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    Craft Beer
      In Munich’s Unterschleissheim suburb, two start-up entrepreneurs have proclaimed the craft-brewing republic, in the shape of their CREW Republic company.

      A crew is – as everybody knows – a team but it is also a nice play on words, an amalgamation of “craft” and “brew”. In Munich’s Unterschleissheim suburb, two start-up entrepreneurs have proclaimed the craft-brewing republic, in the shape of their CREW Republic company. The crew is made up of four employees, and the firm’s founders and general managers Mario Hanel and Timm Schnigula. The first brewing facility of their own, which recently started operation, has been professionally kitted out, with Krones supplying the complete bottling line, rated at 5,000 bottles an hour and including a Kosme Barifill and a labeller from the new Ergomatic series.

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      Kosme Barifill beer filler

      Krones managed to accommodate the entire bottling kit for CREW Republic on a surface area measuring a mere 10 x 15 metres. On these 150 square metres, the line starts with a bulk-glass sweep-off depalletiser and a Linajet crate washer. As its filler, CREW Republic chose a Kosme Barifill, with a Downstream Checkmat inspecting the bottles for correct fill levels. The filled and crowned bottles are then dressed by an Ergomatic labeller, in which another Checkmat has been integrated. After that, CREW Republic has two options for end-of-the-line packaging: a packer puts the bottles into the cleaned plastic crates or into cartons, with the cartons being produced in a carton erector, closed by a carton sealer, and dressed in labels specifying the beer type, and date-coded, in a carton labeller. Cartons and crates respectively are stacked on pallets by hand.

      The Kosme Barifill beer filler features Krones VKPV valves, and with its compact design is ideally suited for relatively small breweries. With its flexibility, its simple, fast format change-overs and its high degree of operator friendliness, this Kosme filler guarantees optimum quality levels for all bottling operations. The electro-pneumatically controlled Krones VKPV filling valves make for swift processing without any foaming, so that the product’s original quality is retained. The VKPV valve is predestined for beer-filling: since there is more than one pre-evacuation step and the bottles are flushed with ring-bowl gas, oxygen pick-up during filling is minimised. So as to make sure the lines are optimally protected and the labels flawlessly positioned, CREW Republic purchases its lubricants and adhesives from KIC Krones.

      The base, with its sloped Tabletec top, provides some substantial advantages for cleaning and maintenance, because no dirt corners are formed where the product might collect. On the inclined surface, product and other liquids just run down automatically, thus enhancing the microbiological safety of the bottling process.

      Ergomatic: the latest labeller model

      For dressing its glass bottles in cold-glue labels, CREW Republic opted for the very latest labeller model from Krones, an Ergomatic. One of the first machines of this family is up and running in the craft brewery. In future, Krones will be offering almost all its labellers from just one modularised system. A single basic standardised machine, available in several sizes, is combined with labelling stations that are either permanently affixed or can be docked onto the basic machine as needed, using the appropriate variants. Even though the Ergomatic’s labelling station is permanently affixed, retrofitting the machine with replaceable stations at a later juncture is always possible. Clients are thus keeping their options open for the future.

      Thanks to direct drives for the bottle table and the transfer starwheels, there is no need to lubricate the Ergomatic´s main drive train. Compared to a machine featuring a main drive with intermediate gears, the direct drives, thanks to their higher efficiency, also cut energy consumption. Since the machine does without a tabletop, its carousel is very easily accessible from all sides and its footprint is significantly smaller. The labels are handled using the field-proven oscillating pallet travel concept. Labelling accuracy, high as it is anyway, has been further enhanced by means of a direct drive without gear wheel play. The machine is in hygienic design throughout, which makes it very easy to clean.

      In good hands with Krones

      For CREW Republic to enter into a dialogue with Krones was, in the General Manager’s view, “a relatively logical step. As we’ve mentioned before, our principal focus is on quality. This, and the requisite work routines that top-quality products demand, take precedence over anything else in our operations. We were quite clear in our minds that we most definitely need a bottling operation that does our product justice. This means minimised oxygen pick-up and dependable work procedures guaranteeing a high level of availability. We accord comparatively high importance to packaging as well. And we want everything to be single-sourced, to have just one contact person for the whole subject of bottling, quite simply to minimise the amount of interfacing involved. We are no technicians ourselves, so rather a lot was here based on trust, trust that comes with Krones’ good reputation – that, too, tipped the scales in favour of Krones. ‘Well, when this is Krones, then the quality will be OK,’ we told ourselves. And we then felt we were in very good hands with this company, even though we are such a small firm – that came as quite a pleasant surprise for us. Not all of Krones’ competitors took us seriously. I had the feeling that Krones devoted just as much time to our inquiry as it does for a major player, something you can’t take for granted.”

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