Carlsberg and KHS implement streamlined canning concepts in China

The KHS Group and Carlsberg have recently launched a number of projects including the installation of two canning lines. The focus was on a streamlined layout and production design that are to act as a role model for all of the company’s Chinese factories. 

Carlsberg was one of the first international breweries to start exporting beer to China about 150 years ago. For several decades, the company has been represented by a number of sites in the Chinese market, with numerous traditional operations spread across the country at various stages to augment its network. The enterprise aims to improve the quality of local beers in the long term and grow with its partners, suppliers and employees. This is to be brought about by constant modernisation of existing plant equipment and the introduction of new, advanced technologies. 

KHS recently installed two canning lines at Carlsberg Dali Brewery (Dali City, Yunnan Province) and at Carlsberg Yibin Brewery (Yibin City, Sichuan Province). 

Paul Kime, asset and projects director at Carlsberg Asia. said: “We’ve been working successfully with KHS for around ten years on the Asian market and have developed further together. This continuity throughout a good number of projects has created a sense of trust between us and makes us feel that we’re all one big team.”

Norman Gras, global key account manager at KHS, said: “We no longer merely have a simple supplier/customer relationship; our two companies have grown together. Our teams work together professionally hand in hand. This is the key to success.” 

This partnership is an important factor when it comes to project implementation. Despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the new canning lines were commissioned before the agreed date. KHS’ policy of regionalisation was central to the project’s quick realisation.

Gras said: “In setting up our own sales organisations and increasing our local service proficiency, we provide the regional expertise needed to independently maintain, install and commission our machinery with the help of local teams.”

With travel restrictions still in force, this has been a great advantage. “Our proximity to the customer and short transportation distances have considerably helped us to meet our supply obligations throughout the entire value chain,” he adds.  

Carlsberg found it important that its new canning lines have a clear and streamlined layout at the two Chinese sites. “We succeeded in quickly implementing an intelligent, space-saving line concept in close cooperation with the customer’s project team,” Gras continues. The heavily reduced number of buffer and conveying segments in the new line design make higher demands of the system control and machine availability – the shorter distances between the individual stations on the line tolerate no faults in the production processes. The high degree of reliability and ease of operation and maintenance of KHS’ technology proved convincing.

Kime said: “The reject rate is under 1% and the level of efficiency is over 95% – and is even 100% in Yibin.” 

At the heart of the line is the Innofill Can DVD can filler that processes up to 90,000 0.33-liter cans or a maximum of 60,000 0.5-liter cans per hour, ranging from local brands to Carlberg’s products. The concept also incorporates an Innopas SX tunnel pasteuriser and a packaging system comprising an Innopack SP shrink packer at each respective plant plus two wrap-around packers in Yibin and one in Dali, where several years ago KHS installed three returnable glass lines.  

With state-of-the-art robot grouping, palletising with the Innopal PB1 RG2 gives Carlsberg the flexibility to also cope with any tasks in store. 

Another feature of the current project was the request for a lubrication-free container conveying concept and a dry production environment. “Normally we work with belt lubrication to minimize wear and keep the coefficient of friction constant,” Gras explains. “At both plants the beverage cans run dry on the belts.” In opting for this solution KHS has disproved something – in the past brewers were convinced that the floor had to be wet – helping Carlsberg with sustainability by saving water.

“The entire project was ideally executed and is an important role model for future canning line setups,” said Gras.

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