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High-tech for the small output range

Does a traditional Bavarian mid-tier brewery have to manage without any high-tech for its bottling operations? Not at all, in the opinion of the family-owned Schlossbrauerei Fuchsberg from the Upper Palatinate. On the contrary: thanks to high-precision machinery, it benefits from optimal inspection dependability, high standards of hygiene, and an output buffer for the upcoming decades. This is one of the preeminent priorities for proprietor Franz Vogl III: “Technology has been one of my passions ever since I can remember. I’ve always wanted 101 per cent.” And this is precisely what he’s got with his new Krones bottling line.

“For us brewers here in Fuchsberg, regional sourcing is paramount, not only for the raw materials we use, but for the technology we buy as well – so we can brew a good beer and get it into the bottles without any quality losses. It’s our Technical Purity Law, so to speak. In recent years, we’ve invested very substantially in new kit so as to guarantee a high level of quality for our beers – and of course we’re keen to preserve this high beer quality all the way into the bottle,” explains Franz Vogl, who has a degree in brewing from Weihenstephan. “Our ‘Technical Purity Law’ includes not only choosing a regional vendor whenever possible, but also further important framework conditions, like guaranteed spare parts availability for decades to come. Here, of course, we are lucky enough to have the world’s market-leading manufacturer of machinery for beverage producers, Krones, directly round the corner and thus in our sales territory. This is generally referred to as a win-win situation. And we put our best efforts and commitment not only into brewing, but also into bottling our beers as well.”

The time was ripe for new bottling kit

At intervals of four to five years, the Schlossbrauerei makes some major investments, true to the motto: “If you stop renewing, you’ll soon stop brewing.” The time had now come for buying new bottling kit. The existing line was more than 20 years old and composed of machines from different manufacturers. When the brewery’s managers initially thought about just replacing the filler, it quickly became clear that this would have entailed an excessively high outlay. And since the floor was to be refurbished as well, the hall would have had to be completely cleared anyway. So a decision was taken in favour of buying a complete new line. The obvious choice here was an arena layout, comprising filler, labeller, bottle washer, packer and unpacker. Two employees are enough to operate the entire line. As space was at a premium, the empty-bottle inspector was not included in the arena layout, but installed behind the filler “since this machine requires the least attention from the operator,” says Franz Vogl. When it came to choosing an EBI, one thing was clear: “What we wanted here was Krones’ best model, the one with the quadruple side-wall inspection in the short version. In this technology, Krones has caught up a lot. The Linatronic has proved its worth out on the shop floor and is getting a great deal of positive feedback from our fellow-brewers,” explains Franz Vogl. “I’m very satisfied with this machine, and with the high-tech versions of the four main machines as well, of course. I always make a point of having a long, hard look at everything. So sometimes it takes a bit longer before we make up our minds. Now I can say: I’m very impressed with this line. Krones is definitely an attractive option for mid-tier breweries as well.”

“Krones is definitely an attractive option for mid-tier breweries as well.“
Franz Vogl, Schlossbrauerei Fuchsberg

Judicious capacity upsizing

“We’re meanwhile achieving an efficiency of over 90 per cent on the new line. The Krones machines score highly, in terms of their solid, sturdy construction, their technical excellence, their low energy consumption figures, and their superlative technological values. Water consumption per bottle in the bottle washer has been halved, as compared to the old line. And power consumption in the line as a whole is approximately the same as before, but for about 50 per cent more output. This also, of course, benefits our natural environment,” emphasises Franz Vogl. Now that the brewery has the new bottling line from Krones, it is optimally equipped as far as capacity and quality are concerned. “Our goal is to be using these newly created capacities to the full in roughly 15 years,” he explains. And that shouldn’t really be a problem for the brewers from Fuchsberg, given their healthy down-to-earth mindset and their beers’ top-notch quality.

“The confidence we placed in Krones in regard to meeting certain framework conditions like delivery date, erection time and – something of vital importance for us – the commissioning date was validated one hundred per cent. You see, we had to dismantle the old line, then remove it from the hall, refurbish the hall’s floor, walls and ceiling, and then ingress, erect and commission the new line, and all of this within a minimised timeframe,” is how Franz Vogl sums up the work involved. “For this, we had a highly challenging time window of a mere five weeks. If commissioning of the new line had been delayed by one or two days, we would have been left sitting high and dry: a brewery without beer – total meltdown.”


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