A clear future for glass

Glass may be one of the oldest food and beverage packaging materials around, but manufacturers are not deterred from producing modern innovations to stay competitive in this market. PACKAGING REVIEW looks at hygienic, easy-to-use and efficient solutions for filling beverages into glass packaging.

The Innofill glass DRS filler

KHS has extended its portfolio of filling equipment, adding to it the improved KHS Innofill glass DRS filler. The flexible inline machine boosts hygiene and efficiency. It accommodates up to 75 000bph enabling hygienic filling with low CO2 and product consumption.

The company has grown the capabilities of the filling technology by incorporating specific new retrofitted features and options. One example is the filler presented to Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus. It comprises 132 filling stations, has an output of up to 50 000 bottles of beer per hour and includes innovative features such as a new pressure sensor. It also includes an optimised high-pressure injection.

How it works with beer

To minimise beer’s oxygen pickup in modern filling systems, air is forced out of the bottle prior to closure. A jet of water is briefly injected to foam the beer. This foam displaces the oxygen in the bottle but can cause beer loss. Owing to a foam measurement via a camera to the central fill level adjustment unit, the Innofill Glass DRS reliably permits extremely precise filling volumes, which minimise beverage loss during this process. There is no need for an operator to visually monitor proceedings. The camera on the crowner checks and records foam formation. Data is collected and statistically assessed. Operators are immediately informed if there is too much or too little foam. Badly foamed bottles are automatically channelled out.

Manfred Härtel, filling product manager at KHS says the Innofill DRS is the first machine to use pressure sensors in every filling valve. This ensures full monitoring of the filling process. Sensor data is displayed as a pressure graph on the monitor.

‘The system gives operators a chance to detect errors as quickly as possible. In practice this not only makes repairs easier and relieves operator workloads, but also provides a basis for preventive maintenance. The data enables results to be statistically evaluated, with the help of which future sources of error can be pinpointed in advance. This, in turn, ensures consistent quality and the continuation of ongoing operation,’ he explains.

Optimised cleaning and filling

Another new feature on the Innofill Glass DRS is a hygienically optimised crowner, which is easier and quicker to clean. The contact area on the headpiece to the capping ring has been considerably reduced. This allows more forceful rinsing and reduces the amount of residual beer on the components.

In order to decrease the contact area between the cork shoe and headpiece, KHS enlarged the distance between the two. In addition, a special sealing ring prevents beer entering the thread of the crowner. A new quick-lock system for format parts saves a considerable amount of time as it enables shorter conversion times – resulting in higher machine availability. A new valve manifold also makes a separate control cabinet superfluous. All process valves and the entire sensor technology are now ‘perfectly’ monitored. The operator can directly recognise the status of the process valves through local status indicators.