In 2019, Master Kong beverage in China signed a two-year maintenance contract with Sidel for four of its aseptic complete polyethylene terephthalate (PET) lines producing ready-to-drink (RTC) teas in their plants in Langfang and Baotou. Sidel’s proactive maintenance and on-site support is said have contributed to Master Kong’s business during the peak season by better controlling maintenance costs while improving the lines’ efficiency by 6%.
The beginning of the partnership between Master Kong and Sidel dates back more than 15 years when the first of several packaging lines for water, carbonated soft drinks (CSD) and juices, nectars, soft drinks, isotonics & teas (JNSDIT) were installed by Sidel. After several years of operation of the aseptic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging lines, the ready-to-drink (RTD) tea producer in China were considering maintenance services. The objective was to keep the maintenance costs predictable for two lines running in the Baotou plant since 2012, and for two others in the Langfang plant since 2013.
Shift to a proactive maintenance pays off
Master Kong previously did reactive maintenance, purchasing spare parts only when needed, which generated unplanned downtime and costs. Christina Xu, services account director for Greater China at Sidel, pointed out that the new maintenance contract showed the advantages of shifting to a more proactive maintenance, addressing Master Kong’s requirement in maintenance to extend aseptic PET lines’ lifetime, running at 48,00 bottles per hour.
Wang Wei, head of product planning supply chain management – operation department, Master Kong, added: “Sidel has been a reliable partner, convincingly demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of aseptic PET packaging. Not least, it remains important to us to have them as our OEM [original equipment manufacturer], providing us with consistent equipment and services as well as advice on demand. The service contract definitely answers all our needs.”
Control costs and increase uptime
To define the appropriate maintenance service solution for the customer from the onset, the Sidel team compared Master Kong’s yearly average maintenance and spare parts storage expenses with the traditional expenses related to the effective operation of the aseptic lines. Therefore, the contract ensures better cost control providing a clearer view of maintenance expenses with specified fixed costs based on the number of running hours. Additionally, the spare part orders, stipulated in the contract, helped to optimise cash flow by reducing inventory costs for spare parts.
Sidel have been providing scheduling and execution of preventive and corrective maintenance. Their analysis and reports enabled Master Kong to accurately monitor the lines and maximise their uptime. The aseptic validation process, included in the contract and passed right after the maintenance, secured product safety Master Kong were aiming for.
Close and successful partnership with long-term ambitions
The first year of maintenance execution was accomplished by the end of 2019, and the collaboration between Sidel and Master Kong allowed to refill the spare parts stock and run the necessary diagnostics in less than two months, Xu reported.
The partnership during the maintenance process was organised in quarterly and monthly on-site meetings as well as regular follow-up. Furthermore, Sidel provided on-site technical coaching to optimise operations, and Wang concluded: “From a production point of view, we are really happy that Sidel’s local technicians were able to continuously train our employees on-site to optimise operations on our machines. Additionally, we could also rely on a key safety stock of 100% original Sidel spare parts, securing machine uptime and generating further savings.”
Last December, Master Kong signed another maintenance contract with Sidel for additional five aseptic PET packaging lines and four blowers in the Chengdu plant, and has planned to extend Sidel’s maintenance service across other plants.