Machine incidents caused by down and concealed bottles in the flow are rising in number at the end of the line, undermining the entire line's efficiency. To avoid its customers having to suffer the cost and downtime of total re-engineering of the conveying systems, Gebo Cermex offers its SecurFlow® technology designed by its robotic development team. Installed in Plug and Play on existing high-speed PET bottling lines, SecurFlow® detects down bottles and removes them from the conveyor.
Down bottles are a major challenge for bottling companies
PET bottles are changing
Optimization of material consumption is a response to economic and environmental requirements, which leads to the continual reduction in the weight of PET bottles. Their shape is also tending to evolve and diversify, to meet the demands of differentiation and personalization. Lighter and more slimline with a centre of gravity which is often higher, the new PET bottles have become less stable. They fall over easily during inter-machine conveying, laning /dividing or accumulation phases. This is particularly the case between the filler and the overwrapping machine (usually a shrink-wrapper), product handling systems not having been originally designed with these constraints.
The rise in fall rates poses an industrial problem
The presence of down bottles among the mass flow of bottles has an even more severe impact due to the fact that they are difficult to detect on a bulk conveyor or accumulation table, especially at high speed. The fallen bottles disrupt line operation at multiple critical points, often causing downtime. In particular, if down bottles reach the feed of the shrink-wrapper, they block the machine infeed system.
The existing industrial set-up should not be a barrier to innovation
Consumers react positively to the creativity of designers and the introduction of new bottle shapes to showcase the qualities of their favourite drink. Gebo Cermex felt it had a duty to offer a simple and effective solution which maintains the efficiency of the bottling line so as to avoid its industrial customers the hassle of a long and costly reengineering process every time there is a noticeable change in shape.
SecurFlow®, the solution devised by the Gebo Cermex robotic development team
A Plug and Play solution
SecurFlow® has just come up with an innovative solution to the problem of down bottles on the bottling line without changing the existing set-up and for any existing type of line. The equipment designed by the Gebo Cermex robotic development team consists of a high-performance detection system capable of identifying a down bottle in the middle of the product flow, a 6-axis robot with adapted tooling to evacuate down bottles and a rejection bin in which they are dropped off. Protected by a pending patent, SecurFlow® can be installed without modification on any type of accumulation conveyor.
The advantages of SecurFlow®
- High performance thanks to its advanced detection system, SecurFlow® eliminates 99% of down bottles.
- SecurFlow® is effective at high speed, up to 130,000 bottles/hour.
- Independent of other equipment in use, it fits into 90% of standard bottling lines.
- SecurFlow® is an autonomous system which is installed in Plug & Play without lengthy line downtimes.
- Sleek and compact, SecurFlowTM takes up minimal space on the line.
The end of machine downtime due to the presence of bottles lying down
SecurFlow® detects and removes down bottles from the conveyor, avoiding blockages and interruptions, particularly when they enter the infeed channels of the shrink-wrapper. Cermex Gebo's innovation therefore acts on the critical phase of the end-of-line process, by ensuring a constant and high-speed product flow of the secondary packaging system.
Vincent Piron, Product Manager engineering, integration and conveying:
"Designed for existing PET bottling lines, SecurFlow® can be successfully implemented in other contexts. For example, optimisation of new high-speed lines to achieve very high efficiencies in excess of 92%, with bottles of complex shapes. Validated for PET bottles, we believe that our new equipment could represent a solution for other primary packaging likely to fall over during conveying. Plastic bottles for home & personal care are part of our current research and development effort as are glass bottles. We are also considering problems occurring upstream of filling, which could in particular concern empty glass containers: bottles, pots and jars. The efficiency potentials are numerous where SecurFlow®will emerge as a simple and practical solution".