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Gebo Cermex has announced new product handling technology for the packaging line.

The concept – called AQFlex – offers a new approach to conveying and accumulation which responds to trends such as  secondary packaging personalisation.

Ludovic Tanchou, the vice president of strategy, products and innovation at Gebo Cermex, says AQFlex is "the new IQ in product handling, encompassing all the advantages given by the existing conveying machines in a much smarter way."

"After spending 50 years in pioneering conveying solutions and line regulation systems, we believe this introduction to be the culmination of our innovation processes," he says.

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"AQFlex is designed by Gebo Cermex as a new concept in packaging solutions that accommodates any product, whatever the application, whatever the market, in all container materials, formats and shapes, full or empty, while also enabling automatic changeovers via an intuitive and user-friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI)."

Tanchou says the single-lane, contact-free product handling and accumulation system is able to process even fragile, unstable or premium containers.

Speedy Gonzalez

AQFlex can operate at any speed, from 1000 to 100,000 containers per hour, delivering energy savings of up to 60 per cent, without compromising high efficiency (99.5% even at high speeds) or sustainability.

This is ensured by high line performance regulation, together with a high accumulation performance to maintain continuous product flow – at any speed – with the use of robotics based on a proven logic motion technology.

"Moreover, for greater product traceability and continuous control of production quality, the solution works according to a ‘first-in, first-out’ (FIFO) operating principle,” Tanchou says.

All the conveying functions of AQFlex, including contactless accumulation and multilane machine infeed, are regrouped into the single, universal, handling solution.

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As all conveying and accumulation is carried out as a single-file process, the usual peripheral conveying functions associated with mass accumulation – such as deceleration, de-grouping, combining and laning – are eliminated.

For minimised TCO and optimised operability, the solution from Gebo Cermex also provides up to 40 per cent space savings compared to traditional solutions, according to Tanchou.

Having only a few added mechanical parts compared to a conveyor, maintenance of AQFlex is comparable to that of a standard conveyor - without the need for any lubrication.

Gebo Cermex is part of the Sidel Group, and will be demonstrating the AQFlex concept at Drinktec from 11-15 September.

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