Some of you may recall this photo I took of a visitor at the 2009 Panaga Highland Games and think nothing more of it other than it was a very hot afternoon at the Panaga sports field and you just couldn’t have enough water to stay hydrated. Up until recently when I had an opportunity to visit the SEHAT factory with the Beach Bunch, I knew very little about the business of bottled water in general, much less the process of producing Brunei’s first Pure Artesian Water, groundwater that is under sufficient pressure to rise above the level at which it encounters a well, but which does not necessarily rise to or above the surface of the ground.
A visitor at the 2009 Panaga Highland Games and a bottle of chilled SEHAT water.
IBIC Sendirian Berhad, the company behind the SEHAT brand, has accommodated numerous external visits including both my children during one of their school excursions. My turn came during an educational visit with the Beach Bunch and I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity especially when SEHAT factory is just 15 – 20 minutes away from where I am. Many thanks to the folks at SEHAT for the tour and unrestricted photography of their premise. [ more photographs of the SEHAT visit on Facebook ]
At the SEHAT factory, Rizan takes the opportunity to uncap burning questions he's bottled up for a long time (pun intended).
Members of Beach Bunch check the labels for mineral content of SEHAT water.
These white pellets (pictured below) called polyethylene terephthalate are raw materials from which SEHAT bottles are made at this section of the factory. The working condition during our visit was too warm that what we Bruneians are normally used to for comfort.
1500 ML and 600 ML bottles are produced with modern machineries. The whole bottle making process is handled automatically. Basically, the small pack bottle is made in several phases:
Injection Phase, where the melted PET is injected into mould to form the initial shape of the bottle
Moulding Phase, the shape of the bottle is almost finalized
Blowing Phase, this is a high pressure blowing which will shape the final bottle as you have seen in our 1500 ML and 600 ML bottle type.
SEHAT bottle in its purest form — raw materials Polyethylene Terephthalate sourced from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Rizan takes a closer look at the array of pipes in the 'ozone room' where water undergoes sterilization.
Rizan discerns water samples from the various 'test fountains'
Not exactly the fountain of youth but a highly popular part of the tour here where some of us got to sample water from various stages of filtration.
[ Visit SEHAT official website for more information about its water treatment processes ]
I don't what this chamber is called by its proper name but picture an automatic car wash and you'll quickly understand its purpose: an assembly line to steam clean 5 gallon water cooler bottles
Sehat gladly accommodated our request for a demo without which the tour would be incomplete. 5 gallon bottles are mounted onto assembly line that feeds bottles in pairs into the heated chamber where process of washing and cleaning takes place.
Combine heat and water and you normally get a foggy scene that makes photographing difficult. It took a while before an opportune moment happens for a clear shot.
At the end of the assembly line, clean bottles are automatically collected by actuator arms much like a fork lift and whisked away for storage.
Now the really interest part of the factory tour: labelling and packaging of SEHAT water bottles …
Commercial water bottling is a labour intensive to ensure customers receive zero defect products.
At the end of the assembly line is where SEHAT bottles are packed into boxes and stored in a properly maintained warehouse.
The finishing product is labeled and sealed. During which, we still visualize the product to avoid any defect before it is distributed to the market. This to ensure the highest possible of water quality when it reaches the customers.
Coding is done to monitor the production and distribution of Sehat water. This helps in market expansion and traceability of Sehat bottled water.
The filling process is done in an aseptic room by using automated machineries. The whole process is strictly monitored and controlled including the operational personnel. Therefore, “Sehat” water is a high quality drinking water which can be consumed by everybody.
Similarly, capping is also done in an aseptic room with high technology equipment. IBIC Sdn Bhd uses “Screw Cap” for the water capping and it is designed for the purpose of durability and functionality. Meaning, these caps have been tested for leakage as well as the ease of opening and closing the water bottle during consumption time.
This part of the assembly line is where cap labels are shrink wrapped through application of heat for a perfect and uniform seal.
A worker discards a rejected bottle from the assembly line to ensure the highest possible of water and manufacturing quality when it reaches the end customers.
A container of discarded water bottles through manual visual inspection by workers.
An experienced pair of hands is as efficient as a factory robot except the volume of production for local consumption probably doesn't warrant such high tech investment.
A member of the Beach Bunch, Tiger Lim, tries his hands at packing and picks up a trick or two.
So while Tiger is busy slotting bottles of SEHAT water into boxes, he has not successfully made this worker redundant. At the end of the line, staff seals boxes to be stored at the warehouse for distribution.
[ more photographs of the SEHAT visit on Facebook ]
A peek inside a laboratory storage where 5 kinds of microbacteria are kept for periodic and routine testing of water samples. Laboratory testing is done frequently and based on international recognized standard such as: HACCP, ISO 9000/2000, and GMP.