Canadian Packaging

Making Industry 4.0 opportunities a reality

By Canadian Packaging staff   

Automation Design & Innovation General Agility 4.0 programme drinkteac 2017 Gebo Cermex Sidel Group

Industry 4.0 a prime focus for Sidel Group at Drinktec 2017.

At drinkteac 2017, the ‘World’s Leading Trade Fair for the Beverage and Liquid Food Industry’ taking place in Munich, Germany September 11-15, 2017, co-exhibitors Sidel and Gebo Cermex both of the Sidel Group at Stand A6.330, the companies will showcase its Agility 4.0 programme.

The initiative is to help manufacturers and brand owners shift from mass production to mass customization, and gain the many benefits of Industry 4.0, while boosting Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and sustainability and minimizing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

While consumers want more customized products, they also want them fast and at the right price. This has contributed to the rise of Industry 4.0, the adoption of intelligent cyber-physical solutions and increased automation in production plants.

Commenting on the role of Agility 4.0 and its focus at Drinktec, Sidel executive vice-president for product management and development Frederic Sailly explains: “The Agility 4.0 programme is an award-winning, proven and pragmatic approach to manufacturing that we have developed with a view to achieving three overall benefits: improved understanding, enhanced performance, and product mass customization together with traceability.

“The programme provides tangible answers to liquid packaging producers’ needs, ranging from faster changeovers to reduced maintenance, less storage, less waste, higher product quality and faster time to market – all of which increase performance and reduce costs.”

The tools and solutions of Agility 4.0 are grouped around the programme’s five pillars:

1) Virtual Factory
The main principle of the virtual factory is to accurately simulate and test daily operations in a production plant before execution. This can be a computer model simulation of a new line to evaluate its performance, a digital twin to optimize the assets in real time or computer training of operators using virtual reality to let them practice on computer-generated equipment. Such simulation allows producers to both visualize and forecast to increase the likelihood of successful implementation and to minimize expenditure, as they can be reassured they only invest in exactly what they need.

2) Smart Factory
The smart factory leverages digital technologies, such as robots, cobots and intelligent kinematics, to improve performance. This includes assisting operators working on repetitive tasks to increase operations reliability over time and to allow human intelligence be used for tasks that can keep line performance as high as possible. The new generation of Human Machine Interface (HMI) makes operation easier by being intuitive to use with in-built tutorials and other manuals that further improve efficiency and reduce machine downtimes. This combination of machine and human intelligence is at the heart of the smart factory solutions.

3) Connected Factory
By connecting and integrating the equipment on a plant, data generated can be used to optimize performance and predict any need for maintenance. Data can also be integrated upstream to ensure a constant stream of ingredients and downstream to keep distribution smooth and avoid overstocking or unnecessary storage. Advanced analytics can be run to sustain highest performance over time and assist in decision making at all levels of the organization. Furthermore, remote assistance and augmented reality secure increased asset utilization and improved maintainability.

4) Sustainable Factory
Eco-friendliness is one of Agility 4.0’s core pillars. By making it possible to produce smaller batches closer to consumer centers, manufacturers reduce their need to distribute over long distances, contributing to a more sustainable approach. By reducing energy and water consumption, using new lightweight materials as well as 3D-printed components, this framework also helps customers minimize OPEX.

5) Extended Factory
Focusing on intralogistics and deployed through the dematerialized layout, this portfolio of solutions offers manufacturers access to enhanced flexibility and asset utilization, increasing their capability to introduce new products. For instance, shuttles or Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) can digitally connect all machines in a production environment.

Elaborating on this last point, Gebo Cermex vice-president of strategy, products and innovation Ludovic Tanchou comments: “When it comes to answering customers’ needs in the Industry 4.0 era, the extended factory represents the Sidel Group vision. Instead of using a traditional conveyor to simply take the product from A to B in a linear production process, mobile handling can now be used to move the semi-finished or finished items from any filler, to any labeler to any packing machine. This flexible shop floor layout can even be used alongside dedicated lines with their physical connections. It will, of course, greatly enable the goal of mass customization rather than mass production.”

He summarizes by saying: “A result of the group’s strong partnerships with industry-leading players in robotics, automation and smart systems, the Agility 4.0 programme from the Sidel Group is designed to be future-proof, helping producers and brand owners face the fourth industrial revolution. It does so by creating a digital factory that can improve performance – even in a fast changing environment, while reducing non-productive sequences and minimizing costs.”

The Sidel Group is formed by the union of two strong brands, Sidel and Gebo Cermex. Together, it is a leading provider of equipment and services for packaging liquid, food, home and personal care products in PET, can, glass and other materials. With over 37,000 machines installed in more than 190 countries, the companies have nearly 170 years of proven experience, with a strong focus on advanced systems, line engineering and innovation. Its 5,000+ employees worldwide are passionate about providing complete solutions that fulfill customer needs and boost the performance of their lines, products and businesses.

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