KHS line optimization makes major contribution to sustainability
When developing new products KHS attaches special importance to the subject of efficiency. Significant aspects here include saving on materials, media and energy and the optimization of lines and machines. KHS is constantly working to make its systems even more efficient. Each component, however small, is therefore seen as an important part of the whole. “New functions in individual assemblies are successively changing our systems and machinery. We’re constantly working on giving all components the maximum efficiency and perfectly coordinating them with one another,” Schopp claims.
KHS is also hoping to gain new impetus for this endeavor from the EnAP project. The goal here is to devise energy-saving concepts and line optimization processes that can be used in pneumatic and electrical handling systems. The project, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, not only intends to help save energy and resources but also to enable the beverage industry to keep its overall operating costs down to a minimum.
Digital technologies relieve operator workloads
Another primary future concern for KHS is the interaction between man and machine. “Our aim must be to make the operation of the increasingly complex technology demanded by growing market requirements easier for human operators. With the help of artificial intelligence we want to engineer self-learning and self-optimizing systems,” explains Schopp.
At the moment KHS is examining the main basic principles in this area under the umbrella of the CyProAssist project. The objective is to develop an assistance system for production which supports optimum human machine operation. “We want to help machine operators so that operating errors are avoided and error states corrected as quickly as possible to permit high line availability,” Schopp explains.
Badische Staatsbrauerei profits from digital KHS technology
KHS’ cooperation with Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus shows that the use of digital technology in the beverage industry is no longer a vision for the future but very much a present-day commodity. The systems engineer from Dortmund recently supplied its long-standing customer with an Innofill Glass DRS glass bottler which includes many additional digital functions, such as a camera-controlled high-pressure injection control system called OPTICAM. This produces a fine jet of water which displaces the residual oxygen from the filled bottle and is thus of great importance for the quality and shelf life of the beer. With this new development KHS allows the head of foam to be continuously monitored and regulated without the need for operator intervention. In this way Rothaus can not only reduce the beer loss due to excessive foaming but also detect and reject bottles with insufficient foaming.
The newly developed DIAS diagnostic assistance system also has a positive effect on the filling process. Sensors in every single filling valve ensure constant monitoring and visualization during filling. This means that any deviations from the target values are immediately recognized. A further special mention should be given to the fact that the evacuation and CO2 purging processes are monitored to ensure low oxygen pickup. Broken bottles are consistently detected and damaged bottles automatically rejected. The sensor data can be retrieved at any time and used to statistically evaluate results, with the help of which future possible sources of error can be detected and eradicated in advance. In practice this not only makes fast, targeted repairs possible and relieves operator workloads but also provides a basis for maintenance work.
KHS considers cooperation with partners in research and industry future proof
KHS has been developing pioneering lines and machines for more than 150 years and thus had a lasting impact on the beverage industry – as it still does. During this time cooperation with partners from industry and research has been and still is a major aspect of KHS’ key to success. Successfully concluded projects such as DnSPro, which give KHS and its customers real added value, are manifestations of the success of this intensive cooperation. “All told, we can observe that our current sponsored projects lie in the right fields of research and are yielding results that are directly tangible. Besides these, our projects are also having a positive influence on the expertise gleaned by our employees. After all, we all also learn as we work,” Schopp sums up.