In the fight against COVID-19, Sidel have transformed their international centre of excellence for PET packaging development and blowing solutions in France into a production centre and launched an exceptional production of bottles for hydro-alcoholic gel. A first batch of 5,000 PET plastic bottles for the disinfectant has already been provided to the Hospital of Dijon and an additional one has been distributed for Le Havre town’s pharmacies and hospitals.
In France, just like anywhere else at the moment, there is a high demand for hydro-alcoholic gel for sanitisation. Therefore, the French government issued a general plea for assistance as regards the production of the currently scarcely available product. Several industries as well as hospitals have responded to the call and are producing the gel. However, healthcare players are facing difficulties to distribute it to their employees as the gel is being produced in big size containers. “With collaborative skills and agile and creative work, our engaged employees were able to transform our centre of excellence into a small production centre in only two days,” says Vincent Le Guen, Vice President Packaging at Sidel.
A first request was received from the Hospital of Dijon in the middle of March asking to provide small size containers in order to package the hydro-alcoholic gel. The company responded quickly and found the right raw materials and cooperation partners to produce the bottles – these are made from an existing Sidel’s 500ml mould and the preforms were provided by a key beverage player while the sport caps were supplied by a cap manufacturer. The sport closure allows controlling the gel flow and keeping it safe.
Within one week, the first 5,000 PET bottles have already been sent to the Hospital of Dijon. In the meantime, other similar initiatives have started. “We got in contact with a local deputy in Normandy and discussed how Sidel could support local health players in these challenging times. The deputy informed us that also pharmacies are facing difficulties in gel distribution, therefore, in addition to the 500ml bottle for hospitals, we quickly designed a smaller – 200ml – bottle format, which is more user-friendly for individual use to be distributed in the local pharmacies.
In total, more than 1,000 bottles were delivered to the local pharmacies on 1st of April, all 100% recyclable and potentially refillable after sterilisation,” continues Vincent. Sidel have prioritised their business and taken a stand to use available resources in order to support their community.
Traditionally, the lab in Octeville-sur-Mer is a packaging development centre dedicated to assist Sidel’s customers’ with their queries about PET packaging design options and their feasibility. The site is usually not dedicated for industrial production. “This initiative is a gesture of solidarity for our health carers. It will help us make a difference in overcoming the supply shortages that have arisen due to the current situation,” adds Vincent. “Flexibility has long been a centrepiece of our solutions and services. By working in this mode, our weekly production capacity is up to 20,000 bottles and we can handle more requests of this kind. Sidel appeal to the generosity of any business partner in providing additional preforms and caps to keep the business continuity. Moreover, we are also prepared to support other companies who would require moulds to produce bottles on their packaging lines, wishing to take over extra responsibility in the common fight against the virus,” he concludes. Sidel employees are ready to produce several tens of thousands of bottles for gel for the local needs in the next weeks as much as necessary.