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HCCB Sets Up India’s first Vertical Beverage Manufacturing Plant in Siliguri

The primarily women-led, vertical factory is out to defy all norms, structurally and architecturally.

HCCB hits another milestone in 2022 with the launch of its primarily women-driven, vertical factory in Siliguri, West Bengal. This is the second HCCB factory to be set up in Siliguri and the first ever vertical beverage manufacturing plant in India. It is also the first manufacturing entity to be equipped with a vertical Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP).

The structure is breaking several established norms and venturing into a new space in terms of workflow and organisation. It stands at a vertical height of 30 meters, within a space of just 6.9 acres and employs 65% women in its workforce

This is only the starting point in a revolution of transforming the way organisations are built.

Overcoming Geographical Challenges

Around 35,000 cubic metres of concrete, 6,000 metric tonnes of reinforcement steel and 13 kilometres of narrow steel pipeline have gone into the beverage plant, which roughly translates to around 10% of the concrete and 17% of the reinforcement steel used in the construction of the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai! 

But that’s not all that it takes to keep the structure standing.

Our aim was to build a factory that optimizes land usage by using a compact design, hence the idea of a vertical structure was born. However, one common problem with the Siliguri industry, located in West Bengal, is that it is a highly seismic zone, this posed the biggest challenge as the factory had to be designed in such a way that the building could withstand earthquakes. 

Leaving no stone unturned, the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages team reached out to a retired senior professor from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore. After a detailed risk analysis and study of the soil structure and the earthquake safety rules and guidelines of the place, the IISc Professor came up with a design that was further vetted by IIT Mumbai.

The second challenge came in the form of high groundwater levels, which made going deep for the foundation a difficult proposition. 

To tackle this problem, the Raft Foundation method was used, which uses a merely 3 feet deep foundation, heavily reinforced with concrete and steel along with the columns and beams to support the vertical factory.

It was after all these layers of risk analysis that the design and engineering team developed a blueprint of rock-solid credibility, ready to withstand any force of nature.

Let’s Look at the Logistics

Fitting 45 acres worth of equipment and machinery into a 6.9 acre plot is no small task, but HCCB has managed to achieve just that. How?-you may ask. Well, if you can’t build across, you build up

In an ironic twist, the space limitations have only broadened the conceptualization of the structure, every inch of space has been thought out and utilized to the fullest. The factory in Siliguri implements the concept of Ergo Block, a first in HCCB history. This means that the three major manufacturing processes, blowing, labelling and filling are combined as one unit and placed at one place, to be managed by just one team.

Fitting in a Vertical Effluent Treatment Plant 

The construction of the Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) of the factory is another notable departure from established design principles. The ETP is one of the most crucial components of any Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages factory because it allows us to treat effluents to the point where the treated water can support aquatic life. 

Through attention to such details, we are able to ensure that our environmental sustainability and waste management efforts reflect positively on our environment.

In horizontally spread factories, the ETP is located on the base floor. However, due to the vertical structure of the factory in Siliguri, the ETP is spread across all five floors and built based on the raft foundation technique. This way, the effluent can be carried across any of the five levels according to predefined and digitally monitored metrics, and the load of the ETP is distributed across floors, which allows it to hold a much higher quantity of effluent.

Thus, our water management system is precisely designed to ensure efficient water usage. We have previously won the prestigious National Water Mission Award (2019) in recognition of our robust water management practices at HCCB Atmakaru, Andhra Pradesh.

A New Way of Working

If the factory in Siliguri has been built by the very best, it only follows that it be led by the very best too. The teams stationed at this location participated actively in the process of installation, right from the very beginning. The teams got an excellent opportunity to learn from the equipment and technology providers.       

Veering off the beaten path, the beverage plant has also done away with functional silos. For example, the person managing operations of the Mixer for the sparkling line and the Pasteuriser of the hot fill line is also made responsible for maintenance of the equipment and quality of the products. In other words, there are no separate teams for production and quality. The idea is to instil a sense of ownership among team members, fostering personal and professional growth in the workplace.

From the Structural to the Digital 

The exemplary design and structure is not the only thing unique about this factory. HCCB has partnered with some of the world-class solution providers who collaborated to provide a holistic approach with cutting edge digitalisation of all the systems and processes.

Complete digitalization and interconnectivity of the machinery and manufacturing processes has been achieved through the best in class IT tools and software. Hundreds of machines are connected through embedded sensors and software to create an intricate system of collecting and analysing data.

The factory in Siliguri is truly an example of innovation at its finest. It optimises space while utilizing fewer resources, improving logistics, consuming less energy, minimising environmental impact and maximising human convenience. Taking inspiration from our fully digitally enabled beverage plant at Sanand, Ahmedabad—the factory in Siliguri is also equipped with the technology for complete digitisation of processes. All of these factors coupled together make it an exemplary beverage plant with the potential to change the history of future manufacturing entities in India.

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