Stable flavour and tightly packaged

Still innovative:  HEUFT has had a solution in its portfolio for more than 20 years which uses sophisticated electromagnetic and acoustic procedures for the contactless identification of residual oxygen in the bottle.  Therefore beer that tastes stale or really disgusting does not even reach the consumer.  In addition the HEUFT O2 detection locates faulty closer heads as the cause of critical leaks.  The tried and tested module which is connected to the new generation of fill management systems now offers a new dimension in detection and rejection reliability.

We need it in the air to breathe. It stands for natural purity, clarity and freshness and promotes health and well-being: oxygen is a good thing and essential to life! Therefore many a soft drink producer even enriches his products with the element and thus promises the consumer added value. This is completely different when filling beer: the stability of the flavour is at risk if oxygen remains in the headspace of the bottle – the product ages prematurely. Because this leads to oxidation which makes the beer flat and stale. The accelerated ageing process can also result in extreme bitterness which at the worst can even make the originally noble barley juice smell and taste of disgusting cat urine.

A phenomenon that certainly no consumer wants to experience. Yet it is not that uncommon. Even 2 ml of air in the headspace of a 500 ml beer bottle can increase the oxygen content by more than 1 mg/l. The short time between filling and closing is enough. Fobbing by means of a high-pressure fobbing device is often designed to rectify this. But this does not always occur evenly and constantly: residual air can still remain in the headspace if not completely fobbed up and there is a risk of product loss and shortfalls in the nominal filling quantity if the injection is too strong. There is a residual risk of approximately 0.1 per thousand even when the configuration is optimal. This does not seem much at first glance. However some 20,000 bottles with oxygen in the headspace are delivered annually when calculated on the basis of a five day double shift operation with a line output of 50,000 containers per hour.

It's the echo that counts!

Each one is one too much. Also and especially for the image of the brand. It is good that HEUFT has had an extension of the HEUFT sonic for detecting leaks in crown corks, which detects residual air in the headspace of the beer bottle in good time, in its range for over 20 years: the HEUFT O2 check analyses the acoustic signal which the metal closure emits after the electromagnetic excitation right behind the filler / closer block. The echo picked up by a microphone is different from that of correctly filled and sealed containers if there is still residual air amongst them: there is no signal if the closure is missing. It deviates from the sound of a perfectly sealed bottle without residual air if the crown cork is deformed and possibly not completely tight. Therefore containers the contents of which are at risk of oxidising are reliably detected directly after the filling process. A loss in the stability of the flavour and premature product ageing are no longer an issue than.

The clever combination of electromagnetic excitation and acoustic measurement in the HEUFT O2 has another additional benefit: it provides statistical information about the respective contact pressure when sealing the bottles. Closer heads which use too much or too little force when applying the crown corks and as a result endanger the safety of the closure are reliably determined and clearly pinpointed by the integrated evaluation software. Therefore they can be repaired without delay before intolerably high reject rates can occur due to incorrectly closed, leaking bottles.

Proven detection with new performance

The HEUFT sonic, on which the HEUFT O2 is based, also detects such closure leaks with a combination of electromagnetic and acoustic technologies: leaking closures simply sound different! However this is only possible if sufficient pressure has already built up in the bottle – after the pasteuriser. The acoustic measurement provides valuable results here as well as there. HEUFT has a very special container tracking system which even functions in the multi-lane section in order to be able to compare them with each other on the basis of one and the same bottle and to achieve almost 100% reliability when detecting faults even with crown corks from different manufacturers. Closure leaks are identified just as clearly as unwanted oxygen in the bottle.

These well proven detection modules can also be integrated into the highly automated solutions of the new generation – as is always the case with HEUFT. The HEUFT SPECTRUM II VX fill management system then makes quality inspection possible with unprecedented speed and performance which in addition to detecting fill level deviations, closure and label faults and burst bottles, among other things, also finds residual air in the bottle precisely. This keeps the original flavour stable, protects against the product spoiling prematurely and therefore safeguards the image of the brand sustainably.