Founded in 1908, Lesieur produces and sells a full range of vegetable oils, sauces and condiments, with innovative products focused on several specific areas: taste, quality, nutrition and sustainability. Being part of the Avril Group, the company launched a modernisation plan for its production sites in 2015. The plant in Coudekerque, one of the largest plants in Europe in terms of bottling volumes for edible oil, has benefited from a dedicated investment of 20 million euros over three years for its bottling centre.
Bottling 170 million litres per year, the historic Lesieur site was looking to improve bottle quality and reduce scheduling constraints due to separate blowing and bottling centres. In addition, the production capacity was organised around seven bottling lines, including several small, low-speed lines.
A transformation with quality, ergonomics and flexibility in mind
The transformation has been structured around the installation of three Sidel Serac Combis with blowing, filling and capping functions, which can produce 0.5 or 1 L formats up to 2 and 3 L at speeds ranging from 15,000 bottles per hour (bph) all the way up to 30,000 bph. “We decided to invest in an on-line blowing solution. Now, we have only five production lines, but we are able to increase our general production capacity thanks to Sidel’s high-speed solutions. There has been a very positive impact on production costs as well,” says Francis Arulraj, Project Manager at Lesieur.
With the new Combis, the heating and blowing technologies ensure consistency in bottle integrity. This technological change has improved not only quality, but also ergonomics. Sidel’s equipment takes up very little floor space; thus, it has helped the company remove conveyors and walkways and make the operators’ daily work easier. When it comes to format changeovers, not only are they easy enough to be done by the entire production team, but they also meet production and adaptability needs. The mould changeover time, for instance, is shorter and easier, which lowers production downtime. “We have also optimised our line’s availability thanks to the support of the Sidel packaging team. By rationalising the number of bottle formats from 22 to 14, thanks to a common outer diameter, we now have a much leaner way to approach our production schedule, while still being able to propose different shapes to our customers,” states Denis Trelhu, Production Manager.
Ensuring a sustainable future with light-weighted rPET bottles
Whether transparent or opaque, PET is a material of choice when it comes to bottling edible oil, since the bottles can be formed into specific shapes. As a leading PET solution provider, Sidel has really contributed to Lesieur’s sustainability vision. “We have actually reduced the weight of our preforms. We are now able to produce bottles between 16-18 grams with up to 100% rPET,” comments Denis. Not only the packaging, but also the production line helped Lesieur pursuing the goals from its sustainable development chart. By virtue of an optimised oven and lamps, the overall electrical consumption of the blower has been lowered. Moreover, blowing pressures have been greatly reduced, which leads to a decrease in energy consumption for the compressor fleet.
“We have developed an excellent partnership with two historic suppliers, Sidel and Serac, who have proven their expertise in the oil bottling field, while also leveraging the experience of the technicians who have been on site throughout the project. With this three-sided partnership, we are sure to take a big step forward,” concludes Christophe Lance, Plant Manager