Beverage manufacturer Suntory Japan added Sidel’s conveying and accumulation machine Gebo AQFlex to its new bottling facility.

Suntory Japan’s Shinano-no-mori Plant is the production home for Tennensui mineral water, produced in one of the lightest PET bottles in Japan. The company says the light weight of the bottle increases quality risks during production, such as dents being caused by contact between the bottles or bottles falling.

Designed for all types of containers, Sidel’s all-in-one product conveying and accumulation solution offers gentle, 100% contactless and single-lane handling of containers. It also reportedly automatically operates at an efficiency of more than 99.5%, whatever the speed.

The installation of the Gebo AQFlex commenced during Covid-19, limiting physical visits to Suntory Japan’s plant. As the only plant producing Tennensui mineral water, the site must run 24/7, so remote Factory Acceptance Tests were carried out using AR glasses.

Once able, Sidel visited the plant to fine-tune the machines and optimise efficiency. While Suntory Japan currently only manufactures two types of bottles, the small 550-mL plastic bottle and the large 2-L plastic bottle, Sidel’s Gebo AQFlex offers flexibility, which can easily increase and introduce new bottle formats if needed in the future.

Suntory Japan chief operating officer of its global technical department Toshiya Kobayashi commented: “Gebo AQFlex has improved our production line in many ways, from the space-saving aspect, the simplicity of layouts to the wide range of automation solutions.”

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Recently, Sidel’s complete PET lines were installed in IFFCO Group’s facilities in Ail-Ain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Baghdad.