Anaheim’s New A6 Line
One of the Fastest!
Our recently installed PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) line is one of the fastest producing PET lines in the United States. This magnificent machine was built in our Anaheim facility and can run up to 1,150 bottles per minute. There are a lot of connected pieces that go into building a new line in a manufacturing plant. County permits must be approved, parts and materials are needed, many hours of labor are spent, among other steps necessary to have a running line. Our Engineering team explained in detail the features of this beautiful piece of technology, the setbacks the team faced during the process, and how they finalized the project.
The A6 PET line is the fastest in the country and its features are incredible. The filler has the capability to run 12-ounce, 16-ounces, and 20-ounce bottles at speeds of 1,150 bottles per minute, the 28-ounce bottles at 1,000 bottles per minute, and 32-ounce bottles at 900 bottles per minute. The speed and process of this piece of machinery is precise and incredibly fast. The processing system runs at 250 gallons per minute (gpm) and is much faster in comparison to a standard line which can run at 150 gpm. The line is able to consume a full pallet of empty bottles every two minutes and make a fully finished pallet every one to two minutes, depending on various factors. It is also integrated with vision inspection systems of all types including Silgan and Filtec. These systems inspect filled bottles for slanted, loose, and missing caps, damaged or missing tamper-evidence bands, and low fill levels. The line itself uses a state-of-the-art processing system and high-speed labeling for the beverages being produced. Overall, this amazing piece of equipment has the capability of producing 24 million cases a year. With all of these wonderful features, this machine installation was no easy task, and our engineering team faced many challenges.
There were many setbacks the engineering team had to overcome. “The pandemic and supply chain issues were a nightmare and costs increased dramatically for supplies,” said Corporate Vice President of Engineering, Kevin Cordoza. Many of the materials needed for the project including stainless steel, tanks, concrete, and electronics were back ordered and had long lead times. The materials and components cost skyrocketed, causing some materials to be 10 times above the normal price. Another issue the Engineering team faced was the labor shortage. As many of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered one of the worst jobs crises since the Great Depression, and Nor-Cal Beverage felt the impact. The project was delayed because of labor absences due to COVID-related illnesses and quarantine requirements. The project also faced delays in county permit applications. “The city of Anaheim helped us work through the permitting as quickly as possible, but it was still a challenge due to the pandemic,” said Cordoza. Even though the project had many setbacks, it finally came to completion in February 2022.
The project was initially introduced by the management team during the last quarter of 2020. The Engineering team began ordering materials for the project around October of 2020. The actual setup and building started in March of 2021 and was not finalized until February 2022. “The only reason this line was successfully installed and started up as quickly as it was during a Pandemic was because of our Nor-Cal Team and our extended Nor-Cal family, our key suppliers,” said Cordoza. The project took a lot of manpower including numerous contractors such as Delta Wye Electric, RCB Construction, Robex, Plump Engineering, and Shepard Bros, among others who worked hard to help finalize the project. “The contractors were all amazing and they helped us pull this off in a short amount of time. Even when we had issues, they would always help,” said Project and Construction Manager, George Mindermann. Many people were involved, and every single individual made a key contribution to finalizing the project.
This wonderful piece of machinery has so many capabilities and we are grateful to have such technology incorporated into our Anaheim Facility. Our team faced numerous challenges, but we were supported by many who helped us overcome them. Nor-Cal Beverage is grateful to all who worked hard on this project and allowed us to successfully install the line. Now that the A6 line is up and running, we hope this opens the door to new partnerships.
A special thank you from our Nor-Cal Beverage Family to everyone involved:
The way I see it is that no one person is successful or unsuccessful in a project of this size. We either fail together as a team or we emerge successfully as a team. And I think we all succeeded! I will say that George Mindermann lived this project from conception to completion. We had support from Tim Wilbanks, Trina Means, and the entire Finance Team. The Sales Team helped us with material drawings and customer needs. The Quality Team made sure all systems were ready to go and met customer requirements. The Operations Team took the initiative to train on the equipment and took ownership of the line. Our Materials and Logistics Team worked hard to make sure we had materials when we needed them for testing. The entire Nor-Cal Anaheim Team and many from our Sacramento team were helpful as well. I am very proud of the efforts the teams put into this project. Also, a big thank you to Shannon and Mike for helping us to get over all the hurdles we faced. - Corporate Vice President of Engineering, Kevin Cordoza
We all had a blast! We worked all year long, 12-to-14-hour days for 7 days a week but it was all worth it. Everyone who was involved in the project was a big help and we are all grateful for every single one, including all the contractors who were involved. They were an integral part of the project and we all worked well together. Even though we are done with the project, some of these contractors miss it and stop by to see the finalized line from time to time. Thank you to all the Anaheim Nor-Cal team for your patience and support throughout the project. There were a lot of logistics that went into the project, but we couldn’t have done it without you. Out of the 40 years of my career, it was one of the best projects that I have ever been involved with and I thank everyone who made it possible. - Project and Construction Manager, George Mindermann
- Karl and team from Delta Wye Electric.
- Bob and team from RCB Construction.
- Toby, our Steel supplier.
- Robex – Especially Bob who ran the installation of all equipment.
- Shepard Bros., our chemical suppliers.
- Richard Plump from Plump Engineering and his entire team, supplying the structural drawings and so much more.