The traditional barreled water industry faces a number of constraints and challenges. The service life of a reusable barrel is limited but it is also difficult to monitor. Cleaning and sterilising returned barrels are not straightforward and there are other risks that may arise during processing; quality and safety of products are hard to guarantee. The cost of production is quite low, which attracts criminal elements, including counterfeiters, as well as makers of shoddy, low quality products. Furthermore, deposit, recycling and empty barrel storage issues lead the industry to focus on very short logistics radiuses.
In order to save production cost, barreled water is usually fulfilled from local sources; high-quality mineral water is almost completely unavailable in barreled packaging. The list of challenges is extended by the physical characteristics of the expansion cap; altogether, the shelf life of barreled water is relatively short, in stark contrast to the 12 months or more of bottled water. Altogether, options for consumers are extremely limited. The opportunity to upgrade to a new generation of barreled water is impossible to ignore and hard to resist.
Ganten, the largest exporter of bottled water in China, has proposed a solution utilising food-grade PET for disposable packaging. It claims that this approach will greatly extend shelf life and make the product safer and more environmental-friendly. In this way, people can buy barreled water in much the same way as ordinary bottled mineral water. After considering the ideas and requirements put forward by the Ganten team, Jiangsu Newamstar Packaging Machinery Co., Ltd. commissioned its technical departments to conduct further research. A program of testing and analysis lasting 100 days led to a technical solution of for 15L PET bottles, produced on a single-stage Newamstar combiblock.
Ganten officially signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Newamstar for the 15L PET bottled water packaging solution project and set up production in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, equipped with Newamstar 2,500BPH (15L) combiblock production lines. The company says that they offer potential savings in energy and manpower and that the 15L PET water barrel can help to minimise the risk of microbial contamination and improve the assurances of food safety and quality.
Newamstar and Ganten say that using the blowing-filling-capping combiblock eliminates the area for empty barrel storage, barrel cleaning equipment and disinfecting chemicals, as well as occupying a smaller area, requiring less staff and saving water. A customised robot palletising solution overcomes of long-distance transportation problems. Newamstar and Ganten say that their joint venture brings to the barreled water market a technological innovation that enables more consumers to have access to wholesome water.