Tour of Nestlė

Above are cases of Nestlé Pure Life® Water on the shelf at the Wal-Mart store in Lafayette, Tennessee. 

We would like to show you how cases of water are manufactured at the Nestlé Macon County Bottling Plant in Red Boiling Springs.

 

All of the pictures on this page are thumbnails.
You may click on a picture to enlarge it.

 

 


The Nestlé Macon County Plant

 


Front Entrance

 

 

The Products

Nestlé manufactures three SKUs of Nestlé Pure Life water at the Macon County Bottling Plant.  An SKU ("Stock Keeping Unit") is a product that would be sold at a retail store.  The three SKUs are:

Type of Water Size Bottle Number of Bottles in a Case
Purified 1/2 liter 12
Purified 1/2 liter 24
Purified 1/2 liter 32

 

 

The Water

The water comes from protected springs on the Nestlé property in Red Boiling Springs.

 

 

Filtering

The water is filtered by reverse osmosis.  This removes all minerals from the water.  (Later in the production process, a carefully-prepared mixture of minerals will be added back to the water.  This gives the water a consistent taste that consumers like.)

 


Purified Water Filtering System

 

 

Making Pre-forms

Food-grade plastic pellets arrive by truck at the Macon County Bottling Plant.  The plastic is melted and is formed into "pre-forms" in an injection molding machine.  The pre-forms will shortly turn into bottles.

 


Injection molding machine

 


Picture of four pre-forms.  Each is about 3.25" long.
Note how the threads for the bottle cap are already formed.

 


Container of tens of thousands of pre-forms

 

 

Making Bottles

A forklift takes the container of pre-forms to a machine which injects air into them.  The net result is tens of thousands of clear plastic bottles.  Each bottle is formed with ridges that help you hold it in your hand.

 


Clear bottles after coming out of the forming machine.
 


Clear bottles ready to go into the filling machine.

 

 

Filling

This is the step where the water and the bottles meet.  In this machine, the bottles are filled with water, and the bottle caps are applied.

There are three bottling lines, and each line bottles 1,200 bottles per minute!

 

 

 

Labeling

This machine applies labels to the individual bottles.  In the lower left of the picture you can see several packages of blue labels for Nestlé Pure Life Purified Water.  An operator will feed the stacks of labels into the machine.  The bottles of water arrive at this machine on a conveyor belt from the filling machine.

 

 

 

Out of Filling Room

After the bottles are labeled, they collect on huge conveyor belts shown below.  Thousands and thousands of bottles are now ready to go into cases.

 

 

 

Testing

At least once an hour, a Quality Control technician pulls a bottle of water off the line and tests the water to insure it meets Nestlé's strict standards.

 

 

Making Cases

Below you can see pallets of corrugated (cardboard).  The corrugated is fed into the bottom of the machine at the left of the picture.  The bottles of water are still traveling on a conveyor belt.  The corrugated will come up under the bottles.

 

 

In the picture below, you can see how the machine has placed 32 bottles on top of a piece of corrugated.  (This particular machine is running cases of 32 bottles today.  It could be set up to run cases of 12 or 24.)

 

 

In the picture below, a film is applied to the case.  The film has the UPC bar code on it, the name of the product and other information.  These cases of water are now complete: 32 bottles of water, sitting on a piece of corrugated, and wrapped in film.

 

 

 

Palletizing

The cases of water travel us a spiral conveyor belt which takes them into a palletizing machine.

 

In the picture below, you can see that the cases of Nestlé Pure Life Purified Water are now sitting on a pallet.  This machine is wrapping the entire pallet in shrink wrap.

 

In the picture below, the pallet automatically comes out of the palletizer.  It is ready to go to the warehouse.

 

 

 

Warehouse

Forklifts take the pallets into the warehouse where they are ready to ship.  The warehouse at the Nestlé Macon County Bottling Plant currently holds 1.1 million cases of water.  (This figure is based on an average of 24 bottles to a case and 72 cases to a pallet.)

 

 

 

Shipping

Nestlé ships about 60,000 cases of water per day.  On an average day, this means 60 loaded tractor trailer trucks will leave the plant.  The trucks will normally go to customers' distribution centers, and the customers will then deliver the cases of water to individual stores.

Although the average is 60 trucks a day, Nestlé sometimes ships a lot more.  After the 2004 hurricanes in Florida, for example, the Nestlé plant was able to send out 130 trucks a day!

 

 

 

Retail Store

Here are cases of Nestlé Pure Life purified water on the shelf at the Walmart store in Lafayette, Tennessee.  They are ready for you to take home and enjoy!

 

 

Return to the Nestlé Waters page.