For the pre-holiday edition of Best Practices, we travel to sunny Florida, where the family-owned Silver Springs Bottled Water Co. has installed a KHS InnoPET TriBlock blow molder/labeler/filler block for running PET bottles.
Actually, the Richmond family now has 11 KHS production lines in what has become a long-term partnership. The husband-and-wife team of Karl and Margaret Richmond bought Silver Springs Bottled Water in 1991. The Ocala, Fla., company was founded six years earlier to serve what was then a small niche market of bottled water.
"Our companies have been working very closely together for almost 20 years," said Alcides Vieira, vice president of sales and marketing at KHS USA. "The Richmonds have always been among the very first to opt for our new technologies. In 2008, for instance, they invested in KHS' latest InnoPET BlowFill stretch blow molder/filler block. And in 2017, they were the first to commission the KHS InnoPET TriBlock with a labeler integrated between the stretch blow molder and filler."
Bottled water tops carbonated soft drinks in popularity in the United States. With the third generation of Richmonds now involved in the company, the family runs one of the largest independent U.S. bottling operations, with four locations along the East Coast.
Karl Richmond, 85, comes to work every day. Sons Kirk, Keith and Kane share the tasks of executive management and responsibility for the various production facilities. Grandsons Kiel and Mason work at the company.
In 2017, the family acquired RealPure Bottling Co. in Magee, Miss., installing its first KHS InnoPET TriBlock. That investment was followed by the second TriBlock at the Ocala operation. The new pre-glued method prevents bottles from coming into contact with hot melt vapors, since the prepared labels are already coated in adhesive.
According to KHS, the operators at RealPure were skeptical of the process at first but were soon convinced by the stable procedure and by the fact that there was no longer any need for regular maintenance in removing the residue adhesive.