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DEMO SA, a major pharmaceutical solutions manufacturer located in Greece, wanted to automate the loading and unloading of processes that involve the tray-based sterilisation of plastic containers and bags. Due to extreme differences in the handling operations for the trays, bags and containers, the company knew that a broad variety of robot sizes and types would be necessary.



DEMO SA turned to its long-term partner for automation projects, SABO SA, a leading supplier of industrial solutions and a specialist in production line robotics. FANUC is a long-standing strategic partner of SABO, providing robots for many previous projects, including at DEMO. For the latest requirement, FANUC supplied a total of eight robots spanning four different models.



The implementation of this highly successful automated system means that DEMO SA is now able to run 24/7 uninterrupted production. Furthermore, throughput is higher and production costs are lower, while staff gain from a flexible and easy-to-use operator interface and a modern, inspiring work environment.


Established in 1965, DEMO SA is active in the production and sales of pharmaceutical products from its headquarters in the suburbs of Athens. The company today has 66,000 m2 of manufacturing space and employs 1300 people, making it a major pharmaceutical manufacturer with a very strong presence in the hospital market. DEMO is the leading producer of injectables in Greece and an official supplier to global organisations.

DEMO SA supplies injectable drugs across various categories, exporting to 85 countries worldwide. This responsibility ultimately means hospitals and other medical organisations around the globe are relying on DEMO to provide products in a timely and efficient manner, while maintaining the highest standards of quality.

With these thoughts in mind, DEMO considers automation to be one of its most progressive and successful business strategies. The company has automated a number of production and packaging lines in recent years, most with the help of its long-term industrial equipment partner, SABO SA.



“We chose SABO for our new automation project because of their experience in this area and because they use FANUC robots,” explains DEMO SA Technical Director Argyris Lellos. “We prefer FANUC robots: to date we’ve automated four production lines with a total of 12 FANUC robots.”

The latest production area that required automation performs the sterilisation of plastic containers and bags in tray-based systems. After cleaning, DEMO fills the plastic ampoules with injectables, while the bags carry sterile solutions, so the need for the highest levels of hygiene is paramount. In terms of automating the line, the various robots would have to perform a variety of loading, unloading, picking, placing and transporting operations involving the trays, containers and bags.


“For loading and unloading the plastic containers into and out of the trays we selected a FANUC M-710iC lightweight 6-axis robot,” says Angelos Markou, Sales Manager Industrial Solutions at SABO SA. This robot works at pace, using a SABO-designed end effector to transport and place/remove multiple plastic containers in a single lift.

SABO also installed two larger FANUC 6-axis robots for handling the trays, R-2000iC/165F models, which can lift payloads up to 165 kg and operate in tight spaces. The newly automated production line also features two smaller FANUC M-10iD/12 robot arms and three FANUC DR-3iB/8L delta robots. The latter use end-effector suction cups for handling the bags at very high speeds.

“FANUC robots are reliable products,” says Markou. “Also important is FANUC’s aftersales support, which is very quick and efficient.”


The final word goes to Lellos, who sets out the principal benefits of this highly successful automation project.

“We now have 24/7 uninterrupted production, with faster throughput, reduced production costs and less downtime,” he says. “We’ve also saved space due to the small footprint of the robots, while further advantages include a better working environment for our employees and a very flexible and easy operator interface. Here at DEMO we are now relying on SABO and FANUC for future automation projects.”

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