FlexLink celebrates four decades of material flow solutions

FlexCAM

Monday, 26 October, 2020


FlexLink celebrates four decades of material flow solutions

Conveyor technology company FlexLink is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Part of the Coesia group, FlexLink provides conveying technology for manufacturers within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), food, automotive, batteries, pharmaceutical, hygiene, and tobacco markets. Today FlexLink is represented in more than 60 countries and operates directly in 26 of them.

The company says that 40 years ago, it pioneered modular conveyors that allow producers to create flexible production lines. This concept has been designed, scaled up and commercialised worldwide since the ’80s. The rapid growth was due to geographical expansion, possible with the help of the parent company SKF.

The first conveyor range was called XL, designed for light goods such as bearings, packaged food or lenses for glasses. It was launched in 1980 and has been one of the company’s biggest-selling platforms since the beginning. FlexLink launched XS for small goods such as syringes, vials and electrical bearings, followed by XM for medium-sized goods such as plastic bottles, creams and jars and XH for heavy goods such as engine parts, shafts and boxes.

Motivated by the success of the conveyor systems, the company continued with further customer-centric research and development, leading to the introduction of further products. The first pallet system and wedge solutions were breakthrough innovations at that time. The strong growth continued throughout the 1990s as FlexLink invested in a platform dedicated to the automotive market. The XK heavy-duty platform proved to be the perfect match of robustness and flexibility, meeting these increasing demands for the market.

Following growth in aluminium conveyors throughout the early 2000s, product innovation focused on modular stainless steel conveyors and industry-focused solutions, such as Dynamic Flow Concept, which creates optimal line balancing and therefore increased production output.

Around the 2010s, the launch of the X85 conveyor showed a renewed interest in the aluminium beam conveyors, and additionally, the X65 platform was launched. FlexLink also introduced the FlexLink Design Tool, innovation in how the customer can design their line and simulate production flow.

In 2012 FlexLink joined Coesia. Since then, the company’s first collaborative robot palletiser (RC10) has been developed in close collaboration with a leading global consumer goods company.

A few years later, a flexible industrial palletiser (RI20) was launched, allowing the company to complete the offer for the end-of-line process. In addition to the advanced robotics offer, 2020 also sees the expansion of the stainless steel conveyor range, with the 70 mm system (X70X) suitable for handling smaller, more sensitive products such as dairy products. Improvements have also been made in operator and product safety, with the new generation of plain chains.

“The demands of consumers are changing very fast,” said Paolo Pusceddu, Chief Sales Officer. “Manufacturers must cope with new challenges such as unpredictable forecasts, quick changes in behaviours and extreme sensitiveness on total costs of ownership. FlexLink is always striving to help brand owners to increase efficiency, become leaner and produce goods smarter, quicker and at a lower cost.

“We gained a lot of experience from our 40 years of material flow solutions and will continue developing products and solutions that provide our customers with the best answers to their production challenges.”

Image: The first conveyor range by FlexLink, called XL, was designed to transport light goods such as bearings and packaged food.

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