“Three years ago we launched a completely new filling system with our Innofill Can DVD series. Developed for larger capacities, we’ve now scaled this technology to meet the demands of craft brewers,” says Manfred Härtel, filling product manager for KHS at its production site in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. With its efficient CO2 purging system the machine enables extremely low oxygen pickup. Thanks to its patented purging process it also consumes about 30% less carbon dioxide than conventional systems. Craft brewers can now also profit from this feature with the compact version. The demand for an adapted model for smaller filling quantities is rising in particular among the producers of high-quality, individual beers in the USA where the craft brewing scene has been well established for many years now. Unlike its big brother, which can produce up to 132,000 cans per hour, the filler, seamer, control cabinet, valve manifold and paneling of the Innofill CAN Compact form a closed unit. All that needs to be done to install the new system is to connect up the piping, sources of energy and conveyors.
No flavor carryover during product changeoversOne of the innovative features of the Innofill CAN Compact is its extremely hygienic design. In particular, this includes a gapless bell guide with PTFE expansion joints (Teflon) 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. KHS also uses PTFE materials in the filling valve, for example to seal the filling valve piston and in the gas membranes. Flavor carryover when changing the product to be filled is thus as good as eliminated. This is of especial interest to craft brewers who often brew a large number of different beers and also make mixed beer beverages. The bell enables can necks from 200 to 206 to be processed. “We’ve managed to develop an uncomplicated piece of standard equipment which keeps procurement costs as low as possible,” says Härtel.
Product tank holds 200 instead of 500 litersThe new central product tank, which is installed at the top of the filler carousel and has a working volume of 50 to 200 liters, holds 300 liters less than the product tank on the big machines. Unlike in the latter plant technology, the tank does not rotate with the filler carousel on the Innofill CAN Compact. The beverage to be canned is supplied to the filling stations by a rotary distributor.
Electromagnetic inductive flow meters upstream of each filling valve permit exact filling volumes in the cans. The entire machine is very clearly structured and thus hygienic and easy to maintain.