Sidel, part of Tetra Laval group along with Tetra Pak, said its updated line of Combi filling machines can package all types of beverages at all rates up to what it says is a record 61,200 bottles an hour. Sidel said it has expanded the range to meet manufacturer demands for high-speed equipment and for smaller size bottles, especially for water. The Combi machines incorporate blow molding, filling and capping operations for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. "This new generation of high-speed Combi equipment is the culmination of synergies in blow molding and filling developed at Sidel and is highly effective at keeping operating costs down," the company claimed. The new range features the Combi 26 and 30, models designed specifically for the multiserve segment, defined by bottles containing over 0.7 liters of liquid. The machines can produce bottles as large as two liters at rates of up to 51,000 bottles per hour. A flexible design makes format changeovers easier, Sidel claimed. The company's new Combi 24xs and 34xs are designed produce small bottles, from 0.2 to 0.7 liters, for the booming single-serve package sector, popular with today's on-the-go consumer. Sidel said a Combi 34xs was recently installed at an American customer's plant and is turning out filled and capped water bottles at speeds of 61,200 units per hour, or 17 bottles per second. "This machine, the world's fastest Combi, is a brilliant fusion of technological expertise," the company claimed. "Such high speeds demand perfectly synchronized blow molding, filling and capping, totally reliable mechanical components, and flawless preform and cap feeding." The Combi line requires no intermediate conveying or accumulation equipment, making it up to 4 per cent more efficient than traditional lines, the company claimed. The Combi does not use air conveying, so format changeovers are made easier, Sidel said. "Without air conveying, the Combi is ideally suited to lightweight bottle production, which significantly lowers costs for purchasing raw materials," Sidel stated. To date, Sidel has installed about 200 of the previous Combi models worldwide. The equipment serves three main market segments -- water, sensitive products such as juices and dairy products, and carbonated drinks.