Coke 'airmails' bottles at 1,000 bpm (sidebar)

JIT comes to Brazil

Just as the Coca-Cola bottling plant at Jundiai doesn't inventory empty labeled bottles, the Engepack blow-molding plant tries to keep its inventories at a minimum. Its policy is not to stockpile more than one day's worth of preforms that are made and supplied by one of the other Engepack plants. In the Engepack plant, each of two Model B177 molders from Krupp Corpoplast can produce at a rate of 300 bpm, or a total of 36ꯠ bottles/hr in the 600-mL size. The AirTrans air conveyors from Aidlin Automation transport the bottles through one of two B&H Model 2000 labelers and then onto the bridge conveyor leading to the filling plant. Each of the labelers has a capacity nearly equal to the output of both blow molders: slightly more than 30ꯠ bottles/hr. This additional labeling capacity helps speed label changeover, since one labeler can handle most of bottle production while the other is undergoing the conversion from one label web to another. It also provides some insurance labeling capability in the event of an emergency. It's that insurance and the equipment reliability that allows Engepack to minimize its own inventory. It works hard to hold a packaging inventory of just two to three hours.

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