As part of the recently held Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) Awards of Excellence, one of our major equipment suppliers, Fibre King, took out the Australian Machinery Manufacturing Award for the Little Packer case packer. This nifty piece of equipment lets smaller scale breweries automatically package cans directly off the canning line and straight into cartons/boxes without the need for time consuming and costly manual processes. And we’re proud to say that Black Hops played an integral part in bringing it to reality.
Custom Building The Little Packer
The origins of the Little Packer can be traced back to 2019, when as part of the canning line roll-out at our Black Hops production brewery (BHII), we teamed up with automated packaging solution market leader Fibre King to custom-build a carton packing solution specifically designed for the smaller scale packaging realities of craft breweries.
Previously we’d relied on a monotonous and labour intensive method for this task, a time intensive process using glue guns. So after recognising an opportunity for an efficient and economical solution for packaging beer at a smaller scale, we approached Fibre King, who have typically focussed on large scale machinery solutions, to take on the challenge of designing a prototype packaging solution congruent to the needs of craft breweries such as Black Hops.
After an intensive design and testing phase the Little Packer, built right here in Queensland, came to fruition just in time for our first canning run at BHII in 2019.
How Does It Work?
The Little Packer, a world first packaging solution upon launch, operates as a fully automated case erector/packer/sealer and sits at the end of the canning line. It lets us automatically pack our 4 packs into 16 or 24 pack boxes without full time human support.
Without this machine, we would be forced to erect, pack and glue every 4 pack into cases by hand, requiring a lot of labour and often excess preparation before canning day. While we have now outgrown and sold that line, it was a very welcome addition to our set up at the time.
Since the successful launch of the prototype Little Packer at BHII, many Australian craft brewers have gone on to purchase it. Being able to contribute in such a way to improving the craft beer industry is something that gives us immense satisfaction.
To find out more about the Little Packer and Fibre King, head here.