Krones AG, Neutraubling, Germany, had a highly successful “drinktec”, the world’s biggest and most important trade fair for the beverage and liquid-food industries, which is held in Munich every four years. This year, the “drinktec”, with over 76,000 visitors from more than 170 different countries, achieved the best result ever in the 66 years of its existence. Around 90 per cent of the visitors came to Krones AG’s stand, keen to learn more about the innovations on show from this globally operating company in the beverage filling and packaging sector.
Krones spotlighted for the trade visitors not only interesting design enhancements, but also path-breaking new products.
The major focus was on innovations that on a smaller footprint enable the same output (OEE) to be achieved, provide ever higher levels of individualisation and flexibility, and impart additional sustainability to the production operation – with digitalisation playing a key role.
Beer filling in just 0.5 seconds
When beverages and liquid foods are being filled, the speed of the filling process plays a vital role. This is why at the “drinktec 2017” Krones exhibited a beer filler that fills a bottle within just 0.5 seconds, which makes it the world’s fastest beer filler. The design also features an integrated bottle crowner, something that’s normally installed as a separate machine downstream of the filler itself. The filling and crowning operations together take a mere five seconds, which means this new machine halves the time hitherto required to fill and crown a bottle and reduces the beer’s oxygen pick-up, with concomitant gains in terms of beer quality.
“The production line of the future”
Consumers’ desire for individualisation continues unbroken, and Krones offered precisely the right solutions for this. As exemplified by the “Bottling on Demand” concept study, comprising a combination of filler, direct-printing machine and intelligent conveyors, Krones demonstrates that even small batch sizes are a viable option – while nonetheless offering maximised flexibility. “Bottling on Demand” is an ultra-flexible “production line of the future” – a project that already symbolises Industry 4.0. This concept study for the first time presented a filling option for a batch size of 1, whose end-product, beginning with the bottle shape, the contents, the closure and the dress, and even the RFID code, can be specified individually in its entirety - all via an app.
Added value thanks to digitalisation solutions from Krones
Quite generally, the combination of machines and lines, clouds and data, played a paramount role in Krones’ presence at the fair. The firm’s digitalisation solutions were enthusiastically received by the visitors. With cloud computing, big data, smart data, the internet of things and much, much more, the digitalisation solutions from Krones provide data, know-how and fast communication, designed to upgrade still further the efficiency of the lines concerned and to make comprehensive use of all potentials along the entire value creation chain, thus enabling genuine added value to be generated in the filling plants of the beverage and food industries.
The trade visitors, representing small, mid-tier, and also large internationally well-known beverage corporations, were manifestly more than impressed by Krones’ new products. Some of them, in contrast to previous fairs, stayed for three to five days, in order to familiarise themselves with the new technologies in numerous highly intensive conversations. Christoph Klenk, Krones AG’s Executive Board Chairman, had this verdict on his firm’s successful “drinktec 2017”: “We’re very satisfied.”