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Small machine systems of the accustomed high quality


In the past few years both established beer companies and many small craft and microbreweries have reaped success with a number of new and creative products. The smaller businesses also need flexible systems for production which enable simple format and product changeovers, grow with increasing demand and are as reliable as the technology offered in the high-performance range. The KHS Group from Dortmund, Germany, has many options on offer here in its broad portfolio of small machine systems.


Standardized filling, coating or labeling equipment does not always meet the requirements of small and medium-sized breweries. Their comparatively low sales volumes call for compact plant engineering which can be expanded as production quantities grow. For this reason the KHS Group has specialized in the needs of bottlers in the low capacity range, adapting many of its systems to suit. 


The Dortmund company is a leading manufacturer of filling and packaging systems for the beverage, food and non-food industries and supplies breweries with an entire spectrum of machines as both high-performance and compact versions. The proven technology is scaled down one-to-one so that the smaller machines lack nothing their bigger counterparts have. Here, KHS develops its machinery in close cooperation with the client breweries. This has enabled keg and can filling, PET barrier coating and labeling systems to be customized for low outputs. 


Single-lane keg racking with a small footprint

The Innokeg AF-C Transversal is just one example of a compact KHS machine and gives operators optimized use of space and improved access to the filling and washing stations. Instead of the conventional module ratio of one processing to two conveying stations, where the processing stations are arranged between the infeed and discharge conveyors, the discharge on the compact system is placed in the middle of the processing stations. From this conveyor the kegs are pushed into and out of the stations sideways. 


The machine is not only designed for returnable kegs: one-way kegs can also be processed here without the line having to be converted. All the operator has to do is switch off the keg washer and the kegs simply run through to the filler. 


Compact can filler for low-capacity customers

In addition to its keg racking machine KHS has also adapted its Innofill Can DVD can filler to accommodate customers operative in the low capacity range. The result is the Innofill Can Compact, designed for low to medium outputs of 10,000 to 48,000 cans per hour. The central product tank with a working volume of 50 to 200 liters also holds 300 liters less than the product tank on the larger machinery. 


Like its big brother the compact system enables extremely low oxygen pickup thanks to its efficient CO2 purging process and also consumes about 30% less carbon dioxide than conventional systems. Another of its prime innovative features is its extremely hygienic design. This includes a gapless bell guide with PTFE (Teflon) expansion joints and bells which are lifted and positioned fully electropneumatically to seal the cans – without any mechanical action from cams and rollers. This does away with the need for water lubrication, simplifies cleaning and promises a service life which is up to twice as long as before. 


Coating of PET containers on a small scale 

Besides its filling systems the KHS Group has also augmented its portfolio to include the InnoPET Plasmax 2Q which is optionally upgradeable to the 4Q. This machine applies a protective coating of silicon oxide to the insides of PET bottles. It is designed for an output of up to 1,800 (2Q) or 3,600 (4Q) containers per hour and for PET bottles holding between 80 milliliters and 1.5 liters of product. The InnoPET Plasmax 2Q/4Q can process container necks of up to 38 millimeters in diameter.


As on the standard model the compact version also makes use of the tried-and-tested KHS FreshSafe PET® coating method. This means that bottles remain fully recyclable and protect sensitive products such as carbonated beverages from carbon dioxide loss, thus considerably lengthening shelf lives. The machines are also extremely simple to ship and can be quickly commissioned on site. Equipped with a ClearLine HMI (human machine interface) the machine is intuitive in its operation.


Labeling for the low capacity range 

As containers are usually labeled after having been filled, in its Innoket Roland 40 the KHS Group also offers a compact labeling machine for small and medium-sized breweries. The Innoket Neo’s little brother has a capacity of 2,500 to 25,000 containers per hour and is thus specifically customized for lines with a low output. 


In its standard version the Innoket Roland 40 comes with two cold glue stations. Alternatively, self-adhesive stations, a combination of cold glue and self-adhesive technology and hot melt labeling processes can be used. On this compact model, too, the engineers at KHS have incorporated many quality components from the high-performance range: the carousel, infeed and discharge stars, folding doors, servo feed screw, installation, guide and format parts and the gripper cylinder and label magazine on the cold glue station are all based on the established KHS Innoket Neo. Many expansion options for individual labeling tasks are also available, such as traveling applicators or the KHS VarioDrive electronic bottle plate control system.