The new ErgoBloc LM – a true all-rounder
A block solution that’s attractive and rewarding not only for the global players, but also for small and mid-tier enterprises. That was the idea of Krones’ development team. What emerged was the ErgoBloc LM – a result that’s hugely impressive!
The new wet-end block for still-water applications unites the functions of stretch blow-moulding, labelling, filling and closing, at ratings of up to 55,000 containers per hour. What’s special about it is that the ErgoBloc LM was conceived right from the start as a single machine, and thus requires only one central unit for the control system, the drive, and the operator interface. Moreover, only one lubrication and safety concept is needed. To sum up: the ErgoBloc LM embodies the block idea with unmatched rigour.
Good things come to the one who waits
When planning this project, the development team deliberately took their time, and questioned much of the accepted wisdom. “We invested a lot of time and money in analysing the markets and clients for whom a product of this kind might be relevant. Thanks to this preliminary work, it was then possible to carry the project forward to completion relatively quickly with a slimline team,” is how Rudolf Fiegler, Head of Product Management Block and Conveyor Technology, describes the development process.
At present, the ErgoBloc LM is still designed specifically for still-water applications, which is why it’s primarily of interest for the Asian and South American markets. It’s suitable for clients who refuse to compromise on quality, and additionally keep a keen eye on their operator costs. These can be newcomers to the sector, small and mid-tier enterprises, or also globally operating conglomerates.
Conceived as a harmonised organism, and designed for a clearly defined application, the ErgoBloc LM offers the client some very definite advantages: firstly, capital investment costs are significantly lower, since certain cost-intensive elements have been eliminated. The ErgoBloc LM, for example, has only one central touchscreen for all functions and only one labelling station. Secondly, the operator-control and maintenance workload is downsized, and a significantly smaller footprint required.
“With the ErgoBloc LM we would seem to have struck sectoral gold”
So it’s hardly surprising, either, that the feedback so far has been uniformly positive. “Many clients see the reduction to the absolutely necessary for still-water bottling as the right way to render their production operations cost-efficient and sustainable,” to quote Rudolf Fiegler.
And even our competitors are impressed: “The most rewarding confirmation for me was the appreciative glance of a competitor. With the ErgoBloc LM, we would seem to have struck sectoral gold,” reports Rudolf Fiegler. This positive feedback can also be evidenced by the numerous inquiries and orders placed so far from clients prospective and actual all over the world.
And what does the future hold in store?
There are ideas featuring a variant for carbonated beverages! However, these are not going to be easy to implement. “Such a compact layout as the ErgoBloc LM is not going to be possible in the same output range for CSD products,” says Rudolf Fiegler. “This is due quite simply to the requisite size of the filler carousel and currently still to the necessity of using the intermediate starwheels for cooling the bottle bases.”
However, many of the empirical insights can be utilised, and transferred to the larger ErgoBloc L, which is currently available only as an “ordinary” block solution. Only, of course, insofar as they create a genuine added value for the client, such as a central lubrication management for the entire block.
So it will be interesting to see where the journey with the ErgoBloc LM will lead us in the future. The fact is that the new wet-end block is already quickening clients’ heartbeats, and constitutes yet another highlight in the Krones product family.