Food & Beverage Asia Aug/Sep 2020

F ounded in 1899 in Osaka, Suntory Group is one of the oldest and largest companies in beverage distribution in Japan, and has 300 subsidiary companies under its name. The French company, Orangina Suntory France, was acquired by the group in 2009. As a manufacturer of fruit drinks in the French market with 20.2% of market share value in 2019 and four production sites in France – La Courneuve, Meyzieu, Donnery and Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne – Orangina Suntory France recorded an €908 million (US$1.02 billion) turnover last year, and a consumer base of 17 million households in France, according to the company. It has more than 350 product references, among them six major flagship brands are Orangina, Schweppes, Oasis, Pulco, Champomy and Maytea. NEW-GEN ACCUMULATION SYSTEM WITH FLEXIBILITY AND COMPLETE PRODUCT CARE In 2017, Orangina Suntory France bought a new packaging line for their Meyzieu site, mixing equipment from different original equipment manufacturers, including the Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis. Nine bottle formats, ranging from 0.2- to 1-litre, are manufactured on the line for four brands – namely Oasis, Pulco, Maytea and O’verger. Orangina Suntory France was looking for a new accumulation solution that could manage various formats and shapes, including square bottles to which traditional mass accumulation solutions are not suited. Hubert Couppey, project manager in operations development department at Orangina Suntory France, explained: “Our experience proved that the use of such an accumulation principle in which products are in contact with each other might damage the thin wall PET bottles we are using for our non-carbonated products, and thus alter the overall production quality. Besides, flexibility was especially a sensitive issue since square bottles sometimes cause blockages when being handled with traditional mass accumulations. Such blockages may result in line stoppages and impair our overall productivity.” The new accumulation solution also had to be able to cover a wide range of outputs from 27,000 to 45,000 bottles per hour, and provide extensive buffer capacity from 3 to 5 minutes of net accumulation to secure the overall line efficiency. Taking into account the number of products to handle, Sidel proposed the Gebo AQFlex range. To address the versatility of the line, Gebo AQFlex offers flexibility due to the single-lane, contactless and smooth handling of the products. Moreover, this flexibility provides Orangina Suntory France with freedom in creating attractive packaging designs with different shapes in the future. Another key factor was its compactness, offering greater accumulation and space ratio compared to traditional systems, and enables an easy integration into a limited Installed at Orangina Suntory France’s plant in Meyzieu, Sidel’s conveying and accumulation solution Gebo AQFlex increases the uptime of the former’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging line for soft drinks by offering flexibility to address diversified production range of nine bottle formats with different shapes. Moreover, by covering a wide range of outputs, Gebo AQFlex contributes in preserving Orangina Suntory France’s product quality with a “smooth and contactless” product handling. Sidel’s Gebo AQFlex improves Orangina Suntory France’s performance and agility Orangina Suntory France installs Sidel’s Gebo AQFlex conveying and feeding systems in its Meyzieu site PROCESSING AND PACKAGING 40 FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2020