Isabelle Maillot, Vice President of Product Innovation at Sidel, explains how the company works with innovations, and how development of new solutions can let customers stay ahead of the competition.
They come from everywhere, but mainly from what we hear from the front-line talks with our customers. We also have regular innovation days with our customers and suppliers. All of this input goes into our work and the brainstorming sessions we use to get new ideas. My team closely follows new market, packaging and technology trends.
It varies greatly. Some are very involved in our work and want to influence the development process, which allows us to take more of a long-term view in developing solutions for their needs. This collaboration is not always about the big breakthroughs but often about incremental innovation. For example, they might want to improve the performance of installed equipment.
The packaging itself is the main driver. Any technology or innovation that helps manufacturers produce the packaging they want, in terms of performance, bottle weight, or product safety… and at the lowest cost, is what they are looking for. Reducing the total cost of ownership, or TCO, is without doubt a large part of this. This is a broad theme and covers the equipment, operating costs, maintenance, energy and resource consumption, and any labour needed. By focusing on TCO, we can also impact sustainability, which is high on the agenda for most of our customers.
As part of reducing TCO, we’re working a great deal with machine intelligence. This kind of artificial intelligence is a major theme right now. This is how the machine learns by itself from the data it receives. Over time this will lead to the machine making better choices than we humans can make – from adjustments of production processes to predictive maintenance, when the machine itself recognises and signals that it needs a part replaced.
By offering modular packaging solutions Sidel can meet the customers’ specific requirements for producing multiple products of varying shapes and sizes all on one line, or quickly delivering brand new products to market. Sidel’s modular technology and in-depth packaging expertise ensure high flexibility and reliability in the production process.
Processing multiple products on the same line traditionally required a great deal of downtime. But with modular functions, quick changeovers and versatile processes, Sidel can better accommodate unique customer needs in meeting changing demands. The modular system reduces complex assembly and drives performance through lean manufacturing, allowing customers to get the best possible solution at the lowest possible cost.
The goal of all Sidel solutions is optimum productivity and reduced maintenance. Intensively tested and embedded with machine intelligence, the company’s equipment limits manual intervention, improves line process control and results in consistent packaging time and time again.
With modular systems, modules can be changed as customers’ need evolve or as innovations occur. Options, upgrades and line conversions are available for all machines to extend their life and ensure sustained overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) without a complete overhaul.