The line can handle varying bottle sizes from 75cl to 1.5 litres, with capacity to produce up to 36,000 bottles per hour. Six different bottle formats are planned to be commissioned by the end of December.
Lightweighting bottles is a permanent activity within Princes. The company said the Toftshaw line would allow it to further reduce the weight of its bottles, removing approximately 300 tonnes of plastic from its supply chain every year.
Princes has made several recent announcements relating to the recycled content of the plastic it uses. It expects the shrink-wrap packaging on its UK manufactured food and drinks to move to 50% post-consumer recycled waste (PCRW) by the end of this year. This follows confirmation that the business uses 51% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in all of its soft drinks and oils and 30% high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in chilled juice drinks.
Bradford is the largest UK soft drinks production site in Princes’ portfolio, producing customer own-label still and carbonated soft drinks across a variety of flavours and pack formats.
Squash, cordials, premium high juice
The site employs more than 400 people and is a Princes centre of excellence for fruit squash. It manufactures products under the Jucee, Geebee and Wells brands and produces a wide range of customer own-label squash products, including cordials, premium high juice and squash drinks.
Princes is committed to developing talent for its future, and 12 operator and eight engineering colleagues at Bradford have embarked on an intensive training course as part of the commissioning and performance testing process for the new equipment.
“Our new line at Bradford is delivering increased production, state-of-the-art equipment and better energy efficiency to the site, and is a major part of our commitment to UK manufacturing and providing long-term, high-quality employment opportunities in the area,” said Andy Hargraves, group director for soft drinks at Princes. “This investment is also a further example of the strong position we have on the recycled content in our drinks business, as part of our shared responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle all types of plastic.”
The line was officially opened with a small ceremony attended by Princes Group chairman Manabu Oda and managing director Cameron Mackintosh.