Canadian Packaging

Bang For The Buck


June 8, 2009
by George Guidoni, Editor

It takes a whole lot of engineering smarts and know-how to design, build and install a world-class beverage bottling line, and even more so to maintain it operating a peak efficiency, day-in and day-out, long after that massive initial investment in capital equipment.

In fact, even more so in times of economic gloom and anxiety, when even the world’s leading and bestselling beverage producers suddenly find themselves short of the funds they need to upgrade their production and packaging operations in order to retain their productivity and cost competitiveness one step ahead of the competition.

When every penny counts like never before, every piece of equipment and each step in the manufacturing process becomes a virtual cost center in its own right, and getting those costs down in a thoughtful, comprehensive approach without creating additional headaches and production bottlenecks is often beyond the in-house expertise and knowledge of many beverage and liquid-food producers that, quite simply, usually have enough on their plate already.

Seen in this light, the recent formation of the Sidel Engineering & Conveying unit—a wholly-owned subsidiary of the France-headquartered beverage line equipment manufacturing group Sidel—could not come a moment too soon, according to the new Sidel division’s executive vice-president Marc Aury.

“The creation of Sidel Engineering & Conveying demonstrates that Sidel is much more than just an equipment and turnkey line manufacturer: we also have unmatched experience in the custom design and redesign of production lines, with a view to optimizing performance,” says the 47-year-old Aury, former CEO of the French-based conveyor engineering services group Gebo that Sidel acquired in 1997.

Having moved to Canada in 1991 to head the formerly-called Gebo Canada Inc.—renamed Sidel Canada Inc. following Sidel’s 2002 buyout by the Swedish industrial conglomerate Tetra Laval, Aury says he is happy to see the company’s conveying systems design and assembly facility just outside of Montreal in Laval, Que., to be playing a central role in the marketplace success of the new Sidel venture, which is expected to make up for the sharp shortfall in the sales of turnkey beverage lines worldwide during the current recession.

“We have seen sales of turnkey beverage lines fall by between 30 and 35 per cent since this current economic crisis began,” Aury told Canadian Packaging in a recent interview, “as many of our customers have really put their feet on the brakes in purchasing new capital equipment.