New diagnostic audits for determining the real causes of degradation of containers on packaging lines

These two new options will soon be included into its overall EITTM(Efficiency Improvement Tool) solution. They detect, locate, and measure the critical points on the packaging line. By using the information from the audit, the Gebo expertise sees the analysis through to its conclusion by giving recommendations for improvement and by implementing changes that are identified as being necessary. With a commitment to achieve results, Gebo is thus able to be in a unique market position based on its know-how in packaging machines, conveyors and engineering: offering expert auditing and implementation of action plans.


Problems of breakage and damage on primary packaging


Weakened primary packaging

Shocks that are too violent or repeated too often and/or untimely pressures at certain points of the packaging line can affect primary packaging. Such malfunctioning results in damage: abrasion of labels, and scratching, deformations, or indeed cracking and breakage of the container.


The phenomenon concerns:

  • Glass and PET bottles, cans, and glass jars.
  • Alcoholic beverages, in particular beer, and wines & spirits, notably champagne and brandy.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages: sodas, fruit juices, and mineral waters.

Four factors can combine to weaken the containers travelling along the packaging line:

  • Natural variations in temperature and humidity, and condensation, influencing the freeness of flow of the containers and of the packaging along the line or through certain items of equipment.
  • Deficient servicing, maintenance, and cleaning of the production tools, in particular absence of lubrication.
  • Use of primary packaging that is lighter (of reduced weight and/or of reduced thickness), which increases its sensitivity to pressure and to shocks.
  • Optimization or elimination of secondary packaging, which makes the products more exposed while the packaging units are being conveyed or while they are being palletized.

Costly damage

Depending on its type and on the time at which it is discovered, the damage caused has consequences that are of various levels of seriousness on the efficiency of the line and on the image of the products:

  • Depending on the place at which the incident occurs, a bottle that breaks causes the machine to stop or the entire line to be brought to a standstill, and requires the debris to be removed and the portion in question to be cleaned, not to mention the danger for the operators.
  • Product loss or wastage may comprise the container and its contents, or the entire batch, or sometimes even the entire pallet, depending on the time at which the breakage is discovered.
  • A scratched glass bottle, a deformed can, or an abraded label are disservices to the brand image and to the product image when the damage is not detected.

And yet, through lack of an appropriate diagnostics solution, the phenomenon has never been the subject of an objective survey in situ, making it possible to characterize the real causes and to propose an action plan that administers the appropriate level of corrective action to each point.


Gebo Cermex has the answer: understand and take action


The solution the market was waiting for

Based on the concept that a situation can be improved only if it has been accurately measured, the “shocks” audit and/or the “pressure” audit that have been recently proposed by Gebo offer businesses a solution that is backed up by a process and that is capable of taking up the challenges:

  • Measuring, in situ, the shocks and/or the pressures to which the containers are subjected
  • Quantifying the consequences of the damage suffered
  • Comparing the results with reference values
  • Locating the causes
  • Establishing diagnostics of the solutions
  • Proposing a corrective action plan

Eric Hache, Asset Performance Manager, explains the philosophy of how we intervene: “Our first deliverable is an action plan for reducing the shocks and the pressure, and for reducing the damage caused to the container. Our expertise in packaging machines, conveyors and engineering then enables us quite naturally to propose implementation of the plan to our clients, regardless of whether or not their lines and machines were supplied by Gebo Cermex. We intervene in particular on adjusting the control system for regulating the line, on improving the automated control or the mechanics of the interface and transfer zones, on adjusting or changing the machine infeeds, and, where necessary, on re-engineering a portion of the line.”


Two new audit options

The “shocks” and “pressure” audits constitute two new options in addition to the range of packaging line audit solutions proposed by Gebo:

  • The “shocks” audit measures the shocks and the impacts on the packaging line.
  • The “pressure” audit detects the abnormal pressure zones and the line regulation problems, current market trends being to limit pressures to as low as possible (tending towards 0 pressure) and to reduce the accumulation zones.

The “shocks” and “pressure” audits study all of the conveying and accumulation phases, and also what occurs inside the items of equipment, such as, for example, fillers, cappers, case packers, bundlers, wrappers, or palletizers/depalletizers.


Technology that combines a sensor with software

  • A sensor protected by a container:
  • Shock sensor: accelerometers making it possible to calculate deceleration on 3 axes, inserted in a hard plastic (acetal) container of the same shape as the packaging handled by the line;
  • Pressure sensor: cylinder incorporating 500 pressure measurement points distributed over the outside of the container.
  • Software that records data readings in real time, the software being installed on a tablet or on a laptop computer.

An innovative approach that reinforces Gebo Cermex’s position as leader in improving the productivity of packaging lines


A proposal that is unique on the market

Global leader in packaging line engineering, Gebo Cermex is the only player to propose a full range of services incorporating:

  • advanced in situ measurement technology: checking the V-graph, measuring friction, shocks and pressure, and assessing any shocks inside the machines;
  • analyzing the measurements: characterizing the real causes of the damage to the packaging, and identifying the potential risk zones;
  • the action plan; and
  • implementing corrective measures with a commitment to achieving results through the corrective actions.

Full-scale validation in 2014, followed by a further improved version in 2015

In 2014, Gebo “shocks” and “pressure” audits were conducted on about fifteen packaging lines for beers, mineral waters, and sodas. The positive return on experience resulted in validation of the Gebo Cermex approach and of the technology implemented.


In 2015, the “shocks” and “pressure” audits will be enriched with new features, including automatic geolocation of critical points. These audits will then join the EITTM platform as new modules in Gebo’s overall solution for analyzing and improving productivity. It will then be possible to compile the data collected in the platform and to cross-correlate it with the data processed by other modules.


Ultimately, automatic regulation of the packaging line

The interfacing of the data that will soon be allowed by integrating the “shocks” and “pressure” audits into Gebo’s overall solution EITTM prefigures a revolution to come, taking us beyond detection and analysis: automatic regulation of the line depending on the detected events.


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