In addition to its own Ožujsko-brand beers, which comprise not only traditional beer types but also beer-based mixed drinks containing orange, grapefruit or elderflower, the brewery also produces numerous other internationally renowned beers. This is because it has been part of the international Molson-Coors Group since 2012 and therefore also brews brands like Becks, Löwenbräu or Stella Artois, which are sold in Croatia, its neighbouring countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia, and also in Austria and Germany.
Krones has installed a new canning line for the Croatian brewery Zagrebacka Pivovara in a multi-storey building right in the centre of Zagreb.
Numerous advantages of cans
Zagrebacka has traditionally filled its beers mainly in glass bottles. In the past, Krones supplied some machines for its two glass lines and also for a small PET line. Up to now, the brewery only had one small canning line with an hourly output of 10,000 cans. But demand for cans has recently been soaring. “In Croatia, cans have seen a steady increase in popularity over the past ten years. That reflects the overall growth on the retail market where the can has turned into the packaging of choice for beer. However, it is also attributable to significantly rising numbers of tourists coming to Croatia, especially from abroad,” says Luka Sorić, Plant Manager at Zagrebacka Pivovara, summing up the current situation. Many tourists visit the country, particularly in the summer months. He believes they find it much more convenient to buy beer in cans because of the mandatory deposit on bottles. And, of course, bottles are also heavier to carry.
He goes on to point out the advances in canning technology over recent years. “Especially in regard to the TPO, short for total packaged oxygen, there is no longer any quality difference between canned beer and bottled beer.” This and other improvements have lowered the price difference between cans and bottles over recent years. In view of that and all the other advantages mentioned above, more and more consumers now prefer cans over bottles.
Frequent visits paid off
“Once we here at Zagrebacka realised that trends were changing, we decided to install a new line. When we started the tendering process, we had only a few potential vendors to choose from. In the end, we opted for Krones since their crew impressed us with their great commitment and desire to implement this project with us. Krones employees visited the site repeatedly to check everything and make sure it was all properly measured. This meant that each of their proposals was based on real figures and actual data,” praises Luka Sorić.
The parent company Molson-Coors had already gained some experience with this technology. In 2019, the Hungarian Borsodi brewery likewise commissioned a Krones canning line. The new turnkey line from Krones at Zagrebacka will in future handle 40,000 0.5-litre cans per hour, rising to a potential 60,000 containers an hour for the 0.33-litre format.
|Project:||Turnkey canning line, rated at 60,000 cans per hour|
|Scope:||Complete line for 0.33-litre and 0.5-litre cans|
- Modulpal Pro 2A depalletiser, which uses a suction plate to lift off the individual layers
- VarioFlash B flash pasteuriser
- Modulfill VFS-C filler with Krones Modulseam can seamer, including cleanroom roof
- Various inspection systems
- Two packers of the Variopac Pro series, for producing both shrink packs and paperboard trays
- Modulpal Pro 2ADP palletiser, with a Robobox TG-S grouping system installed upstream
A masterpiece of planning
As its name suggests, Zagrebacka Pivovara’s production facility is located right in the heart of Croatia’s capital, Zagreb. That’s where the new canning line was to be installed – a less-than-easy task as the planning team was soon to find out. The brewery is located in the city centre, and therefore the arrival of the lorries delivering the kit had to be precisely timed since it was only possible to unload four vehicles simultaneously. The total number of lorries required was 53.
And space in the production hall is also at a premium. Since the city-centre location did not allow any add-ons, the new line had to be accommodated in the space available (extending over four floors). As Boris Tremmel, who is in charge of the MolsonCoors key account at Krones and who looks after the Zagreb project, points out: “The space constraints, the low ceiling heights and the fact that the line was to be installed on four floors posed quite a challenge for layout planning.” But together with the customer, the Krones crew found the ideal solution:
- The line starts and ends on the ground floor. First, an 18-metre-high pallet lift takes the empty cans up to the topmost floor where they are depalletised.
- The filler, flash pasteuriser and shrink-wrapper are accommodated on the second floor.
- The trays are produced and the pallets loaded on the first floor. After that, a lift takes the pallets of fulls back down to the ground floor.
A custom-built and specifically dimensioned platform was installed to take the machines and systems up to the top floors.
Krones found the best possible solution for accommodating the line on four floors. This and the schedule they submitted for delivery and installation, which fitted in perfectly with our own plans, made it an easy choice for us to go with Krones. Luka SorićPlant Manager at Zagrebacka Pivovara
For the Krones crew, the space constraints weren’t a problem but a challenge they had to overcome, and it was precisely this attitude that tipped the scales in favour of Krones, says Luka Sorić. “Krones found the best possible solution for accommodating the line on four floors. This and the schedule they submitted for delivery and installation, which fitted in perfectly with our own plans, made it an easy choice for us to go with Krones.”
Time schedule kept, despite delays in delivery
Further challenges arose after the contract was signed. Global shortages of materials and electrical components were obstacles the entire world market had to cope with. “Even though this project was obviously affected by such supply issues and delivery of the machines had to be postponed by one month, Krones compensated for all of these delays during installation, meaning the line was erected and commissioned, and the first sales-quality products were coming off the line as originally planned,” says a satisfied Luka Sorić, summing up the project as follows: “Less than two months passed from the first equipment delivery to production of the first can – that is really outstanding, given all the space restrictions we had and the multiple floor levels. Getting all of this done in such a short time, that is something not many companies could have achieved, but Krones managed it.”
Less than two months passed from the first equipment delivery to production of the first can – that is really outstanding. Luka SorićPlant Manager at Zagrebacka Pivovara