Large technology on micro scale: KHS builds compact can fillers for Craft Breweries
Craft breweries or micro breweries as they are called as well are producing dedicated and special beers that are no longer just an insider tip for beer gourmets all over the world. The KHS Group, a well known manufacturer of machines and complete filling lines for the beverage industry now offers a new can filler that has been optimally designed for the needs of small and medium-sized brewers.
The new compact can filler is based on the KHS “plug and produce” philosophy of container-sized machine modules. The new can filler for craft breweries is sized for low to medium capacities from 10,000 to 48,000 cans / hour. It enables extremely fast installation and initial setup within just a couple of days. The can filling machine enables product and format changes at fastest time possible.
Filler and capper in compact design “Plug & Produce”
The new “Innofill CAN compact” can filling machine is member of the new KHS “Plug & Produce” machine family. The compact combination of filler and capper is transported as a whole to the customer in the container and put into operation directly on site as it is, without any complicated assembly. Upon arrival on site, the machine will be taken out of the shipping container. Then one needs just to connect power cable, product pipe and media and the unit is ready for first production.
There are no technological drawbacks as well. This way, KHS makes the technical innovations and benefits of the large machines available for the Craft Brewer segment in this area. For example the machine uses the same advanced volumetric filling system as it is used in the giant can filling machines, that can perform up to an unbelievable speed of more than 130.000 cans per hour. This is an extremely high can filling performance level that has not been matched so far.
Most advanced technology and patented can filling system
“Three years ago we introduced a new filling system with the Innofill Can DVD series. We have now scaled this technology, which has been developed for larger capacities, for the needs of Craft Breweries and medium sized breweries as well, “explains Manfred Härtel, Product Manager for filling technology at KHS in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. The system allows an extremely low oxygen pickup by efficient flushing with CO2. Thanks to the patented purging method, the CO2 consumption is reduced by about 30 percent compared to conventional systems. This results in a tremendous reduction of operating costs by preserving a high quality of the filled beer at the same time.
The demand for smaller bottling quantities is increasingly in demand. Especially by manufacturers of high-quality and individual beers in the USA, where the Craft Brewer scene has been firmly established for years. But also in Europe and other regions in the world, craft brewers and micro breweries are on the rise. Unlike the “big brother”, the Innofill DVD can filler, which produces up to 132,000 cans / h, fillers, cappers, control cabinets, valve knots and cladding form a closed unit. The installation process is limited to simply connecting pipelines, energies and transporters.
No taste transfer during product change
One of the innovative features of the Innofill CAN Compact is its extremely hygienic design and multi-product capability. These include, in particular, the hygienic gap-free tulip guide with bellows made of PTFE (Teflon) and the purely electro-pneumatically agitated lifting and positioning of the tulips to seal the cans – without any mechanical actuation via curves and rollers. This allows a complete absence of water lubrication, facilitates cleaning and promises a life expectancy of up to twice as long in comparison to conventional can filling machines.
KHS also uses PTFE materials within the filling valve, for example, when sealing the filling valve piston and the gas diaphragms. Besides a long lifetime and hygienic benefits, this also makes the transfer of the taste when changing from one product to another to be filled is virtually impossible.
This is especially interesting for Craft Brewers, who often brew a large number of different beers in smaller batches, and often are incorporating beer mix beverages into their scope of products as well. In addition to that, the centering tulip of the electro-pneumatically controlled filling valves allows the processing of cans from can size 200 to 206 without changing the tulip. “We have succeeded in developing an uncomplicated basic equipment in order to keep change-over times and also the acquisition costs as low as possible,” says Härtel.
Latest filling technology in hygienic design
The new central product container with a working volume of 50 to 200 liters is installed at the top of the filling carousel and holds 300 liters less than the product tank on large machines. Unlike in the big machines, the tank in the compact machine series does not rotate with the filling carousel. A rotary distributor distributes the beverage to be filled to the filling points. State-of-the-art magnetic-inductive flow-meters in front of each filling valve allow for extremely precise filling levels in the cans. The entire structure is very clearly designed and therefore hygienic and maintenance-friendly.
Supplier of complete filling lines. Who is KHS?
KHS is one of the leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage, food and non-food industries. The companies of the KHS Group include KHS GmbH as the main manufacturer of machines and complete filling and packaging lines, KHS Corpoplast GmbH as the specialist for PET bottle blow molding and coating as well as NMP Systems GmbH that specializes on development of innovative future products such as the new Nature-Multi-Pack packer or the Direct-Print bottle printer.
KHS is a machine and plant manufacturer from Germany. The internationally active mechanical engineering company specializes in the beverage industry and the packaging industry. KHS has several thousand employees and numerous branches and factories for machine production worldwide. In addition to several locations in Germany, the company also produces machines in Brazil, India and Mexico and has also got two factories in the USA.