Niagara Bottling takes control of light weighting to reduce costs: Gallery

By Nicole Zaro Stahl in Automation on August 14, 2014

Take an inside look at how this bottler that blow molds billions of bottles a year uses automated monitoring to tighten tolerances to take control of its packaging costs and meet sustainability goals.

In its role as the leading provider of private-label bottled water in North America, Southern California’s Niagara Bottling, LLC, is engaged in an ongoing lightweighting effort. Previous lightweighting initiatives produced the company’s flagship 500mL PET water bottle, and now Niagara is forging ahead in the quest for additional weight reduction to sharpen its competitive edge.

Recently, corporate R&D and manufacturing teams joined forces to investigate the latest technologies to advance the lightweighting process. Their collaboration spawned a new approach to bottle-making, a “paradigm shift,” in the words of Niagara’s Sid Khanna, manager, manufacturing solutions. The shift emphasizes bottle consistency to assure robust downstream operations and maximize production efficiencies throughout the plant.

One of the key elements supporting Niagara’s new strategy was the deployment of AGR International’s Process Pilot Automated Blowmolder Control System. The results of the first system start-up indicate that the Process Pilot’s blow molder management capabilities have proven instrumental in generating a 10% to 15% improvement in bottle consistency.

“Lighter bottles demand more precise operations, especially in handling,” Khanna notes. “Our research and manufacturing teams huddled and looked for new ideas to overcome line issues. Through trial and error with our new bottle designs, we learned that AGR’s process monitoring is the best tool available today that is compatible with all leading blow molding equipment to assure we make the most consistent bottles we can for our downstream process.” 

That success led the company to install  20+ more of the systems.

Photos above show the operations at Niagara Bottling. For the complete story, see Niagara Bottling roars past lightweighting obstacles

 

Note: All photos courtesy of AGR International

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