The new packaging solution, with a sophisticated technology that provides automatic changeovers, allows this wine producer to increase its production capacity and keep up with the growth of its sales. The collaboration between Sidel and Perrin began 25 years ago, when the bottling speed was 6,000 containers per hour. Since then, the speeds have been progressively increasing to respond to the strong international growth of Perrin’s business, and Sidel continues to help this wine producer modernize. Today its customized, complete and automated end-of-line solution provides speeds of 14,000 bottles per hour. The combination of the Sidel Cermex FlexiPack self-adjusting baler, the DiviArm distributor and the PalVite palletizer provides Perrin with maximum flexibility, with fast format changes and a guarantee of reliability and bottle protection.
Perrin owns 450 hectares of vineyards in the French region of Provence and exports Côtes du Rhône wine to the United States, Asia and China. Over the past twenty years, the sales of this company have grown rapidly, not only due to the international success of its wines, but also due to the boom in high-end rosés. To keep pace with this continuous growth, Perrin increased its production shifts and decided to invest in the modernization of its end-of-line operations, with the aim of boosting its capacity and productivity. It was also essential to increase the flexibility to work with a wide variety of bottles and formats, from the half bottle to the magnum.
With the increase in sales, the level of sophistication and automation became a fundamental element for this large-scale wine operation, which currently produces 35 million bottles a year. “The rule of our family is to innovate without losing tradition,” explains Pierre Perrin, operations director of the company. Perrin knew that, in order to find a holistic and customized solution, he could rely on Sidel’s strong technological innovation capabilities, as well as its engineering and design expertise. “Sidel was by our side as we modernized our production tools and increased our hourly throughput. Naturally, we turn to them because they are specialists.”
The quality of the service offered confirmed that the Perrin family had chosen Sidel correctly. “For me, in addition to the quality of their advice, what really matters is the assistance they provide before, during and after the sale — continues Pierre Perrin—. Undoubtedly, after-sales service accounted for fifty percent of our choice. That’s why Sidel is one of our partners.”
Perrin was the first Sidel customer to test the Cermex FlexiPack, and his team worked willingly and actively with Sidel engineers to optimize its reliability and operation. This machine allows fast and flawless format changes to be made in just a few minutes, thanks to the automatic adjustment of the tracks and the clamping head. The baler also makes it easy to create new formats directly from its intuitive human-machine interface (HMI), which guides users step by step. FlexiPack was preceded by a DiviArm solution, which allows a fluid distribution of the bottles on the way to the entrance to avoid collisions that could damage the labels.
In addition, in the case of palletizing, Perrin demonstrated its willingness to innovate by choosing a robotic solution, a rarity in the wine sector, which the client selected for its flexibility. The compact PalVite 4000 is almost completely controlled via the HMI, from format changes – which only require manual adjustment of the box spinner at the palletizer input — to the creation of new palletizing patterns.
Sometimes developing a new solution in existing installations requires special skills, which Sidel has acquired over its 40 years of experience in the wine and spirits sector. The challenge of this project was to design a customized solution that could work with the diversity and particularity of Perrin’s formats, on the one hand, and integrate it into a restricted space, on the other.
“The installation was complex, given that the building was not designed for such large production lines. We had to move the walls back to make the machines fit — explains Baptiste Andrieu, technical coordinator—. In addition to the limitations of the facilities, we had very specific bottle and box formats. Everyone adapted to our facilities and our needs, and today it works very well. Every detail was taken into account.”
The modernization was a success, as it increased production, while reducing the number of manual tasks. Previously, up to five operators were required for operation, but the new end of line needs only two technicians. This change was of great value during the pandemic, as Perrin was able to rely on this fully automated line, as well as on Sidel’s intrinsic ability to monitor and control the line remotely.
Sidel designed its solution for Perrin leaving room for growth, thereby anticipating the boom in international sales and also a long-term continuous collaboration with this key partner in the wine industry. “Like all family businesses, we are loyal when we work with partners who provide us with answers,” adds Pierre Perrin. That’s how it happened throughout this project, and that’s why Sidel is our partner. We are fully satisfied with the result.”