Alpla adds blow molding equipment in Mexico to serve Coca-Cola

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MONTERREY, MEXICO (April 25, 2:30 p.m. ET) — Multinational Austrian plastic bottle manufacturer Alpla Holding GmbH has purchased 11 SBO Universal2eco blow molding machines and 1,200 molds from the Sidel Group after winning a major contract from one of Latin America’s newest and largest Coca-Cola bottlers.

Headquartered in the town of Hard, Austria, Alpla placed the order with Sidel in August and took delivery of the machines between November 2011 and February, according to an April 25 Sidel news release.

It has been installing them at six plants across Mexico, and should be operating within a few weeks. Neither Sidel nor Alpla has revealed the value of the contract. But Martin Stark, Alpla’s Austria-based technical and purchasing director, described it in the news release as “big.”

A senior manager at the head office of Mexican subsidiary Alpla México SA de CV referred all inquiries to Alpla in Austria, from where the negotiations for the purchase of the new machinery were conducted, he said. Alpla has 15 plants in Mexico, he added.

According to the news release, Alpla will supply 900 million bottles a year over eight years to Arca Continental SAB de CV, of Monterrey, which claims to be the second-largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America.

Listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange as AC, Arca Continental was formed in 2011 through the amalgamation of Embotelladora Arca and Grupo Continental. Its headquarters is in Monterrey.

The SBO Universal2eco blow-molders have six to 26 cavities and will produce up to 2,200 bottles per hour, Sidel said.

“Alpla will create all the Coca-Cola bottle shapes from 250 milliliters to three liters” on the new machines, it added.

“Some of these machines are able to produce up to 21 different shapes and sizes. There are 1,200 molds equipped with Kohlox, a system made of thermo composite material that helps parts move freely without lubrication and reduces machine downtimes.”

Alpla will produce most of the bottles inline, but small volumes will be produced in an offline production hall.

Sidel was able to install the equipment in several locations simultaneously, a fact that “really made the difference for Alpla in selecting Sidel as its partner for such a big contract,” Stark said.

Alpla and Sidel have worked together for 25 years, Sidel said.

Le Havre, France-based Sidel, which employs 5,000, claims to have 30,000 machines installed in 190 countries.

Alpla’s North American unit, Alpla Inc. in McDonough, Ga., ranked No. 4 in Plastics News’ most recent survey of North American blow molders, with sales of $822.7 million. The Austrian parent company had total estimated sales of $3.39 billion.

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