Returnable bottles – Veltins chooses Krones

Being one of the most technologically advanced private breweries in Europe, C. & A. Veltins continuously invests in order to maintain its prestigious position. With this in mind, they recently acquired new product lines for their returnable glass bottles from Krones.

The first Krones machines were already being hosted at C. & A. Veltins brewery in Grevenstein at the beginning of March to make their new returnable glass line. It will be followed by a second line at the end of 2023, drastically increasing the brewery’s ability to process returnable glass bottles.

Veltins is relying on Krones’ expertise

The Krones Group, headquartered in Neutraubling, Germany, specialises in developing and manufacturing machines and complete production lines within the field of filling and packaging technology for liquids and food beverages. When it was created in 1951, the company only manufactured labellers, but its product range has significantly expanded since, and the group has continued to deliver innovations in manufacturing and packaging processes.

Globally speaking, both lines designed for the Grevenstein brewery will be composed of the same machines – cleaning devices, filling machines, labeling machines, packaging machines – but they will have different capacities when it comes to processing returnable glass bottles, as well as some unique specifications.

These two lines have also been equipped with state-of-the-art tools to optimise their performance. For example, they are the first to integrate a connected HMI platform in the world, which maximises the network between machines and computer systems.

They will also be equipped with the Linatronic AI device, a technology designed to inspect empty containers and detect pre-programmed errors such as chipped glass fragments. Thanks to its deep learning AI, it is also capable of identifying new types of error during its operational life. Finally, the platform also reliably detects water droplets in bottles, reducing the quantity of bottles rejected by mistake by around 50%.

Finally, the fillers which will be equipped on both lines are the first to have a completely new type of filling valve, enabling bottles to be rinsed directly with CO2 through the probe, while significantly reducing CO2 consumption during the process.

A production line for returnable bottles…

The first line will start processing bottles by the middle of the year and should significantly increase the brewery’s production capacity in time for the peak season. “It is especially during spring and summer, (…), that we need more room for manoeuvre in terms of filling capacity to respond more flexibly to market requirements”, says Peter Peschmann, technical director at Brauerei C. & A. Veltins, in describing how these production lines will have a positive impact on their operations.

The main objective is therefore to increase the brewery’s productivity and flexibility. The company has been offering an increasingly diverse range of products for several years and there is growing demand for Veltins, Grevensteiner and Pülleken. Hence the need to increase its production capacity in the face of these extra activities.

With a processing capacity of up to 50,000 bottles per hour, the first production line has been specially equipped with a LinaFlex pasteuriser for beer-based mixtures and is therefore able to handle an entire range of bottles from the brewery, particularly Steinie bottles.

…and a second one for backup

With the intention of replacing an existing line in the fall of 2023, the second production line will be capable of processing 80,000 bottles per hour. This record production is made possible by the pairing of fillers, labellers and packers, coupled with the use of a Lavatec D5 bottle washer, one of the largest ever built by Krones. This makes it the only unit in its range capable of processing up to 96,000 glass bottles per hour.

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