Sustainable mineral water with oil-free compressors

Sarda Acque Minerali has entrusted Atlas Copco with the revamping of the compressed air production plant.

Sarda Acque Minerali S.p.A. has entrusted Atlas Copco with the revamping of the compressed air production plant, in order to meet the new production requirements. The modular architecture of the new plant will contribute to guarantee a water bottling process eco-sustainable and hygienically safe, without contamination of oils in the production cycle and with reduced energy consumption.

Sarda Acque Minerale is in the province of Cagliari (Italy) and produces mineral water from Siliqua spring water sources, on the edge of one of the largest wooded area of ​​holm oaks in Europe. These are Acqua S. Giorgio, one of the purest in the world, as witnessed by the almost total absence of nitrates, Acqua Quercetta, which springs from the subsoil, Acqua Sant’Angelo, from the source of Punta Acqua, Acqua Pura, which comes from Mount Orri and Acqua Levia, which comes from the Forests of Nannilai. Sarda Acque Minerali, with some of the most fully automated plants in the world, produces and distributes its waters through a widespread sales network, both selling them in Italy in different supermarket chains, which also brand them with their own labels, both exporting them to countries such as China, Australia, Canada.

The company boasts a history of important entrepreneurial and technical innovation. It was one of the first to use brick in paper, and to self-produce PET bottles with its own systems.

For the production and bottling of mineral water compressed air is required, which is used in different stages of the production process: for moving liquids, for sterilizing and pressurizing the plants, for blowing and filling the bottles, for the auxiliary supply of pneumatic systems.

Atlas Copco compressed air plant at Sarda Acque Minerali, Cagliari (Italy).

The purity of the water strongly depends on the quality of the process air used for making PET bottles during all these phases. For this reason, Sarda Acque Minerali has relied on Atlas Copco’s Oil Free technology: compressed air never comes into contact with oil, guaranteeing “ Class Zero” purity and no possible trace of residues inside the bottles.

A modular architecture for a flexible and system

The turnkey project created by Atlas Copco is based on a modular architecture, to have a flexible, reliable and energy-efficient system that minimizes idle operations. The demand for high pressure compressed air, depending on the formats of the different lines, varies from a minimum of 500 m3/h to a maximum of 3000 m3/h.

This is the reason why a low-pressure tank has been proposed, which decouples the two compression sections, making the individual machines perfectly independent of each other, giving greater flexibility of operation and the possibility of also feeding a low-pressure line. Specifically, two ZR200-10-50 oil-free two-stage screw compressors were installed, water-cooled with an integrated absorption dryer for a compression of up to 10 bar, and two 2DX2-110 Oil Free boosters with horizontal and opposite pistons. ZR compressors and DN boosters are Plug & Play units: easy to install and not requiring special civil works. The plant processes a total flow of 3,000 m3/h at a pressure of 32 bar to feed two lines of blow moulding machines, and a low-pressure flow of 400 m3/h. The new supply is added to the Atlas Copco machines already operating in the plant for some time: a ZR160 inverter compressor with relative booster and a ZT37 compressor.

With the supervision system installed, which includs a PLC and measurement systems, it is possible to monitor flow rates and pressures, energy consumption, the operating status of each machine and the consumption of the entire plant.

Oil-free compressors installed in Sarda Acque Minerali.

«Energy saving is important to maintain the long purity tradition of The S. Giorgio sources. Energy is indeed a precious asset, and managing consumption is a benefit both for those who use it, who can save costs, and for the entire environmental system. When companies are in such a particular area it is important to respect resources and protect the environment», says  Gabriella Meloni, Administrator of Sarda Acque Minerali.

«Atlas Copco was the first manufacturer to receive the Class Zero certification on the ISO 8573-1 which defines the standards of purity of compressed air in relation to the presence of water and oil particles», says Elena Marazzi Product Marketing Atlas Copco manager, «on top of this Atlas Copco designers are studying compressed air plants that can optimize energy consumption».

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