A future-proof investment

Sorting, inspection, labelling, filling management:  the largest brewery in Luxembourg has gradually increased the production quality and the capacity of its bottling plant over the last few years with equipment from HEUFT and at the same time prepared the entire plant for the successful redesign of its "Battin" and "Bofferding" brands.  Maurice Treinen, the Master Brewer and Production Manager at Brasserie Nationale, explains in an interview how this came about and what has been achieved particularly with regard to the appearance of the non-returnable and returnable bottles.

A brand redesign presents a brewery with great challenges as does any fundamental change.  What were these and how was a decision made to invest in a HEUFT TORNADO W wet glue labelling machine in this context?

Maurice Treinen:  "The redesign took place in 2016.  We have changed the complete appearance of our two brands.  The biggest change was that we dispensed with the neck foil in the area of the crown cork in the refillable sector and aligned the non-returnable and returnable bottles.  This means that the shape of the labels is always the same across the different designs for the "Battin" brand.  The same was then implemented later in the year for the "Bofferding" brand.  Therefore we had to decide whether to invest again in a twelve year old machine in order to be able to convert to the new formats or whether to make a future-proof investment in a new machine."

Keyword bottle formats:  how many are there now and how great is the variety of labels and designs?

Maurice Treinen:  "We currently have a total of seven different bottle formats with over 20 designs with 15 different labels in the non-returnable and returnable sectors.  We can process them all with the new labeller – including the printed 0.33 litre returnable long neck for Funck-Bricher Blonde Bio our latest brand.  And our individual disposable bottle for "Bofferding" can now be optimally aligned for labelling on the basis of its embossing.  That wasn't possible before."

The integrated HEUFT TORNADO flex servo technology for a camera based fine alignment of the bottles was therefore a crucial factor when selecting an appropriate labeller.  What else was in favour of this machine?

Maurice Treinen:  "A decisive factor on the one hand was the price but also the complete package.  This included the positive experiences which we already made with the HEUFT InLine IS empty bottle inspector in terms of service and teleservice as well as the uniform and easy to use interface of the HEUFT SPECTRUM platform."

And how would you rate the performance during actual operation?

Maurice Treinen:  "We currently produce four days a week with a nominal output of 27,000 bottles per hour.  The labelling machine has fitted well in our production line.  The labelling result is very consistent and of excellent quality.  The alignment of our established individual bottle is carried out with the highest precision."

This ensures that the wet glue label is applied exactly where it belongs.  Why is that so important?

Maurice Treinen:  "The bottle with its labels and packaging is the first 'visual contact' with the customer and therefore highest quality must always be ensured during the labelling process.  We always try to stand out from our competitors.  Therefore it is essential that the labels are applied to the bottle straight and without creases."

And what happens if something should go wrong when applying the labels?

Maurice Treinen:  "Bottles with missing labels cannot be marketed and therefore we must ensure that these bottles are sorted out which the HEUFT TORNADO does with100 per cent reliability.  As a result we no longer need manual follow-up checks so that efficiency is very high in this respect.  Up to 99.99 per cent of badly aligned bottles are also rejected so that containers which are not such good quality do not reach the customer."

The detection and rejection of incorrectly labelled bottles is not the only additional feature which distinguishes the HEUFT TORNADO W.  What else should be mentioned?

Maurice Treinen:  "The presence check of the best before date, the good possibilities regarding error analysis and the spare parts catalogue integrated in the machine."

And what about brand and program changes?

Maurice Treinen: "The conversion times are moderate because changeovers are carried out without the use of tools."

How do you rate the labeller project from the order to acceptance?

Maurice Treinen:  "The contact with HEUFT was very good at all times during the course of the project.  Commissioning was completed on schedule and completely without any problems – despite the difficult labelling tasks at times.  The HEUFT technicians were able to recommend an extremely good label glue."

As already mentioned before the labelling machine is not the only HEUFT QA solution installed on your premises:  what else is there?

Maurice Treinen:  "We have had a HEUFT InLine IS empty bottle inspector with upstream sorting for the past four years and a HEUFT SPECTRUM VX for checking the fill levels, among other things, since this year."

How do you rate the detection performance of these devices?

Maurice Treinen:  "The detection quality is extremely good.  The HEUFT InLine IS is a critical control point which is absolutely necessary and required by law.  We were also able to increase the quality of our bottled beer and optimise the high pressure injection in order to minimise the oxygen load during filling by installing the fill level detection."

That sounds good.  And how do you assess the cooperation with HEUFT all in all?

Maurice Treinen:  "It's always very good. Solutions are found quickly should a problem occur – either using the HEUFT TeleService or by means of a technician's visit. The delivery of spare parts is always very fast even on the same day if necessary.  All in all we are very satisfied with the cooperation with HEUFT."

Mr Treinen, thank you for talking to us.