In 2019, Master Kong beverage (Master Kong) in China opted to sign a two-fixed-price maintenance contract with Sidel for four of their aseptic complete PET lines producing ready-to-drink (RTD) teas in their plants in Langfang and Baotou. Sidel’s proactive maintenance and on-site support have contributed to Master Kong’s business during the peak season by better controlling maintenance costs while improving the lines’ efficiency by 6%.
Master Kong is a part of Ting Hsin International Group. The company is particularly active in the non-alcoholic beverage segment. It is one of the top three players in China and leads the RTD tea segment in the country with a 45% market share.
The beginning of Master Kong’s and Sidel’s partnership dates back over 15 years when Sidel installed the first of several packaging lines for water, Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSD), and Juices, Nectars, Soft Drinks, Isotonics and Teas (JNSDIT). After several years of operation of the aseptic PET packaging lines, the leading RTD tea producer in China was considering maintenance services. The objective was to keep the maintenance costs predictable for two lines running in the Baotou plant since 2012 and two others in the Langfang plant since 2013.
A shift to proactive maintenance pays off
Service-wise, Master Kong, in the past, was doing reactive maintenance, buying spare parts only when needed, which generated unplanned downtime and costs. “The new maintenance contract straight-forward showed the advantages to the customer of shifting to more proactive maintenance. Moreover, they trusted our ability, as their Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), to do the required maintenance to extend aseptic PET lines’ lifetime, running at 48,000 bottles per hour. We also ensured the continuity of their product safety,” points out Christina XU, services account director for Greater China at Sidel.
“We have trusted in Sidel’s professional expertise since the beginning of our cooperation. They have been a reliable partner, convincingly demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of aseptic PET packaging. Not least, it remains important to us to have them as our OEM, providing us with consistent equipment and services as well as advice on-demand,” says Wang WEI, head of Product Planning Supply Chain Management – Operation Department at Master Kong. “The service contract answers all our needs,” he assures.
Control costs and increase uptime
To define the most appropriate maintenance service solution for the customer from the onset, Sidel experts compared Master Kong’s yearly average maintenance and spare parts storage expenses with the traditional expenses related to the effective operation of the aseptic lines. According to Sidel, therefore, the contract fundamentally ensured better cost control, offering a clearer view of maintenance expenses with specified fixed costs based on the number of running hours. Additionally, the tailored spare part orders, stipulated in the contract, helped to optimize cash flow by reducing inventory costs for spare parts.
Sidel has been providing proper scheduling and execution of preventive and corrective maintenance. Their analysis and reports enabled Master Kong to monitor the lines accurately and maximize their uptime. The aseptic validation process included in the contract and passed right after the maintenance, secured product safety Master Kong was aiming for.
Close and successful partnership with long-term ambitions
“Thanks to the great support from Master Kong and our strong, aseptic knowledge, we accomplished the first year of maintenance execution by the end of 2019. Smooth project management and close collaboration between both sides allowed to refill the spare parts stock and run the necessary diagnostics in less than two months, just in time for the yearly overhaul,” says XU.
According to Sidel, the partnership during the maintenance process was organized in quarterly and monthly on-site meetings and regular follow-up. Furthermore, Sidel provided on-site technical coaching to optimize operations. “From a production point of view, we are really happy that Sidel’s local technicians continuously trained our employees on-site to optimize operations on our machines. Additionally, we could also rely on a key safety stock of 100% original Sidel spare parts, securing machine uptime and generating further savings,” adds WEI.
As the maintenance contract brought good value to the company, in December 2019, Master Kong signed another maintenance contract with Sidel for additional five aseptic PET packaging lines and four blowers in their Chengdu plant, and now are thinking to extend Sidel’s maintenance services also across other plants.