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Coca-Cola investing $35 million, and eventually much more, in bottle blow molding and filling equipment

Two new lines have been installed at the Thebarton, South Australia facility of Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) Australia, with each capable of stretch blow molding plus filling of PET bottles for the company's beverages. Warwick White, managing director at the company, said that this investment in "blowfill" technology is the single largest capital investment in CCA's history.

"The introduction of this technology has enabled us to redesign and lightweight our entire small carbonated soft drink and water PET bottle range. With innovation comes benefits which, in this case, are good for CCA, our customers and the communities we operate in. They include significant cost savings, production efficiency gains, increased product shelf life and stacking ability.

"Blowfill is also delivering against our key environmental sustainability goals in both energy and water savings and is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of our beverage containers by over 20%. A significant portion of these savings will come from bottle redesigns that use less PET resin, with others from the elimination of the need to transport empty bottles to CCA bottling facilities, and energy savings on the line. This investment continues our lightweighting journey - a journey which has already seen CCA achieve a 20% increase in packaging raw material efficiency since 2004," White said.

At a Group level, CCA plans to invest about  $450 million to install "blowfill" blow molding lines at all of the Company's production facilities in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

According to a study carried out by a masters student for CCA, the new lines will use about 15-23% less PET per bottle, and also require 33% less plastics for the bottles' closures. The lines require use 30% less energy used to blow mold PET preforms into bottles. The Thebarton facility blow molds approximately 110 million PET bottles a year.

CCA did not respond to PlasticsToday questions but we assume the company's use of the term "blowfill" refers to the blow molding / bottle filling lines made and marketed by stretch blow molding machine manufacturer Sidel (Octeville sur Mer, France).

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