Gebo Cermex has partnered with Unilever to automate the largest personal care factory in the Middle East and Africa regions.
Unilever’s 100,000 square metre factory in Dubai processes 500 million bottles of Dove, Fair & Lovely, Lifebuoy, Vaseline, Clear, TRESemme and Sunsilk hair and skincare products every year. In order to cut lead time to market, Unilever turned to Gebo Cermex for 19 end-of-line machines.
According to Jean-Philippe Beduneau, strategic key account director for Unilever at Gebo Cermex, the equipment supplier was particularly suited to provide end-of-line solutions for unstable or complex bottles.
“Our expertise answers the very demanding requirements of the Food, Home and Personal Care sectors, such as care handling of sophisticated containers, ultra-flexibility, and the high demand for line speed increases.
“Our existing portfolio is also able to respect the specifications typically linked to shaped, unstable bottles,” he said.
The challenge for Gebo Cermex was to provide solutions for multiple formats that could handle eight formats at 350 products per minute per line, with multiple changeovers of less than ten minutes each day.
“Unilever’s expectations about line speed and maximum time for changeovers challenged our design department to stretch the boundaries of the current range and merge modules and technologies like we never did before,” said Beduneau.
To accomplish this, Gebo Cermex turned to robotics, with half a dozen robots using the manufacturer’s FlowDesigner product tracking software. A single universal gripping head for all eight formats made changeovers easier, and improvements were made to other machines such as wrappers, packers and palletisers to bring them in line with required specifications.
“From very complex projects to most cost-driven ones, we have a large portfolio of adapted handling/infeed modules, a wide robotic capability with an extensive gripping tooling design know-how, and a comprehensive approach to end-of-lines with packing, shrink-wrapping, palletising and AGV solutions,” said Beduneau.