2017 was the most successful year in the history of the Polish mineral water bottler Muszynianka: with 165 million fills and a turnover of around 50 million euros, the company is meanwhile Poland’s fourth-largest mineral water firm.
Polish consumers drink roughly 90 litres of mineral water per capita and year, which places them in Europe’s mid-range category. About half the packaged waters exhibit a low mineralisation, and the other half a high one. Among the latter, Muszynianka can even lay claim to the rank of market leader: the slightly carbonated water from the springs around Muszyna possesses relatively large contents of both magnesium and calcium.
Yet another rather special characteristic of Muszynianka is this: the company avoids discounters and sells its water in the premium price range. “We are Poland’s highest-priced water,” says Managing Board Chairman Ryszard Mosur. The slightly carbonated Muszynianka mineral water, and the Muszynianka Plus brand, which scores highly in terms of its relatively sizable magnesium content, account for about 95 per cent of the production output, with another water that is slightly more carbonated accounting for the remaining five per cent.
Investing in block technology
In 1991, Muszynianka was filling 1,500 bottles per hour on a small line. Even back then, the cooperative concentrated exclusively on filling mineral water, and in 1997 invested in its first PET line, bought from an Italian manufacturer. In subsequent years, a filler from Poland and pre-owned machines from German suppliers were added to the filling operation, whose output then increased to 5,000 in 2001, and to 12,000 containers an hour in 2003.
2005 marked the company’s breakthrough, both in qualitative and quantitative terms: Muszynianka was the first beverage bottler in Poland to opt for a block layout from Krones, which back then was still a new technology – a Contiform Bloc, incorporated in a complete line rated at 18,000 containers per hour. “That was a huge step forward for us,” says Ryszard Mosur, “and in a way also an experiment. We were really eager to see how it would work out. At that time, a whole lot of other beverage producers flocked to our plant so as to have a close look at this reference line.” His verdict: the experiment was a complete success – and the line is still working today to the client’s complete satisfaction.
Since water extraction from the springs was restricted under the relevant statute law, Muszynianka conducted some explorations for further springs in subsequent years. Today, the mineral water firm obtains its water for bottling from a few dozen springs. Later on, the company started operation in a second, smaller filling plant located two kilometres away in Milik, with the aim of increasing production output. Today, two lines, rated at 10,000 0.6-litre bottles and 12,000 1.5-litre containers an hour respectively, are up and running at this facility. But even these upsized capacities were in the long run unable to meet demand. “Our problem is not sales-related, it’s rather how to satisfy demand, especially in summer,”
says the Managing Board Chairman. “At times, we could during the peak season only fill a fifth of the water volume that had been ordered.”
Proactive investment policy
This is why last year Muszynianka launched a significant investment initiative. “We went straight to Krones in Neutraubling, without inviting other manufacturers to submit alternative quotations,” says Ryszard Mosur. “The major basic reasons for our decision were the top-level quality of the Krones machines, and above all the service support provided by Krones. During the 13 years when our first Krones line was running, it happened three times that some spares were really urgently needed. Even though these parts were not in stock at Krones Poland, they were each time supplied to our plant from Neutraubling within 24 hours – thus enabling us to resume our production. That’s what we appreciate Krones for – quality, reliability, prompt service support.”
So Muszynianka placed an order with Krones for another bottling line, this one rated at 24,000 PET containers an hour, to be installed at its plant in Muszyna – and needless to say featuring block technology once more.
Complete standard PET line
- Contiform Bloc with
- Contiform RS preform roller sorter
- Contiform 3 Pro blow-moulder
- Modulfill VFS filler
- Checkmat FM-G inspection system
- Prontomodul labeller with Canmatic station
- Variopac Pro FS-4 non-returnables packer with integrated handle applicator
- Modulpal 2A palletiser
- VarioClean CIP system
The mineral water bottler now has a total bottling capacity of 52,000 containers an hour – quite a different figure from the 1,500 bottles per hour the firm had started out with.
Follow-up order: a combined line
After the new line had successfully started operation in late 2017, Muszynianka has continued to rigorously pursue its expansion thrust. At the beginning of 2018, the mineral water bottler placed an order with Krones for a combined line. “It’s above all the sanatoriums and health spas in our region that want to buy our healthy water in glass bottles as well,” says Ryszard Mosur. “More and more consumers are likewise in the market for this type of container, so we decided to put in place some capacities for glass bottles too.” This will make Muszynianka one of the first Polish bottlers to offer water in glass containers nationwide. Up till now, just a few producers had included those in their portfolios. Muszynianka chose an embossed 0.3-litre bottle with a neck-around label as the first container size, which is ideally suited for the catering trade as well.
However, the location of the facility in Muszyna – with a railway track and a road on one side and a river plus neighbouring Slovakia on the other – did not offer enough space for installing further lines here, which was why Muszynianka decided to build its third plant in Krynica Zdrój, just a few kilometres away from its main facility in Muszyna. It’s there that the new combined line will start operation in the autumn of 2018.
PET and glass containers on a single line
The new line provides combined filling of glass and PET containers, by means of two wet ends and one shared dry end:
- Here, too, PET bottle production and filling is again handled by a Contiform Bloc, this one rated at 20,000 containers an hour.
- A Modulfill HRS with an upstream Moduljet rinser and a Prontomatic labeller are used for the glass bottles.
- The dry end serves to handle the two container variants alternately. It comprises a Variopac Pro FS-7 non-returnables packer and a Modulpal Pro palletiser.
“Like a mid-tier family firm”
For this third location, too, Muszynianka will stay true to its corporate philosophy: concentrating on just one brand. The water filled here will likewise be called Muszynianka, with “Zdrój” being added, which is quite simply part of the place’s name.
We are a small company, but hugely successful. – Ryszard Mosur
And it looks highly likely that the company, organised as a cooperative, will see further expansions in the future. “Our plans include increasing the diversity of our bottle range, by adding both a larger glass bottle and a medium-sized PET container,” says Ryszard Mosur. “We are a small company, but hugely successful. We don’t have a large sales and marketing department; we work more along the lines of a mid-tier family firm. It will be crucially important for us in future to be better able to meet demand in the peak season.” The two Krones lines, installed in quick succession, are intended to be instrumental in achieving this goal.
It will be crucially important for us in future to be better able to meet demand in the peak season.- Ryszard Mosur