Sidel, the complete line solutions provider, has recently accomplished the installation of its Super Combi high-speed, flexible, and digitally empowered packaging line at the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC). NBC is part of Coca-Cola Hellenic, the Coca-Cola Company’s third largest bottling partner, which sells more than 2 billion unit cases each year to 600 million consumers in 29 countries. Nigeria is its most southerly market.
In June 2022, Sidel installed the Africa region’s first Sidel Super Combi line for carbonated soft drinks (CSD) at the NBC plant in the northern city of Challawa. Capable of bottling speeds of 65,000 bottles per hour, this high-speed combined line was the perfect solution for NBC to meet Nigeria’s booming CSD market.
Described by the Engineering Group Manager Theodoros Kappatos as ‘the ideal project’ in honour of its smooth performance, this is the fifth line that Sidel has installed, building on a relationship that had gone from strength to strength since 2017, when Sidel planned and executed a line in Abuja that has performed strongly for the bottling company ever since.
Carbonated soft drinks are very popular in Nigeria, with consumption higher than the regional average at 17 litres per head per year. Sales of low-calorie and low-sugar options are increasing as more Nigerians embrace healthy eating. CSD is one of the best-performing soft drinks segments, with a growth of 6.7 percent between 2019-2020. Premium brands dominate CSDs, led by Coca-Cola, with a 38.7 percent volume share.
The Super Combi solution
The Sidel Super Combi is an all-in-one solution comprising blowing, labelling, and filling. This technology is increasingly being chosen by large beverage companies such as Coca-Cola, which are continuing to invest in the latest high-speed, high-efficiency equipment and have confidence in Sidel’s quality, consistent worldwide standards, and continuing innovation.
Flexibility was a key consideration in NBC’s choice of equipment. The Challawa line needs to accommodate 20 different SKUs, with various brands, including Coca‑Cola, Coke Zero, Fanta, and Sprite, in PET bottle sizes of 600ml and 350ml, and quickly adapt to different caps and labels.
“We have built such a strong relationship with Sidel. Over the course of several projects that we have worked on together, Sidel has shown how they truly understand our business,” says Theodoros Kappatos, Engineering Group Manager, NBC. “With Sidel at our side, we know we can easily meet demand in this fast-growing market. The Challawa line is a great example of Sidel’s unique capabilities. Having been completed ahead of schedule, it underscores the fact that we selected the right partner for this development.”
The new Sidel complete line will allow the customer to save energy and resources. The Super Combi can blow bottles using the lowest possible blowing pressure, with water recycling at the transferring stage and a filtration system on the filler. Its Gebo OptiFeed closure feeding solution also has low energy and no air consumption. It delivers high-quality caps using features that enable smooth cap handling and automatically detect cap quality and colour. Sidel BlendFILL, which combines mixer and filler tanks in one single compact system, reduces CO2 consumption by up to 50 percent. The EvoFilm shrink wrapper offers energy savings down the line thanks to its new light-weighted tunnel belt and eco tunnel flaps.
Hygiene has been a key element for NBC, which is ensured by the Sidel solution.
At the beginning of the line, clean conditions are ensured by EasyFEED with its UV lamps, and a dedusting system for preforms is integrated into the blower. Having installed High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters on the roof, a tight enclosure keeps the filling environment safe, preventing any potential risk of contamination and increasing even further the already exceptional hygiene standards. The tank, filling valves, and piping, always in continuous contact with the product, are made with high food-grade stainless steel, S/S AISI 316L. Finally, automatic Cleaning In Place (CIP) is performed with automatic dummy bottles, allowing superior hygiene for all beverages.
Digitally advanced performance
NBC has chosen to use Sidel’s Evo-ON® software suite to ensure maximized line performance. An example of how digitalisation is accelerating in the African marketplace, the Evo-ON® system aggregates and analyses equipment data, offering real-time and proactive alerts, notifications, customisable dashboards, and reports.
EVO-ON is made of three powerful applications:
Evo-ON® Care, a smart app that analyses component data and monitors trends to minimise unplanned downtime and reduce operating costs. Built-in predictive capabilities enable NBC to anticipate the maintenance of specific parts at the most appropriate time. As a result, it can extend component service life by up to 30% and help improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by up to three percent.
Evo-ON® Eco monitors utilities and media consumption. It provides valuable inputs to reduce carbon footprint, suggesting prompt corrective actions on any unexpected consumption source. Using all these elements helps reduce emissions and costs and identify best energy usage practices and variations in consumption per shift, recipe, and SKU.
Evo-ON® Performance is focused on productivity and ensures production units meet their performance targets. Based on root cause analysis, it identifies any hidden opportunity to increase efficiency, giving recommendations to help users solve efficiency losses and optimise line performance. It also defines priorities according to the issues that most impact customer line performance, with machine problems automatically ranked by level of importance; as a result, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can be increased by up to 20 percent.
A partnership with a track record
The Sidel team drew on the experience it has gained from working in this large country with its challenging logistics during its recent installations for NBC in Benin City, Challawa, and Owerri. All installations have been validated with high line efficiency of between 98.2 percent and 99.7 percent on handover. Sidel has also provided engineers to help train and coach NBC’s operators after each line’s installation.
Together, Sidel and NBC are building a trusted partnership and the foundation for future projects in support of NBC’s continued success in Nigeria.