Verlinde, VERLINDE supports the international development of SGT in the preforms market for bottlers.

VERLINDE equips the three SGT production units in France and Algeria with handling and lifting equipment. Verlinde products ensure safety and reliability for a delicate process that requires the frequent handling of 2 tonne moulds that are as fragile as they are costly.

A rapidly evolving market.
SGT (Société Générale des Techniques) has been a specialist for more than 30 years in the production of preforms in PET and of bottlenecks and caps in HDPE. In 2016, the French company produced 3.5 billion units at its Rezé France facility, located near the port of Saint-Nazaire. In 2001, SGT became the first French company in the preform business to set up an operation in Algeria, at Rouïba near the port of Algiers, in order to improve their reactivity for the needs of local bottlers and of those in neighbouring countries. Indeed, the development of the bottled drinks market is of an extreme rapidity in this country of 40 million inhabitants.
The whole factory was fitted out after construction with VERLINDE handling and lifting components. The designers shipped VERLINDE equipment already used in its Rezé plant directly from France. In 2007, the maintenance and upgrading of VERLINDE equipment was attributed to integrator OREM, which had to adapt its organization to the fast and constant growth in production. At present, in 2017, the Rouïba Algeria facility is equipped with 15 PET preform injection moulding machines enabling the production of 35 different preform shapes, 8 types of bottlenecks and 2 types of caps. 2 presses for HDPE caps and 1 pad printing line complete its production facilities. The factory produces 2 billion PET preforms and 800 million HDPE caps.

A delicate process
The plastic beads that are the basic materials for preforms and caps are off-loaded in big bags in the prepacked materials bay and are then injected into the moulding machines in which the preforms and caps are made. The PET preforms are then transformed into bottles by a blow-moulding process directly at the bottlers’ facilities.

The Rouïba plant has 5 production lines. Production line changes are frequent as the moulds are changed once or twice a week on each of them. They are lifted using VERLINDE EUROCHAIN VR electric chain hoists and conveyed using a VERLINDE EUROBLOC VT single girder top running crane. The unit boasts a maximum load capacity of 5 tonnes and an 18 metre span. The factory has 5 overhead cranes in all, ie: one per production line.

The technical challenge is to lift in absolute safety and with the greatest precision, the fragile but costly moulds, each of which weighs about two tonnes. M. Vesvre, at OREM, points out: “It was mainly for this reason that VERLINDE conveyor equipment was selected, because they provide very great precision as standard; parts are subjected to very little offset.” Indeed, the Verlinde EUROBLOC VT overhead cranes are fitted with the patented ESP automatic load swing correction system. ESP automatically corrects the to-and-fro movements of the load under the hook and allows the operator to use the whole work surface because correction takes place during the load travel distance as a whole, whatever its location and height.

The acknowledged operational reliability of VERLINDE lifting and handling components meets the safety requirements of the process. EUROCHAIN VR electric chain hoists are designed to offer users maximum safety. For instance, the 2-speed lifting system is fitted with an electric safety limit switch for top and bottom positions.

SGT states that it is very satisfied with VERLINDE equipment and with the support provided by OREM who has been VERLINDE’s partner for more than 10 years and who is totally familiar with the performance and characteristics of parts. According to its own predictive maintenance, OREM has gradually been able to adapt to the growth in production, to capacities and categories of equipment. Hoists have on average been changed every 3 years.

A solid and lasting partnership
May 2013 was when SGT rolled out a third PET preform and HDPE cap production facility in Algeria, at Setif, 350 km to the east of Algiers. Developing a local technologically leading edge facility enabled the company to strengthen its presence throughout the country and to offer outreach services.

The annual production capacity at the Setif facility was 2 billion preforms in 2014. The factory is now equipped with 8 preform presses (preformers). OREM also dealt with the entire task of equipping the plant with Verlinde handling components. The same types of equipment were selected, viz: a single-beam VERLINDE suspended crane and VERLINDE electric chain hoists, for their quality, safety and for the reliability they provide the process.

Automation Update