"Moving positively ahead!"
The up-and-coming Koblenzer Brauerei has made its in-line quality assurance future-proof with new HEUFT systems for inspecting empty bottles, wet glue labelling and controlling conveyors.
Thomas Beer knows, "quality has to be of the highest standard if you want to sell something." This is particularly true for a new beer brand with premium standards such as Koblenzer. Because of this its Operations Manager saw a need to take action by investing in new quality assurance equipment soon after the founding of the Koblenzer Brauerei GmbH at the historic Königsbacher site in the district of Stolzenfels. He explains, "State of the art technology is an extremely important issue in this day and age." And this was no longer the case regarding in-line inspection, conveyor control and labelling: "investment was simply needed here."
He was "very satisfied" with the HEUFT empty bottle inspector on site. However it had already clocked up more than twenty years. A new one was needed. In addition to criteria such as spare parts availability it was Mr Beer’s aim that the system "should work effectively, reliably and safely and above all be equipped with the corresponding recording and documentation functions. Because today product liability is of crucial importance." Thus the decision to acquire a new HEUFT InLine in order to continuously inspect the base, sidewall and finish of empties was quickly made at the Koblenzer brewery. "By the way," according to the Production Manager, "a labelling machine was also added. Mind you, it didn’t just appear from nowhere: there was a reason for this. We had two old machines." From other manufacturers. The Koblenzer Brauerei would have had high follow-up costs in order to continue operating them in the long term. This is why the brewery preferred to invest in a new one straight away.
Trouble-free installation and convincing reliability
Therefore the three existing systems were replaced in 2013 with a new empty bottle inspector and a wet glue labelling machine from HEUFT. In addition the new HEUFT synchron conveyor control system ensures a harmonious conveyor flow and a steady supply of bottles in the infeed and the outfeed of the HEUFT TORNADO labeller. "The project planning, installation and commissioning was carried out smoothly and on time," praised Mr Beer. The new equipment is also impressive in a daily 1.5 shift operation with a line output of up to 50,000 bottles per hour.
"The detection and rejection reliability of the HEUFT InLine is definitely very high." The system reliably identifies scuffing, defects and contamination of the bottle as well as foreign objects inside it. "The empty bottle inspector is a critical control point (CCP)" as part of the HACCP concept of the IFS certified brewery. "Of course we also regularly check this: the test bottle program starts automatically every 90 minutes or after 60,000 bottles. We even have an intensified version for this – with additional faulty bottles which we have prepared ourselves. These are also always detected and rejected."
High availability and low consumption
Mr Beer confirms that the HEUFT TORNADO has "a high level of operational reliability". Therefore he was able to replace two labellers with only one: "We had two smaller machines before and now we have one large one. If it should break down it would just stand there. And there isn’t another one with which we can operate." But according to him the one from HEUFT is continuously available so that one such machine is completely sufficient. The quality during the neck, body and back labelling "is extremely high and the glue consumption compared with the previous machines definitely very low". The HEUFT TORNADO has more than eleven different format sets because the medium-sized private brewery not only fills Pils, wheat beer and shandy of the Koblenzer brand as well as its own other beer specialities but also different products. Therefore Mr Beer is pleased that problems when changing brands and programs are "no longer an issue at all" despite the very large variety of different bottle types and equipment variants.
His opinion is also positive with regard to the new HEUFT synchron: "the line is now running quieter and sources of interference have been greatly reduced. This is of course due to the quality of the new machines on the one hand and the new conveyor control system on the other hand which increases the smooth running performance and constancy." And it makes the whole line quieter: "My employees say that it is now quieter and that the noise level has been reduced considerably." "The bottles no longer crash into one another" either when fanning out or unmatching the container flow.
Increasing output and high product quality
In contrast the output of the young private brewery has increased to approximately 300,000 hectolitres. According to Mr Beer the private brand has even recorded an increase in sales of more than 20 per cent. "This shows that the acceptance of the Koblenzer brand in the region is very high." One reason for this is the quality of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers. Future-oriented HEUFT systems sustainably secure that it also remains of the "highest standard" during the filling process. The Operations Manager is therefore satisfied to have a supplier who "does such a good job". He describes the cooperation as "open, transparent, committed and moving positively ahead".