Marketing requirements and cost aspects lead to a multitude of new bottle formats which have to be integrated into existing lines. The intervals available for these further adaptations of filling lines thus grow ever shorter. Last year KHS seized the opportunity to provide effective support to its customers by optimizing its own processes and, as a result, impressively speeding these up.

The chief benefit of the shortened delivery time for conversion kits, now down to eight weeks maximum, is that new containers, packs. and packaging can reach the market faster. “For the customer new launches can thus be smoothly implemented, so to speak,” smiles Armin Wille, product manager of Conversions, on the new option of being able to fast track extremely urgent projects. “The earlier we start to deve­lop projects together with our customers, the better we can influence the design of their containers,” he explains. “In doing so we can not only ensure that these exactly meet requirements but also that the new product runs perfectly and efficiently on the lines.”

KHS assembly and design engineers plan and discuss customized modifications.
KHS assembly and design engineers plan and discuss customized modifications.

Integrated packaging systems

Incidentally, this greater speed is not the only advantage, as Frank Haesendonckx adds, head of Sales and Technology at KHS Corpoplast in Hamburg, where accelerated order processing for PET on the line is part of the Bottles & Shapes™program. “For us it’s all about integrated, holistic packaging systems. Here in Hamburg we pool our entire expertise from all sections of KHS. This enables us to provide first-class advice and support across all topics and machines which take into account all partial aspects of a project, such as container design, production, filling, labeling, and packaging. This is not only true of new machines but also especially on existing lines which are retrofitted and upgraded with conversions.” Part of this change process is the standardization of procurement processes, for example, or predictive warehousing and thus faster availability of parts. Dedicated resources have been provided for this purpose and warehouse and logistics processes further optimized.

The project has therefore been annexed to Bottles & Shapes™, which to date was primarily a consultancy service for the design and realization of containers, as this name has been synonymous with PET expertise and firmly established on the market for over 15 years. “The starting point and link in the relationship to our customers is the packaging,” explains Haesendonckx. “For the beverage and food producer the container is a marketing vehicle; for us it’s the key element in the system. We thus create a bond of trust which runs throughout the entire line. We always allow ourselves to be guided by two core elements in our work: an attractive design for the consumer and optimum overall efficiency on the filling line.”

Faster processing of format conversions

  • Smooth launch of new products
  • Reliability of production for customers
  • Integrated capacity planning from order entry to commissioning

Full overview

“Take lightweighting, for example. As an individual measure it’s not always the right solution,” specifies Matthias Jansen, head of Conversion Management and Format Parts Design Engineering. “KHS is a line supplier. We thus always have to balance the conflicting priorities of attractive design, low weight and high line efficiency when developing new bottles. With our expertise and our technology systems can be realized which until very recently were impossible.” The lightest bottle is of no use to the customer, he explains, if pallets are later unstable or the output capacity drops. It’s thus important to see the big picture and include all sub-functions in the project from the beginning. Jansen adds, “We’ve put together a team of experts for PET line conversions from all sites, where colleagues from Design Engineering, Production, Offer and Order Processing, and Logistics all sit around one table and swap their special knowledge with all those involved well in advance.” This ensures an optimum quality of design and engineering – right from the start.

Fitting a gripper cylinder for a KHS labeler – new formats for tried-and-tested technology.
Fitting a gripper cylinder for a KHS labeler – new formats for tried-and-tested technology.

Convincing results

Successfully so. in a very short time indeed several big customer projects have already been convincingly implemented, for example in Asia and Russia. Here, the positive effects of the undertaking were especially noticeable as similar formats at different production sites could be adapted at the same time. In this context Armin Wille emphasizes the basic requirement for faster processing. “On order entry the technical details, including the scheduling of line audits and installations, have already been fully coordinated. No further clarification is thus necessary at a later stage which in our experience can cause additional effort, extra cost, and delays in scheduling.” This service is now successfully established on the market – and it’s not only the global players but also local bottling plants which KHS is helping onto the proverbial fast track.

Your contact on this topic

Armin Wille
Conversions product manager
KHS GmbH, Dortmund, Germany

Phone: +49 231 569 10284

Matthias Jansen
Head of Conversion Management and Format Parts Design Engineering
KHS GmbH, Dortmund, Germany

Phone: +49 231 569 10231