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Monday, May 27, 2013 | Feiplastic 2013 - The end of the journey

Our final week begins on Monday morning with a visit to Döhler in Limeira, Sao Paulo. Here we are welcomed by Martin Tolksdorf, General Manager, and Jane Vieira, Marketing. Döhler is a manufacturer and supplier of fruit concentrates and flavours to a number of industries including the PET sector. As Waldemar and I know very little about how the fruit is processed to make Döhler products, we bombard our hosts with questions. Mr Tolksdorf goes to a lot of trouble to answer all our questions. To help our understanding we taste some of the intermediate products which go to make up the concentrates, and we begin to understand why it is not easy to create a great tasting drink. ... [ Read more ]

Monday, May 20, 2013 | Seven days in Sao Paulo – an eventful week

Our week begins early Monday morning in the car park of a shopping centre in Barueri in the district of Sao Paulo. We are to visit Grupo Ravi, which produces, amongst other products, closures for PET bottles in South America. Director Aurelio Silva welcomed us in his brand new office together with Erica Rodrigues from the research and development department and accountant Claudia Mello. In the course of a most interesting interview we learned about the company’s broad portfolio of products and their coverage of the South American market. ... [ Read more ]

Monday, May 13, 2013 | Jaú to Lindóia - An emotional roller-coaster of a week

It's Monday evening and Waldemar and I have just enjoyed an excellent repast at a Churrascaria, a typical Brazilian grill on the outskirts of Jaú, a city in the state of Sao Paulo. Before it gets dark, we need to find somewhere safe to park the Editourmobil for the night. At first sight, a petrol station a few yards away from a busy main road doesn’t seem the ideal place to conceal the Editourmobil from potential ne’er-do-wells. However, appearances can be deceptive. The attendant there, Diego by name, wants to know all about our PETplanet tour. He then shows us a place to park in front of the petrol station and solemnly assures us that the night security guard will keep an eye on our vehicle. Super! ... [ Read more ]

Monday, May 5, 2013 | Touring throughout Brazil

With Waldemar Schmitke safely on board along with colleague Florian Roscheck, Team 3 is now all present and correct. Our arrival in Porto Alegre is accompanied by heavy rain, but it soon clears, out comes the Brazilian sun, and soon we are basking in a temperature of 28C, as we would expect! We spend some time in Porto Alegre shopping for fruit-sized vitamins to take with us on the journey. As we wander around the city we come across a lot of German sounding logos such as “Eisenbahn” (“Railway”). It proves to be a brand of beer, testifying to the well-known German brewing tradition in Brazilian beer. ... [ Read more ]

Monday, April 29, 2013 | From Santa Fe to Porto Alegre – an improvised week

Here I am comfortably ensconced in the air-conditioned courtesy lounge of the supervised car park near Porto Alegre airport, Brazil. A few minutes ago the football match between Inter and Veranopolis ended, and I have been watching the game on TV at the invitation of four of the staff. In the morning, my colleague Waldemar is due to arrive. Parking such a large vehicle as the Editourmobil at the airport is a definite no-no. It is essential to find a secure, supervised car park, and naturally, you have to pay for the privilege. ... [ Read more ]

Monday, April 22, 2013 | The start of the third team

Santiago de Chile greets me on Monday morning with brilliant sunshine, which is a welcome bonus after the long flight from Germany. My first stop is the workshop where our Editourmobil is currently being repaired. Following a telephone call to them, I was confidently expecting the repair to be completed today. However, when I got to the workshop and spoke to the manager there, I discovered that time has a different meaning in Chile. “Today” turns out to mean two to three days, if we are lucky. There is a lot to do, they explain. More than a little disappointed, I check in at the hotel. I had hoped that for my appointment next morning with Marco Dall'Olio, CEO of PLASCO, I would surprise him by turning up in the Editourmobil. ... [ Read more ]

Monday, March 25, 2013 | From Buenos Aires to Montevideo - end of the second stage of the tour

The weekend sped by, but it did give me time to sort out the week’s interviews. Now it’s Monday and my first job is to confirm the meeting with Quilmes, Argentina’s biggest brewery. We had a few problems juggling the timetable but eventually Chiraz and I find ourselves in the foyer of the company, awaiting the arrival of our hosts for the afternoon. Just to confuse us, we are welcomed by two Pablos – Juan Pablo Zug, Zone Technical Development Leader and his colleague also called Pablo. The company, one of the AmBev group since 2002, and subsequently,from 2004, the AB-InBev group, has five breweries in Argentina, and boasts equipment from Krones and KHS Simonazzi to handle seven different Quilmes beers.Quilmes beer is the undisputed Numero Uno in Argentina. It’s a great pity that time is too short for more than a brief interview and a few quick photos. Sadly, there is no chance either of seeing the production lines today. Back at our hotel in the evening I start to do my packing, because tomorrow morning we have to catch the ferry to take us from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. This is our last stop on the tour. After this, we return to Heidelberg.

Discussions with Quilmes, the largest brewer in Argentina ... [ Read more ]

Monday, March 25, 2013 | Our time in and around Buenos Aires

The first few days of the new week seem to simply fly by. You would have thought that the complete reorganisation of the tour should have bought us a little time, but not so, at least at the moment. All the careful planning that Heidelberg had put in had to be ditched and a new schedule put in place. New appointments had been arranged for Wednesday and the plan was to get to them by taxi. I had a quick look at the distances involved but I had no illusions about the problems that lay ahead. Some appointments looked to be within easy reach, but I had vivid memories of our last tour in the Moscow area in 2012, when we found ourselves constantly stuck in the most awful traffic jams. But at the end of the day, we just have to get on with it.

In the Manaos filling area at Refres Now, Walter and his acquaintance Laura in front of the Sidel plant ... [ Read more ]

Monday, March 18, 2013 | Santiago to Buenos Aires

It's Monday, March 11, 2013. We have arrived in Santiago. Prior to the tour, I had taken the opportunity of enjoying a brief holiday in Chile, and was therefore ready to take over the reins of the Editourmobil from Team 1 consisting of my colleagues Alex and Rolf. Chiraz, my colleague from Marketing, and official tour guide for this part of the tour, arrived yesterday. After handing over the vehicle, and with fond farewells to Team 1, our first appointment is with Iveco. The long and arduous journey over difficult terrain has not been kind to the Editourmobil. It is difficult to start and at frequent intervals there are serious problems with the gears. Breakfast is a welcome start to proceedings, and then the long wait begins.

The Editourmobil in the Iveco Workshop Santiago ... [ Read more ]

Monday, March 11, 2013 | Santa Cruz to Chile

Blog 4 Santa Cruz to Chile Bolivia is a country of contrasts. From La Paz, high in the Andes, we are now making our way to Santa Cruz, located in the lush tropical rain forest. The city, one of the fastest growing in the country, is home to Embol, Coca Cola licensee in Bolivia. Here we talk with Roberto Francina, Technical Director, responsible for all 4 plants in the country. Growth in the past 10 years has been remarkable. On his watch, Roberto has overseen an increase in production from 180 million litres in 2003 to 675 million litres of CSD this year. Growth has been almost exclusively in the PET disposable bottle sector, with glass and reusable PET showing only a modest increase. The preforms for the bottles come from Empacar, which is where we are heading for our next appointment.

Roberto Francina, Technical Director, Embol shows us the two-way PET lines at its main plant in Santa Cruz ... [ Read more ]

Monday, March 4, 2013 | La Paz - Santa Cruz

La Paz lies in the middle of the Andes at an altitude of between 3100 to 4100 metres above sea level. The streets are so steep that the clutch immediately protested by overheating. The city itself was afflicted by the endless stop-go traffic that seems to be a common feature of Latin American cities. Actually, stop-go is a bit of an exaggeration, our progress being more like a succession of hill starts in our 4 ton vehicle. Before we reach La Paz itself we have to negotiate the fast-growing urban centre of El Alto, where we come to a grinding halt. A strike has been called by the transport union and they have blocked all the roads with huge boulders. Fortunately we have a Plan B. We head off over the fields, bumping our way over unpaved side roads with potholes as deep as beer crates, all in an attempt to avoid the main roads. Our objective is simple: to ensure we have enough clearance under the vehicle to prevent any nasty mishaps. We have more than a few queasy moments as the Editourmobil emits some ominous noises from its innards.

Labels and plastic films for pouches running through the printing presses ... [ Read more ]

Monday, February 25, 2013 | Lima-La Paz

The tour is starting to gather pace. In Lima we visited the Backus brewery, part of the SABMiller group. There is a production line producing water and CSD that SABMiller has designated as the most efficient within the group. There we met Jorge Ayestas and Maria Contreras who let us in to the secrets of their success. The plants are typical for Peru, where a supplier handles bottle production, whilst the filler focuses on the actual filling.

The next stage of the journey is Bolivia. The biggest hurdle is the crossing of the Andes, where the Editourmobil faced the daunting challenge of a 4,600 metre high pass. For me, spending all my time at sea-level, it is daunting indeed. As we passed the 4,000 metre mark, I could feel my strength and powers of concentration ebbing away. It was a relief to descend once more down to 3,000 metres, when we could start thinking about where we might park up for the night.

For SAB Miller, this is the world's most effective CSD system. (Right) external bottle production, (left) the actual bottling plant at Backus in Lima. Pictured (middle) with their team are Ayestas Jorge and Maria Contreras, who were responsible for its success. ... [ Read more ]

Monday, February 18, 2013 | Start Go with the flow 2013

So here we are again, the Editourmobil is back on the road. This time it is taking us from Peru to Brazil, travelling via Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. But the tour in fact began shortly before Christmas. The Editourmobil had to get from Germany to Lima. The maritime freight option was a non-starter for cost reasons and so we ended up going for the Grimaldi Roll-On-Roll-Off ferry from Hamburg to Montevideo in Uruguay. Our Editourmobil spent from Christmas right up to the beginning of February in the belly of a ship. Having arrived in Uruguay our Rolf’s plan was to collect the vehicle and get it to Lima by way of the overland route. However, this was easier said than done; first of all we were several days late flying out from Germany, then we had problems getting the vehicle out of customs, then we didn’t have the registration document and, finally, insuring the vehicle there was more difficult than expected. In the meantime it was Carnival time, the time when, in South America, people concentrate on partying and nobody does any work. The upshot was that Rolf spent almost a week stuck in Uruguay. Had he not had Michael Maier on site to help him with everything you can think of then Rolf would most probably still be there now. Just to come and pick me up from the airport in Lima Rolf needed a full 5 days to cover more than 5 000km and to cross the Andes.

Lima is situated directly on the coast and its impressive features are not limited to colonial-style buildings only. This photo shows the Lacomar shopping centre on the steep cliffs. ... [ Read more ]