Customization, flexibility, quick changeovers, efficiency, speed… The list of what today’s beverage producers need to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace continues to grow. As consumers look for unique products and beverage companies look for ways to stand out in the crowd, there is a growing need for machinery that can meet specific requirements while offering speed, efficiency and savings all in one. Here are examples of filling and labeling equipment that help keep the beverage flow moving at an increasing pace.
KHS: KHS’s newly developed platform system, Innofill Glass, offers a series of filling machines for glass bottles. The platform, the company says, allows for the tailoring of different KHS filling systems to meet specific filling method needs. Under this system, the company has introduced Innofill DRS-ZMS pressure filling system for the bottling of beer. The most notable feature of the system, according to the company, is the Hygienic Design concept that results in increased product safety and cost reductions because of easier cleaning and maintenance. Other benefits include an integrated RFID system that combines ergonomics, navigation and design. The system allows the operator to oversee different operations being performed depending on the requirements of a specific application. Structurally, the new platform has resulted in the reduction of parts in the filler carousel section, a compact valve manifold and the ability to expand the filler and capper system in modules to include additional cappers. Additional KHS fillers within this platform are in the pipeline for the production of soft drinks, wine, sparkling wine and spirits, the company says.
Krones: Last year, Krones introduced a second generation of its modularized labeler featuring a series of improvements, which include one central touch screen for operating the machine as well as different labeling stations requiring one single entry of data as opposed to two; new motorized docking stations for quick and easy changeovers and a redesigned station trolley. With the improvements, operators can change over to different labeling technologies more easily saving money because shorter changeovers lead to increased production time, the company says. The new labelers can handle cold-glue, hotmelt and PSL labeling at outputs of up to 72,000 containers an hour and can be retrofitted to existing lines.
Sidel: As consumers continue to look for good-for-you drinks, there has been a rise in beverages with original fruit pulps requiring filling technology to efficiently and effectively produce those products. Sidel has recently enlarged its product portfolio to include technologies for hot-fill and aseptic bottling of products with particle or pulps including flavored waters with fruit pieces, aloe vera or coconut-based drinks, pulpy juices and Chinese specialty drinks in PET.
The company’s Veloce ISD is designed to handle hot-fill production while the Sensofill FMa fillers are used for aseptic particle filling. The technologies are able to dose particle concentration from 10 to 200 milliliters, depending on the recipe and the bottle size, which can range from 200 milliliters to 2 liters. The company says the accurate dosage of the fillers allows for the correct amount of particles in the final beverage, while minimizing waste of raw material, and contactless valves improve hygienic filling. Both filling technologies are available as stand-alone fillers and in the Combi configuration.
Karlville Development Group: Miami, Fla.-based Karlville offers a line of automatic shrink sleeve application equipment called the SleevePro line specializing in shrink sleeve application and shrink sleeve converting equipment. The line of equipment includes a low-to-medium speed range machine, SP150, that allows small to medium size companies to enter the shrink sleeve business at an affordable cost, the company says. Karlville also offers the SP300 and SP400, for higher volumes and finally the SP500 and SP600 for high-speed applications. Along with automatic applicators, Karlville offers a wide range of steam and heat tunnels that will allow end users to deliver high quality shrinkage results, the company says.
Sacmi: This month at the Hispack fair in Barcelona, Sacmi is showcasing its filling solutions including Solo-Mas, which offers process flexibility, short changeover times and, because the bottle does not come in direct contact with the filler valve, preserves the integrity of the product. On the labeling front, Sacmi’s Opera RFST (Roll Fed Sleeve Technology) applies heat-shrink labels directly from the film roll.
The Opera RFST can handle different configurations and combinations allowing for a wide range of label applications, the company says, using a Plug and Label system where labeling stations mounted on a moving cart can be switched from the base of the machine depending on labeling needs. A tubular sleeve that is created on the machine from roll fed stock is sealed with a laser and applied to the beverage container and then a tunnel at the out-feed of the labeler completes the shrinking process providing an alternative to classic tubular sleeve labeling.
The Solo-Mas machine, designed for filling still beverages in PET bottles, combines volumetric-electronic technology with traditional technology resulting in efficient filling of sensitive products that can be carried out by selecting the appropriate setting on the control panel. The level of automation and ease of use, the company says, makes the Solo-Mas a solution for maximum flexibility in terms of products being filled and maximum efficiency for format-changing times.