Perrin owns 450 hectares of vineyards in the Provence region of France and exports Côtes du Rhône wine to the USA, Asia and China. The company’s sales have grown rapidly over the past twenty years, not only due to the success of its wines internationally but also due to the boom in premium rosés. To keep up with the continuous growth, Perrin increased its production shifts and decided to invest in modernising its end-of-line operations, with the aim of boosting capacity and productivity. Gaining the flexibility to handle a wide variety of bottles and formats, from half-bottles to magnums, was also key.
The need for a strong partner
With escalating sales, the level of sophistication and automation has become essential to this large-scale viticultural operation that now produces 35 million bottles a year.
“Innovating while keeping tradition is the rule in our family,” says Pierre Perrin, the firm’s Operations Director. Perrin knew it could depend on Sidel’s strong capacity for technological innovation as well as its engineering and design expertise, to find a holistic and custom-made solution. “Sidel has been with us while we have modernised our production tools and increased our hourly output. We naturally turned to them because they are specialists.”
The quality of service has confirmed the Perrin family's choice of Sidel. “For me, in addition to the quality of their advice, what is really essential is the support they provide before, during and after the sale,” continues Pierre Perrin “After-sales service definitely accounts for 50% of our choice, and that’s why Sidel is one of our partners.”
Innovating for advanced flexibility
Perrin was the first Sidel customer to experience the Cermex FlexiPack, and its team willingly and actively collaborated with Sidel’s engineers to optimise its reliability and operation. The machine allows fast and seamless changeovers in just a few minutes thanks to the automatic adjustment of lanes and gripping head. The packer also enables the easy creation of new formats directly from its user-friendly human-machine interface (HMI) which guides users step by step. The FlexiPack is preceded by a DiviArm solution which allows a smooth lane distribution of the bottles at the infeed, preventing any shocks which could damage the labels.
For palletisation, Perrin further demonstrated its willingness to innovate with its choice of a robotised solution – a rarity in the wine sector, which was also selected for its flexibility. The compact PalVite 4000 is almost entirely controlled from the HMI, from format changeovers, requiring only one manual adjustment of the case turner at the palletiser infeed, to the creation of new palletising patterns.
A tailor-made solution
Developing a new solution in existing premises sometimes requires special skills – ones that Sidel has developed during its 40 years of experience in the wine and spirits sector. The challenge of the project was both to design a custom-made solution able to manage the diversity and specificity of Perrin's formats, and to integrate it into a confined space.
“Installation was complex, since the building wasn’t designed for such large production lines. We had to push back the walls so that the machines would fit,” says Baptiste Andrieu, Technical Coordinator. “As well as the constraints in terms of the premises, we had quite specific bottle and case formats. Everybody adapted to our facilities and to our needs, and today it works well. Everything has been taken into account.”
From today's achievements to tomorrow's successes
The modernisation has succeeded in increasing production while at the same time reducing the amount of manual labour. In an operation previously requiring up to five operators, the new end of line needs just two technicians. This became invaluable during the pandemic, when Perrin could rely on this fully automated line, as well as Sidel’s built-in capacity to monitor and control the line remotely.
Sidel has designed its solution for Perrin with a margin for growth, anticipating both flourishing strong international sales and a continuing long-term partnership with this key wine industry partner. “Like all family businesses, we are loyal when we deal with partners who provide answers,” adds Pierre Perrin. “That was the case during this entire project, and this is why Sidel is our partner. We are fully satisfied with the result.”