The challenge

Suntory Japan is a worldwide leader in beverage production and manufacturer of soft drinks and spirits. Its newest bottling facility in Shinano-no-mori is the production home of Tennensui mineral water, which is packaged in one of Japan’s lightest PET bottles. Due to the bottle’s lightweight nature there are increased quality risks during production, as they can be easily dented from falling or contact between bottles. With Suntory Japan’s key priority to achieve the highest levels of quality for its customers, the beverage manufacturer called on Sidel for a product handling solution that would ensure full product care by protecting the pack’s exterior and preventing the bottles from falling and colliding.

The solution

Suntory Japan approached Sidel to implement the Gebo AQFlex® in its new plant after witnessing its success at Suntory France. Sidel’s product conveying and accumulation solution ensures the highest level of product quality due to its gentle, 100% contactless and single-lane handling of containers. Offering a compact, all-in-one design and operating fully automatically at an efficiency greater than 99.5% whatever the speed, the Gebo AQFlex® can improve production line layout while ensuring product quality. While Suntory Japan currently only manufactures two types of bottles at its new plant, the small 550-mL plastic bottle and the large 2-L plastic bottle, Sidel’s Gebo AQFlex® offers enhanced flexibility which can easily increase and introduce new bottle formats if needed in the future.  

The outcome

Although the installation of the solution commenced during Covid-19, limiting the ability of Gebo AQFlex® experts to physically visit the plant, Sidel fully supported Suntory Japan in the setup. The project demonstrated Sidel’s focus on prioritising its customers needs, which was shown through the performance of the equipment and full dedication in project support and follow-ups. The new contactless accumulation solution has supported Suntory Japan in improving overall line performance while also achieving high product quality standards.

"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."

Toshiya Kobayashi

Chief Operating Officer, Global Technical Department

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