Frequently Asked Questions

When John Cooke started the company, he wanted to give it a name that sounded industrial, and he did not want it to tie the company to the water industry only. His father suggested “Greenhead” with the logo being that of a duck. John was not particularly fond of ducks, but it occurred to him that he could substitute the word “steel” for “green” to make Steelhead. This sounded industrial but was generic and catchy, and that is what we have gone by ever since. John learned later of the famous fish that goes by the same name, and most people today assume that we are named after that great fighting trout. It is a good thing that John didn’t know about our namesake, because he was never that fond of fishing either!

Absolutely, all at our factory in San Antonio, Texas, USA. We produce all of our own designs for bottling systems and water treatment. If we source and supply equipment to help fill out a bottling line, we tell you where it is coming from, and pride ourselves on only associating with reputable industry partners.

Yes, we have full time personnel just to handle our customer base needs; in addition we have global sales and service agents also fully trained in supporting our equipment. Phone support is always available and free.

We have shipped systems to over 70 countries. We can supply machinery in any voltage and configuration necessary, no matter where you are.We also have global sales and support offices strategically located.

We don’t make small package systems, but we can definitely integrate them into your bottling system, or point you in the right direction. We have great industry partners that we work with to provide the right solution for you.

Steelhead is an engineering based company with vast experience in the bottle water industry, both in direct bottling and equipment design and manufacturer. Our entire team from sales, engineering, and service are all highly experienced with vast industry knowledge of both regulatory and plant design. We offer full plant design support and also guidance, in addition to specialized equipment designs and configurations meeting specific customer needs.

Steelhead is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of standard and specialized water treatment and enhancement systems, which includes reverse osmosis, filtration, carbon and multimedia, ozone sterilization systems, and mineral injection. We can design and deliver a system to handle almost any source water condition, and have the staff to support analysis and review of your source water providing recommended treatment options.

Steelhead is very proactive with both the IBWA, FDA, and other regulatory committees ensuring our equipment is always meeting past and current regulatory requirements. We are a fully NSF certified company, and our products meet or exceed IBWA, FDA, and WQA guidelines. We are proactive with our customers in supporting during regulatory audits and supplying required documentation and guidelines concerning our equipment. Our Ultra Series bottle washers have been certified by NSF for bacteriological log reduction meeting upcoming FSMA guidelines and requirements.

First, you’ll need to have your water source tested to determine which contaminants may be present, Steelhead can provide laboratories that can assist in this testing or have a sample tested for you at our factory for a minimal cost.. If you’re located outside the United States, check into bottled water regulations that may apply to you. Steelhead sales and service technicians can help you find out where you need to go for information.

In the U.S., bottled water in the U.S. is considered a food product, so is subject to Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. This test will give you an idea of the type of water treatment equipment you’ll need to operate within federal, state and industry standards. Because of Steelhead’s broad experience in the industry, our technicians can lead you through the testing phase. They’ll also help you decide what bottling equipment would be best for the projected size of your operation.

You’ll also want to contact your state or local authority to understand the regulations associated with setting up a bottling plant in your area. In the U.S., the State Health Department or Department of Agriculture are good places to start.

Another thing to consider is the location of your source, and is it a suitable location to support a bottle water plant? What is its location relative to your consumer base? Location is everything when considering bottling and distribution costs.

This depends on a variety of factors including:

  1. Amount of water you’re bottling per day and required treatment equipment?
  2. Bottle sizes (market segments which include small package PET, 4-10L including 1 gallon, and large format 3-5 Gallon home and office delivery); production speeds you require?
  3. Level of automation you require, reducing required manpower; more automation requires more space?
  4. Will you be buying your bottles, or manufacturing your bottles on site?

You want to select equipment that matches your production requirements into the foreseeable future, plus 5 years or so. You need to take into consideration the growth in your local market, and account growth you expect over this period. Don’t over invest, but do not make the mistake of under investment and plant sizing to begin with. Steelhead experts can help guide you in all phases of your business plan development, and ensure you get started on the right foot.

This depends on the segment of market you intend to get in, production capacity projections, location, building availability, source type and readiness, etc. Steelhead experts can help you in determining estimated start-up costs, and also put you in contact with local and national associations for assistance. Concerning bottling and treatment equipment pricing can range to entry level manual or semi-automated start-up plants from $50,000.00 to $100,000.00 usd to $2,000,000.00 usd and higher for larger and more automated solutions.

This is a big question and depends on a variety of factors including:

  1. Amount of water you’re bottling per day and required treatment equipment?
  2. Bottle sizes (market segments) and production speeds you require?
  3. Daily and Weekly sales and marketing projections?
  4. Level of automation you require, reducing required manpower; more automation requires more space?
  5. Will you be buying your bottles, or manufacturing your bottles on site?
  6. Levels of consumable inventory and warehousing space is required, which is also tied to 2 and 4 above?
  7. A Steelhead sales technician can help guide you on many of these questions and make recommendations. We offer small manual and semi-automatic solutions utilizing minimal space, and also more advanced and automated designs taking larger footprints.

Steelhead can assist in providing sources for all your consumable and support needs, no matter where you are globally. We have partner companies and agents around the world, along with our affiliation with local and international associations; providing us the ability to provide you everything needed to make you successful in the bottle water industry.

Our 3-5 gallon equipment was designed to run both Polycarbonate and PET returnable bottles with a 55mm nick finish, however with changing market strategies we have adapted these machines to run 3,4, and 5 gallon non-returnable PET also, and also provide solutions to handle screw caps, and smaller format bottles down to 10L on same equipment. Other solutions are available for different bottle designs and sizes, call for details.