As per 1 January 2019, our Sidel and Gebo Cermex business units form a single team called Sidel.

10 July 2014

Crater/Decrater Tooling Test Bench: The quest for zero defects from Gebo

Utilizing a specially-designed bench capable of testing both standard and custom gripping heads, this new precision solution is another step forward in the quest to improve the performance of crating/decrating systems and work towards zero-defect manufacturing. It also provides a perfect opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at the technological expertise and innovation which keeps Gebo Cermex first in line.


Both standard and custom gripping heads

The in-house designers at Gebo recently came up with a new solution to further enhance efficiency – a test bench designed for thorough verification of the tooling systems of crater/decraters before they leave the workshop. It is essentially a Pick & Place arm on which we can implement either a complete specific head or the grippers only, so as to test either or both of them. The crater/decrater’s movement is simulated by lifting and dropping the bottles inside a crate. The system is calibrated to precisely recreate the conditions in which the system will run once installed in the client’s facility. The bench can test the rigidity and resistance of both standard and customized gripping heads, including their mechanical grippers or flexible membranes, giving our clients access to remarkable levels of information regarding the reliability and performance of their gripping heads before they have even left our workshop.


A variety of uses

There are three key stages in our industrial process where the test bench proves to be crucial – and gives us a crucial edge:


  • Pre-contracting: the test bench’s database provides us with vital information and insights allowing us to quote more accurately and competitively.
  • Production of a new crater/decrater: we test the tooling for these machines while they are still under construction, allowing us to check that the design is robust and the solution works – without adding to the lead time.
  • Option & Upgrade services: when craters/decraters are already at the customer’s premises and new tooling is ordered for a new bottle or SKU format, for instance, we can thoroughly road-test these new features prior to shipping, further reducing the need for costly, time-consuming post-installation adjustments. It’s almost as if the machine was back at our workshop…

Giorgio Rocca, product line manager for Crating/Decrating and Palletizing/Depalletizing solutions at Gebo, talked us through some of the advantages of this solution:


“In today’s industry bottle shapes and neck formats are becomingly increasingly varied and sophisticated, which makes high-speed packaging and crating a delicate science. It can sometimes be hard to predict exactly how new bottle formats will behave during the crating/decrating process, which is why a high-performance test bench like this is such an asset.”


Security for us and the customer

The system allows the engineers at Gebo both to test the gripping heads and to validate the way the heads or grippers handle the product – at the speeds required by the line. The result is some incredibly accurate forecasts. As Giorgio Rocca explains, this pre-installation solution represents a real source of added value for our clients:


“The great advantage of this new test bench is the way that it saves the time and expense of post-installation adjustments and recalibrations. All in all, it provides us with an extra layer of security, facilitating the start-up on the customer’s premises and enabling the smooth addition of any later options or upgrades. It allows us to offer customers unbeatable assurances regarding the reliability and accuracy of our solutions, winning their trust as we bring their installations one step closer to zero-defect manufacturing.”


Greater accuracy and reliability

The crating/decrating experts at Gebo have big plans for their new test bench solution, compiling the detailed results from the bench’s PLC in a database which will be accessible to our technicians and product designers. The database contains two forms of data: hard information, but also video. We actually film the test in our workshop, so the customer can see it. Additionally we can archive this video for future use on similar applications. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve a thorough, comprehensive understanding of the way certain product shapes behave, or what happens at certain speed levels for instance, allowing us to achieve new levels of accuracy and reliability before our systems even leave the workshop. Or as Giorgio Rocca puts it, “We’ve taken our knowledge of product behaviour up to yet another level.”