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    Molkerei Berchtesgadener Land


    Milk, cream and cocoa – Krones’ high-tech filler handles it all

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    26. July 2023
    3:05 min.

    The new returnable-glass line at Berchtesgadener Land has added chocolate milk to its repertoire. It’s quite exciting, considering that the filler now processes four product types, each with very different filling characteristics.

    Some call it cocoa, some call it by a beloved brand name and still others simply say “chocolate milk”. By any name, the chocolate-flavored drink is a heavy favorite among dairy drinks in Germany. The Berchtesgadener Land dairy has long offered a fine chocolate milk drink in a practical grab-and-go package. And now, as of May 2023 to be precise, the dairy is offering the beverage in a one-liter returnable glass bottle for the many consumers who like to enjoy it at home and want to keep a larger container on hand in the fridge. In this way, the dairy is also recognizing the preference for glass packaging when it comes to milk-based drinks for home consumption. 

    Berchtesgadener Land is able to satisfy this preference thanks to last year’s investment in a high-efficiency returnable-glass line, which also promptly doubled the facility’s capacity for filling glass bottles. All core components of the new line – the bottle washer, filler and labeler – are from Krones. Until now, the line has filled traditional fresh milk into one-liter bottles and cream into half-liter bottles, with capacities of 12,000 and 15,000 containers per hour, respectively.

    A versatile filler

    Even the earlier product combination – low-fat and full-fat milk and cream with 32 percent fat content – was a challenge to accomplish on a single filler. Low-fat milk tends to foam heavily and therefore has to flow in slowly at first. Meanwhile, to prevent cream from turning into butter, it has to flow outward slowly through a maximally large gap. To ensure a somewhat longer filling time for low-fat milk, the Modulfill NWJ filler, with its 45 valves, has a larger diameter than is actually required to achieve the desired output. This versatile line processes the different products reliably, each at its optimum speed. 

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    The Modulfill NWJ filler does it all

    Chocolate milk adds another layer of complexity to this already-challenging filler concept. Milk that’s mixed with cocoa powder is even more susceptible to foaming than either milk or cream. So, the line had to be further fine-tuned to accommodate the new task, explains Paul Althammer, deputy production manager and project lead for the new bottling line: “It was already no simple matter to find a filler capable of handling both milk and cream. To add chocolate milk to the mix, we had to work closely with Krones’ programmers to find just the right settings. But we couldn’t simply stop running our other products while we figured it out either. It was like doing research during open-heart surgery.” 

    Among the tasks facing Althammer’s team: optimizing the opening time of the filling valves and reducing the amount and speed of chocolate milk dispensed at the start of the production run. “Coordinating all of the components wasn’t easy, but now everything is working well,” says a gratified Althammer. Now the chocolate milk runs at a lower speed of 8,000 bottles per hour instead of the standard filling rate of 12,000. Once again, the dairy cooperative’s decision to plan the line for maximum long-term viability and to work out a filler concept with Krones that accounts for possible new product variants in the future is paying off. When the line was commissioned in the spring of 2022, no one could foresee that a new product like fresh chocolate milk could successfully be added just one year later. 

    Chocolate milk fans can rejoice: They’ll soon be able to keep a liter at a time in the fridge, in premium-quality, sustainable glass bottles.

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    Challenges overcome: The filler handles milk, cream and now also chocolate milk. Image credits:

    Molkerei Berchtesgadener Land

    26. July 2023
    3:05 min.

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