspect is more important than any other!”

Does CCNNE’s investment in the InnoPET Blomax Series IV mean just a new machine?

No, it represents a process of rethinking in the entire sector. In the past, the beverage industry in the USA obtained most of its PET bottles from converters. However, the future lies in PET bottle production on site – and the procurement of preforms from converters such as Southeastern Container.

Is KHS technology driving the pace of change in the sector?

I would go so far as to say that more and more beverage companies in the USA are going over to producing PET bottles inline because of the InnoPET Blomax Series IV. A better return on investment is hard to imagine. The new machine saves materials, energy and costs, is easy to handle, and extremely flexible.

How do you assess the bottle quality?

The motto ’The quality aspect is more important than any other’ applies to all companies in Kirin Holdings. Naturally, this also applies to the bottle quality – and this is made possible by the modern servo technology used in the Inno­PET Blomax Series IV. CCNNE has already won the Coca-Cola President’s Award eight times. We are thus at the top of the list of the 60 bottlers in the United States.

The investments were then worthwhile!

I can only advise any company to invest in the best technology and thorough training. Along with the blending equipment, the two KHS filling systems have been working perfectly in three-shift operation and to our utmost satisfaction from 1989 to the present day. As have the KHS Promix systems CCNNE ordered nearly 10 years ago. And anyone visiting the plant today and seeing the modern KHS stretch blow molder will sense the pride of the operators in this gem of a machine. That really is the joy of technology! 

Your contact on this topic

Georg Zuzok
KHS GmbH, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Phone: +49 671 852 2202

Jon Elward

Phone: +1 404 2815552