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    Fast-tracked project at Kenya Breweries

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    Within just eleven short months, Krones installed for Kenya Breweries Ltd. in Kenya an entirely new brewery with an annual capacity of one million hectolitres.
    • From left: Naftaly Ndungu, the responsible brewmaster and quality officer, and Jacob Bett, responsible for engineering and filling operations

    Right from the start, this project, internally code-named “Nafasi” (which translates as “opportunity”), involved a tremendous amount of work both for Kenya Breweries Ltd. (KBL) and for Krones as the turnkey vendor for the entire process technology. In order to coordinate the various job sections against a tight time schedule, more than 1.7 million working hours have been performed to date; at peak times, there were 840 workers on days and 50 working at night, 250 of them from Krones and its sub suppliers alone.

    The original brewery had been decommissioned for years. The new process technology, from raw materials intake to the flash pasteuriser, had to be integrated into the existing building with some areas modified and rebuilt. “It was an exemplary collaborative effort from Diageo Engineering Excellence who led the project, Diageo Operational Excellence and Kenya Breweries Ltd., the component vendors and the local companies,” says an enthusiastic Jacob Bett, responsible for engineering and filling operations at KBL-foo. “This was the only way for us to halve the usual construction time of around two years and to complete the brewery in record time.” KBL had placed the order with Krones in August 2017, and the first brew was run in mid-July 2018. The restored brewery in Kisumu is now producing solely sorghum beer and filling it only in kegs.

    Turnkey brewery

    The brewhouse has been dimensioned for an output of 200 hectolitres of cold wort per brew with an original gravity of up to 19.3 degrees Plato, and can produce twelve brews a day.

    • Yeast, fermentation, filter and bright-beer-tank cellar with
      • one cylindroconical fermentation and storage tank with 1,080 hectolitres net capacity for five brews
      • 13 cylindroconical fermentation and storage tanks, each with 2,000 hectolitres net capacity for ten brews
      • four bright-beer tanks, each with 1,850 hectolitres net capacity 
      • TFS pre-coating filter
      • VarioFlash B flash pasteuriser  
      • one CIP system each for brewhouse and cellar
    • Utilities
      • compressed-air system
      • boilerhouse
      • CO2 recovery system
      • NH3 refrigeration system
      • heavy-oil tank

    Numerous advantages with Steineckers’ process technology

    Krones installed the entire brewery as a turnkey job. Besides the brewhouse and the cellar, Krones also supplied kit for raw material handling, plus the requisite utilities. Naftaly Ndungu, the responsible brewmaster and Quality Officer, plus Jacob Bett, responsible for engineering and filling, were at first the only two KBL employees on site. They were initially tasked with finding new colleagues very quickly, hiring and training them. Naftaly Ndungu had already gained some experience with Krones’ process technology, which helped him during installation and commissioning. “The technology for brewing sorghum beer isn’t all that different from what you use for malt-based beer,” he says. “The recipe and the parameters are just different. But what makes the real difference is the brewhouse vendor. I personally am very happy that KBL opted for Krones.”

    He substantiates this verdict with what he sees as the salient advantages of Steinecker’s technology:

    • The ShakesBeer system in the mash tuns helps to reduce the use of enzymes.
    • The heating rate is very high, at one degree per minute, which saves both time and energy. This is due to the tun design, which features dimple jackets.
    • The Stromboli internal boiler in the wort copper proves to be highly efficient, since despite the brewery’s location 4,000 feet above sea level, there is no need to boil at overpressure, which saves on steam energy, and facilitates isomerisation of the hops.
    • Reliability during the boiling operation is assured by the simple, effective design of the surge-tank technology, which does not require any spare parts or maintenance.
    • The design of the mash filter ensures excellent performance.
    • The energy storage system operates very efficiently, and consumes only 85 megajoules of energy per hectolitre, thus significantly improving on the target figure of 110 megajoules stipulated by KBL.
    • Operation of the brewhouse is proving to be very reliable overall for the staff concerned.

    The project in Kisumu entailed a whole series of challenges for Krones. “Ultimately, we had to satisfy both the client Diageo and the end-user KBL. And as far as the basic concept was concerned, the model of the managerially decentralised brewery, where there are solely persons responsible for particular sections, was new to us and took some getting used to,” explains Krones’ Project Manager Astrid Ziegler. “Since the modification work on the building and the installation of the kit proceeded in parallel due to the very tight time schedule, we also had to do a lot of improvising. When we erected the tanks, for example, the concrete foundation slab hadn’t yet been poured, so we worked provisionally with point foundations.” By the end of the year, she will have integrated three more cylindroconical tanks in Kisumu, which KBL has ordered from Krones for capacity upsizing.

    Extensive collaboration

    The project was led by Nick Quirke, Head of Africa Capex at Diageo Engineering Excellence (DEE). On the site itself, there was a small team of experienced DEE project managers. The team was supported by outside specialists in civil engineering, utilities and energy. For validation, energy-efficiency, brewing technology and filling technology, too, assistance was provided at need by specialists from Dublin and Africa. Everything at DEE was invariably governed by the six cornerstones of safety, consistency, sustainability, value, innovation and quality – the core DNA in all projects managed by DEE.

    Despite the complexity of the construction project, the staff involved successfully completed the modification work without any damage or accidents. For this purpose, more than 4,500 safety audits and immediate corrective actions (ICAs) and 3,200 safety observations (SORs) were performed, for example. Every day, on a whiteboard, the actions of all teams were spotlighted, as were the activities of the Diageo Engineering Excellence (DEE) as the lead, and the vendors involved. Once a month, in the presence of all staff and the management, rewards and recognition were annunciated. The collaboration between DEE, KBL and Krones was extremely extensive, and reflected in certification processes with protocols for DQ, CQ, IQ, OQ and PQ, plus monitoring of flow charts and risk analyses for all areas.

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