The packaging market is facing growing customer expectations. Machinery must not only be flexible and efficient, but also adapt to changes in formats, products and materials. In this context, finding complete line solutions that warrant overall performances is a strategic focus.
This is the mission of Synerlink, the global line engineering business of the Arcil Group.
In the packaging lines, a virtual line exists between primary packaging (in direct contact with the product), secondary (adding value to it and selling it) and tertiary packaging (protecting it during transportation). These three phases are generally considered independently, in particular in the food and beverage sector.
This is a mistake since the performances of a line are the result of the performances of every link in the chain. Arcil, when creating Synerlink, has initiated a strategic move in order to offer complete packaging lines with overall and consistent performance warranties (instead of individual ones for each machine).
Therefore we offer solutions that harmonize communication between each piece of equipment, and warrant stable and high overall performances throughout an entire line.
Guaranteeing overall performance levels requires taking two basic parameters into account: first, each machine should operate properly and efficiently; second, interaction between each machine should be optimal so that any incident on one of them induces as little disturbance as possible upstream and downstream
Increasing overall performances on a complete line
Synerlink acts as a project team who enhances production line performance and machine interaction, as well as finds ways to simplify the production stages and improve ergonomics.
We have developed and integrated equipment from suppliers with whom we partnered in the design phase in order to provide these reliability warranties. We have also developed tools to monitor line management, performance, operating and traceability.
We designed Efidrive, a software system that controls performance and enhances flows and naturally provides experts with all the data required to maximize line performance, in particular in between production phases.
The OMAC method used by our teams and the Efidrive operator interfaces set up on each packaging line component also allow us to drastically reduce the number of operators on the line while decreasing the time required for the initial ramp-up.
We have managed to reach over 90% in terms of overall performances on a complete line, compared with traditional lines whose performances vary between 70 and 85% in terms of performance, i.e. a performance increase of 5 to 20 points!
This is evidence that flow enhancing and monitoring between each machine is a highly important point to increase performance.
We have been working for over 20 years to design machines that are both efficient and flexible. This is a critical topic, especially now that brands aim to launch products which differ from what is available on the market, while requesting flexible machines that ensure high performances at reduced production costs.
It is therefore necessary to adapt the lines by achieving greater maximization of format change processes.
Another development focus is the product changes on the line. They can cause a drop in line performance. Multiple references produced on a same line with increasingly fragmented batches have led us to improve these batch changes by synchronizing machines during the transition phases and by anticipating procedures so as to reduce the time when performance decreases.
And when these production changes take place several times with the same shift, productivity gains are significant.
The last focus that should be taken into account is the adaptation of machinery to new materials. Equipment must integrate them while improving productivity.
This is why our structure makes it possible to carry out tests within our workshops and to give our customers alternative solutions to traditional thermoformed materials and/or to reduced plastic thicknesses.
Using robotics to simplify machinery
Robotics have gained ground over the past five years, bringing in digital solutions. The servo-motors have contributed to additional flexibility in the machines’ operation.
In the end, whichever development you take into account, the same approach is adopted: finding solutions to simplify machines at the kinematic (geometry and motion) level and add intelligence in order to improve performance; in other words, designing machines that are easier to clean, simpler, more streamline, more ergonomic and more reliable.
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