The solution is now in place at Guerlain’s main production site near Chartres, France. Guerlain is a subsidiary of luxury goods house LVMH and this facility, known as La Ruche (the beehive) is at the heart of France’s ‘cosmetics valley.’
Sidel already has a strong reputation within this world-renowned cluster, with many other luxury brands choosing its robotic case packers, palletisers and combi solutions for the high levels of efficiency and product care that this exclusive industry demands. The Champagne and cognac industries have also selected Sidel technology for its traceability and aggregation capabilities, as has the pharmaceutical industry, which uses even more complex and stringent serialisation and track & trace systems with real-time marking, tracking and aggregation.
“Sidel embedded every aspect of product labelling, control and rejection that we requested, and adapted the end-of-line process to suit our traceability needs,” says Aurélien Bernier, Investment Capacity Project Manager at Guerlain.
The robotic packing and palletising combi solution, designed by Sidel to function in a compact space of less than 20m2, manages the physical flow of products, cases and pallets. It handles 60 cartons of skincare products bottles per minute in four formats. Each carton, case and pallet is tagged using bar codes and labels which are read, recorded and aggregated into the Guerlain central database. This means that Guerlain, at any time, can guarantee the product origin and full characteristics by searching its central database, and can remove any counterfeit products that are not recorded, or identify any product distributed in the wrong marketplace. Sidel’s end of line equipment is asked to generate more than 4,000 information exchanges per pallet to control the full quality process, while at the same time keeping a high level of machine availability and efficiency with error margins of less than 1% per production order.
In this high added-value industry, product care and integrity is key. Cartons are fully protected from infeed, batch collation and case packing by adapted belt and guides fitted with a protective felt covering to ensure limited abrasion and frictions.
“We were aware of Sidel’s reputation for high levels of traceability and were very impressed by its ability to tailor and finetune the automation to our process needs and traceability requirements,” continues Aurélien.
“Sidel also had to adapt their machine automation and communication protocols into our IT and central database set-up – we can’t permit modifications because the same system is used throughout LVMH Group perfume and cosmetics facilities.”
Sidel has provided its luxury goods customer with a tailored automated solution at the same time as strengthening its quality processes. Its agility and expertise has enabled Guerlain, with its long history of making hand-crafted beauty products, to retain the precision and adaptability of manual operation while moving to full automation.