Founded in 1977, the Mont Roucous company was sold to Danone in 2000; in 2007, it became an independent company again. From its early days, Mont Roucous has positioned its water as ideal for mothers and babies, and it has long been recommended by maternity clinics. With its very low mineral content, the water is perfect for the digestive systems of newborns and infants, who do not yet have mature kidneys. To respond to parents’ needs for greater practicality, Mont Roucous has switched from the 1.5-litre to the one-litre format. To handle this increase in production of one-litre bottles, Mont Roucous collaborated with Sidel, for a complete bottling line with an output rate of 40,000 bottles per hour. After the installation of this new line in October 2021, the 100-million bottle milestone was reached in late May 2022.
A trusted partner for a major project
Since its repurchase in 2007, Mont Roucous, a family-run business in the heart of the Lacaune Mountains at 1000m in altitude, has tripled its production of water in PET bottles. In the past three years, production of the 1.5-litre format has been gradually abandoned in favour of the one-litre format to meet mothers’ needs for greater practicality. This new ambition led to a site renovation project with the aim of increasing production capacity and giving Mont Roucous the opportunity to promote local job creation more than ever. After 18 months of work, the plant has been expanded to welcome a new bottling line and a new logistics platform with 15 loading docks.
To implement this major project, Mont Roucous was looking for partners that could handle projects in their entirety. For the bottling line, Sidel was approached owing to its longstanding relationship with Mont Roucous since the late 90s during the passage from PVC to PET bottles, its experience in blowing and its ability to manage turn-key projects.
“In light of the expertise needed to complete such a project in a relatively short time, we went with Sidel’s skills and expertise, so that we would have a single point of contact that could manage the project from A to Z. And Sidel did not let us down. In collaboration with our teams, Sidel took charge of the project in full, from the design and engineering of the complete line to the manufacture and installation of the equipment. And of course, they did this in compliance with our specifications and our specific expectations,” explained Denis Bernard, managing director–partner at Sidel.
Nicolas Sadot, account manager of Sidel in France, said: “Even though this project was prepared right in the middle of the lockdown, the collaboration between Mont Roucous and Sidel was efficient. Meetings were held quite regularly by video conference, helping us to understand the needs and issues and to define the technical solution.”
The Sidel complete solution
Since late November 2021, the Sidel line has been producing 40,000 bottles per hour. The bottling line includes the latest generation of Sidel equipment, from the Combi EvoBLOW SF100FM to the EvoFlex palletiser, not to mention the EvoDECO Roll-Fed labeler and the EvoFilm film wrapper.
“The optimized layout for the line perfectly takes into account the constraints of the new building. Its ergonomic design and the properly sized accumulation, in accordance with our specifications and with the recommended standards, facilitate line management and offer optimal conditions for servicing, if necessary. The number of operators is in line with our initial expectations. The line has digital solutions on board: it is equipped with an EIT® (Efficiency Improvement Tool) to measure and gather line performance data and set up continuous improvement actions,” explained Bernard.
More than 140m bottles in less than a year
After delivery of the machines in the summer of 2021, installation went off without a hitch, making it possible to reach the contractually agreed efficiency in October 2021. Since that date, more than 140m bottles have already been produced. Support from Sidel’s experts was key to the project’s success during the study, installation and commissioning phases. The eight weeks of technical training provided at the Mont Roucous site were also essential for the teams, helping them run the line optimally and gain technical knowledge about the different machines. Sidel also provides aftermarket service, 24-hour assistance and parts availability.
“We are very proud of this line and the potential it offers to support the growth of Mont Roucous. Our market share is steadily rising, with a 10% increase in revenue the past two years. And we are looking forward in early 2023 to the start-up of a second Sidel Combi to handle other bottle formats,” concluded Bernard.