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    Trendy brandy
    Trendy brandy

      33 million cartons - that corresponds to around 400 million bottles a year. With these incredible figures, Emperador Distillers Inc. (EDI) controls about 97 per cent of the Philippines' brandy market.

      Emperador Brandy is the globe’s best-selling brandy and is the 2nd-biggest spirits brand in the world. EDI has two plants in the Philippines, with five complete Krones lines, each rated at 18,000 bottles an hour.

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      In the Philippines, EDI operates its own glassworks for producing bottles, with an output of 200 tons a day. These bottles exclusively supply the company’s brandy bottling plants. A distillery in Batangas makes the alcohol. For bottling, EDI operates the main facility in Laguna, Metro Manila, plus – since the middle of 2012 – a relatively small production plant in the vicinity. In the main plant at Laguna, the brandy is filled on four identically layouted Krones lines, installed next to each other, with their individual machines in each case linked up in a row one behind the other. When the company first started to produce brandy, it had put together its lines itself, using a motley collection of kit. In 2002, then, EDI for the first time commissioned two identical returnable-glass lines from Krones as a turnkey order, each rated at 18,000 bottles an hour, a relatively high output for spirits. In 2004, the company expanded its operations to include a third, and in 2007 finally, a fourth line from Krones.

      Jetting rinser for used empties

      The heart of each of the four lines is an Isofill VV, a classical vacuum machine for non-drip filling of spirits, ensuring ultra-accurate fill levels. The glass bottles are dressed on a Prontomatic cold-glue labeller, with one Linatronic empty-bottle inspector per line tasked with a rigorous check of the bulk glass, and two Checkmat units inspecting the bottles for correct fill level and closure on the one hand, and correct label placement on the other. A Pressant Universal 1N sweep-off depalletiser unloads the bulk glass from the pallets and feeds it into the lines. Around one third of the bottles used are actually new, fresh from the glassworks (with 80 per cent supplied by EDI’s own factory) while two-thirds come from third-party firms that use a widely ramified network to collect the empty bottles, clean them and sell them back to EDI. Not least for this reason, each of the lines incorporates a special piece of equipment called jetting rinser, which sprays out the empties’ interiors with a 0.5-per-cent hot-caustic solution at 45 degrees Celsius prior to filling. After that, the bottles are rinsed twice with warm water and once with cold water. This jetting rinser essentially is nothing else than the head section of a Lavatec bottle washer. “This type of rinser is more rigorous in its efficacy than a rotary model,” says Edwin B. Jaranilla, the facility’s Plant Manager. “The larger amount of energy this rinser consumes is justified, as it means we can be sure that the used bottles are filled with a high level of microbiological safety. And this is also why the Linatronic empty-bottle inspector used after that is of the utmost importance.”

      Fully automatic end-of-the-line packaging

      Once filled and labelled, the bottles are packed in wrap-around cartons by a Wrapapac. Five different bottle sizes filled. The sizes predominantly used are the 750-millilitre and 1.0-litre bottles. In the Wrapapac, they are grouped into transport and sales packs. The final palletising section has likewise been fully automated, with a Pressant Universal 1N palletiser. The four lines in the main facility are run in three-shift operation, six days a week. “We’re achieving efficiency levels of 94 to 95 per cent,” says Edwin Jaranilla. “A major contribution is being made here by Krones’ strategic intelligent plant maintenance system SIPS that we are using. It leads the staff through the maintenance cycle, and is a dependable database for our maintenance history and machine data.”

      “We know full well how fortunate we are to have Krones”

      Spare parts (OEM) supply is handled by Krones Thailand, and the regular maintenance routines are carried out by EDI’s highly trained staff themselves. “What I like best about Krones is that their machines are so fantastically good, they are simply the best you can get on the market, they work efficiently and dependably. And the after-sales service support is also excellent. One short phone call to Manila or Thailand is enough, and we get all the help we need – plus plenty of assistance for new projects, too,” explains Director Kendrick Andrew L. Tan. “So we can count ourselves lucky to have Krones on board as one of our important partners. We’ve understood how their minds work, we know full well how fortunate we are to have them. Which is why Krones is invariably our first port of call where new technical projects are concerned.”

      Fifth spirits line from Krones in succession

      One of these new projects was implemented by EDI in 2013. The company installed the fifth spirits line from Krones in succession, erected in EDI’s second plant purchased in 2012. In terms of equipment, it is absolutely comparable to the first four lines but does, of course, feature the latest machine models meanwhile available, such as a Modulpal 2A palletiser or a Variopac Pro W wrap-around packer. Due to space constraints the solution was rather to accommodate all the line’s machines in a more or less square arrangement. A VarioClean CIP system from Krones has likewise been integrated into this line. “We are the world’s biggest brandy producer and the Philippines’ most important spirits distiller. We’ve been working with Krones lines ever since 2002: starting with two, and in the meantime five lines, which we are using to fill more than one million bottles a day. This is why line dependability is of the utmost importance to us,” explains Mr. Winston Co. “In view of this huge volume, we have to be able to absolutely rely on the technology we’ve got. Without Krones, managing this kind of volume would be impossible for us.”

      High-performance Multiblend mixing systems

      In 2013, EDI also installed two explosion-proof Multiblend mixing systems in its main facility, each rated at 40,000 litres an hour. These are the highest-performance mixing systems that Krones makes. Each of the two machines processes the five different product flows to create the finished beverage. “With the Multiblend systems we do batching with fewer staff, more accurately, and with precision, meaning concomitantly enhanced efficiency,” explains Plant Manager Edwin Jaranilla. The quantity of finished beverage produced here, a maximum of 1.9 million litres a day, is sufficient to supply all five bottling lines with product. “The Multiblend systems from Krones have upgraded our standards of quality still further”, is President Winston Co’s firm conviction. “Krones has actually exceeded our expectations in terms of dependability across the board. Krones has been our partner for the company’s growth in the past, and will remain so in the future.”

      Selected machines and solutions