Cargill and Krones team up on ‘most efficient’ edible oils line

When manufacturers think of Cargill, or of Krones, they usually think about grains or filling lines for beer respectively. They very rarely think ‘edible oils’. But the two companies have teamed up to make their new edible oil line in Sidney, Ohio “the most efficient such line in North America”.

In 2016, Cargill sold its dressings, sauces and mayonnaise business, making room to expand its edible oil manufacturing capabilities. New equipment was needed at the Sidney plant since the existing system was not a true turnkey solution but rather a combination of machinery from different vendors. The line had only been used in production for a few years, and Cargill had quickly realised that it could not keep up with their production goals, which included selling to large retailers, restaurants, and food distributors.

They turned to Krones to provide a high-efficiency turnkey system that included a PET blow molder, filler, labeller and packer all from a single source.

Krones’ turnkey solution includes a Contiform Bloc and a Variopac Pro packer supported by a Robogrip robotic packer and palletiser. The Contiform Bloc is comprised of a preform transporter, PET bottle blow molder, and filler in a single block and requires up to 30% less space than a conventionally installed blow molder and separate filler; the versatile Variopac Pro offers the facility a wide range of packaging options, while the Robogrip enhances palletising operations.

After commissioning in July 2017, the turnkey line hit a high rate of acceptance on the first try. “Seven weeks after we made our first bottle we were at 98%,” said Alex Miller, North American engineering manager for Cargill.

According to Miller, many of Cargill’s customers want to buy in a portfolio of sizes from one vendor. Flexibility is needed so that they can offer all of the major sizes and volume options. The new Krones turnkey line enables them not only to meet these customer demands but to do so quickly, with accurate fills and consistent quality. “We calculate that with this equipment we can work 30- 50% faster than our competition,” says Miller. “This capability opens up a lot of options for expansion.”

This has led him to conclude that the new edible oil line is “the most efficient such line in North America”.

Another beneficial by-product has been a reduction in scrap waste thanks to the accuracy and efficiency of the line. According to Rich Szima, lead operator for the Krones line, production is running between 3% and 7% waste. With the new Krones line, Cargill has paved the way for efficient, cost-effective production in the future.

And Luke Schwieterman, operations superintendent for Cargill, had the last word: “I would put another Krones line in tomorrow,” he said.

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