The company said that its new bottling line, FlexLine, is designed to package still water in the ultralight PET NoBottle, which has 20-40 per cent less material than standard bottles. The line can blow mold, fill, cap, label, pack and palletize the 500ml bottle, weighing less than 10g, at a rate of 40,000 bottles per hour, according to Sidel. Sidel's communications vice president Bertrand Guillet told FoodProductionDaily.com that all steps in the production process were tested and enhanced to guarantee reliable production of lightweight bottles at a lower cost. "The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is 16 per cent less than the TCO for a traditional line producing 500ml bottles weighing 16g. At the start of the line, for example, we have fine tuned a Combi system so that it avoids using air and mechanical conveyors between the blowing, filling and capping functions," said Guillet. Energy and waste savingsEnergy conversion is also a key element of the Combi's blow molding section, with a 32 per cent reduction in electric power usage and a recycling system that reuses 40 per cent of the air, said Sidel. "Bottlers get a more economical solution with savings coming from PET bottle material reduction and the energy and waste optimization offered by the bottling line. This sustainability achievement can be communicated to end users," added Guillet. Reduction in packaging The design of the equipment, according to Sidel, was informed by a beverage market trend towards lighter bottles as well as increasing demands from retailers for a reduction in the secondary packaging such as the film around bottle packs and the pads between pallet layers. The company said that it developed the robotic palletizing element of the line to enable these less robust types of packs to be fed and positioned onto pallet layers by means of robotic grips so that the risk of wobble or damage occurring is lowered. The palletizing system, which can be used for packs of PET bottles, glass bottles or cans, allows for robots to be added or moved and can be adapted to complex pallet patterns and different speed requirements, according to Sidel. "In a climate where PET bottles are under attack, our solution brings clear sustainability advantage and also demonstrates the willingness of the industry to improve," added Guillet. Sidel, which is a division of Tetra Laval, is a major global supplier of packaging and processing technology for beverage manufacturers.