Suntory Japan, a global leader in the production of soft drinks and spirits, has adopted Gebo AQFlex® a conveying and accumulation solution from Sidel, to ensure the highest level of product quality and operation at its new bottling facility.
With its smooth and contactless single-file handling of containers, Gebo AQFlex® was able to guarantee the full product integrity required by Suntory Japan while improving the overall line performance.
Suntory Japan’s latest bottling facility, Shinano-no-mori Plant, is the production home for Tennensui mineral water, produced in one of the lightest PET bottles in Japan. The light weight of the bottle increases quality risks during production, such as dents being caused by contact between the bottles, or bottles falling.
Suntory Japan required a product handling solution that would ensure full product care by protecting the bottle’s exterior and preventing the possibility of bottles falling. The beverage manufacturer turned to Sidel and made the decision to adopt Gebo AQFlex®. Designed for all types of containers, Sidel’s all-in-one product conveying and accumulation solution ensures the highest level of product quality, due to its gentle, 100% contactless and single-lane handling of containers, thus fully meeting Suntory Japan’s expectations.
Suntory Japan approached Sidel to implement the Gebo AQFlex® in its new plant after several visits and consultations at the Suntory France site witnessing first-hand the accumulation solution in action.
Offering a compact, all-in-one design and operating fully automatically at an efficiency of more than 99.5% whatever the speed, Sidels’ Gebo AQFlex® solution enables Suntory Japan to improve its line layout and guarantee the brand’s high level of productivity while ensuring the safety of its employees. Toshiya Kobayashi, Chief Operating Officer, Global Technical Department at Suntory Japan said, “ Gebo AQFlex® has improved our production line in many ways, from the space-saving aspect, the simplicity of layouts to the wide range of automation solutions, and it has contributed to improving the line’s operating rate and quality.”
The installation started during the pandemic as such Suntory Japan is fully supported by Sidel local technicians via a remote Factory Acceptance Test using AR glasses, and by providing 24/7 assistance during installation and commissioning. Once the pandemic recedes, Sidel’s team visited the plant to fine-tune the machines and optimise efficiency. As the only plant producing Tennensui mineral water, the site must run 24/7 therefore Sidel’s remote support proved even more important by ensuring the production line was never stopped.
While Suntory Japan currently only manufactures 2 types of bottles at its new plant i.e. the small, 550ml plastic bottle and the large 2 litre plastic bottle, Sidel’s Gebo AQFlex® offers enhanced flexibility which can easily increase and introduce new bottle formats if needed in the future.
Nicolas Bossert, Sidel Product and Business Development Manager said, “The solution can accommodate any product, whatever the application, in all container materials, formats and shapes. It is sold all around the world and can be used in many different market categories highlighting its impressive flexibility.”