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

1 December 2014

Reengineering of bottling lines for Bacardi-Martini in Beaucaire

A case in point can be found at Bacardi-Martini in Beaucaire (France), with the establishment of two high-performance bottling lines for increased productivity compared to the 6 lines required in the previous configuration.


Beaucaire, an historic site for the Bacardi-Martini Group


Bacardi-Martini prepares and bottles vodka, tequila, liqueurs and vermouths in Beaucaire, southern France. If the various versions are taken into account, 20 different products and 24 glass bottle formats, from 200 ml to 2 litres, are processed at the site. To keep pace with the diversity of products and containers, the initial configuration required 6 separate bottling lines.


Gebo Cermex, the natural choice to optimise the production facilities

For the establishment of new lines and the optimisation of existing packaging facilities, Gebo Cermex was able to offer engineering expertise, supply of automatic packaging machines and integration of complementary systems. For over 20 years, the company has installed, reconfigured, modified and upgraded a large number of bottling lines for wines and spirits worldwide. Bacardi-Martini naturally chose Gebo Cermex expertise to optimise its production facilities in Beaucaire.


2 high-performance lines instead of 6 lines for increased productivity

  • Drawing on their long-standing and wide-ranging experience in beer, wine and spirits, Gebo Cermex engineers helped Bacardi-Martini reorganise the lines according to 4 principles:
  • Switch from a system with lines dedicated to brands or product types to optimised lines so as to combine speed and flexibility.
  • Maintain a maximum of equipment from the old configuration in order to keep a competitive edge
  • Install new machines where necessary in order to manage the dual requirement of high speed and high flexibility: robotic case packer or labeller with optical orientation, for example.
  • Design innovative layout solutions to facilitate flow circulation, enhance operator ergonomics and optimise format changeover times.

After study, the solution proposed by the Gebo Cermex team made it possible to switch from 6 to 2 lines, by specializing them, with a high-speed line for large production runs and a high-flexibility line for small and medium sized ones. The productivity target was achieved, since the two-third reduction in the number of lines was accompanied by an increase in the number of bottles produced per minute on the site. Olivier Goffin, Director of the Beer, Wine and Spirits market for Gebo Cermex: "We worked on optimising the efficiency and reliability of the site while reducing the overall footprint, which improves the circulation of people and product flows. It was by reasoning according to the length of the production run, and no longer according to the brand, that we were able to achieve this result, which enables smoother production with far fewer downtimes".


The decision to retain as much of the original equipment as possible 

Much of the equipment being operated on pre-existing lines was retained and reinstalled on two new lines. In particular, it is worth mentioning the depalletizing, rinsing, filling, capping, and palletizing equipment. Mario Trigueiro, Gebo sales engineer for the Beaucaire site: "Our approach was intended to be highly pragmatic, taking into account the expectations of speed and flexibility along with the desire to retain and reuse existing equipment in order to comply with the budgetary framework. The overall layout of lines to factor in the constraints of the existing site was another strong point in the Gebo Cermex approach".


2 filling machines per line 

The effectiveness of the solution proposed by Gebo Cermex also stems from the fact that two filling machines were positioned on each line. Vermouths and Get are products which require a lengthy machine cleaning and sterilizing process. For this essential operation to be performed in hidden time without blocking the line, the second filling machine takes over when the recipe is changed.


Line 2 has also been equipped with a new labelling machine selected by Gebo Cermex for its ability to handle maximum flexibility. It applies labels to the front, neck or back of the bottle using up to 8 label references.


Gebo conveyors for all flows

Conveying and management of the accumulation of empty containers upstream from filling, of full containers through to packing and of cases through to the palletizer is performed by Gebo conveyors and accumulation tables. Each unit is connected to a modular central architecture which groups together all parameters and manages the interactions between equipment. Conveyors installed at the Beaucaire site are also servo-driven, for minimum power consumption.


Line 1, at high speed, includes a pressureless combiner which operates at up to 300 bottles per minute. Line 2, boasting high flexibility, merges products onto one line without applying pressure at a rate of 150 bottles per hour.


A Cermex automated line end for both lines

To manage the speed of line 1 and the flexibility of line 2, an "AN" Pick & Place case packing robot was installed. At each cycle, the numerical axis case packer grabs 36 bottles with its customized gripping head and places them 6 per case in 6 cases simultaneously, whilst protecting the products and labels at all times. When a new bottle format requires a change of grippers, just 15 minutes is needed to reposition/replace them and restart the line.


Upstream from the robotic case packer, an F3 case erector positively forms the case with pre-opening of the outer flaps for guaranteed efficiency and squareness.


Downstream, the C6 case gluer seals the top flaps of the cases using hot-melt glue. An inkjet printer then applies the barcode and the cases are conveyed by a spiral elevator to the palletizer. These two items of equipment were included in the Gebo Cermex service supply.


An EITTM line monitoring and performance analysis tool

The EITTM (Efficiency Improvement Tool) developed by Gebo is a modular and scalable system to collect real-time operational information on each of the line's components. It thereby enables operators to identify the primary causes of the stoppages on both lines in order to resolve them quickly. More generally, it facilitates the issuance of production reports leading to the implementation of action plans for increasing the efficiency of equipment and, more broadly, both lines. This tool was easily installed in new equipment and existing machines.


The Beaucaire site project perfectly illustrates the Gebo Cermex DNA:

  • Complete reengineering of the site to optimise the response to the twin challenge of speed and flexibility.
  • Provision of end-of-line automated equipment, conveyors and accumulation tables as well as a line monitoring and performance analysis tool.
  • Reinstallation of a maximum of equipment existing in the old configuration and selection of the essential complementary systems.