The new canning line is up and running!

In April last year, we announced a project to commission a new substantially larger canning line at Black Hops II. While it’s not fully commissioned yet, we are stoked to announce that the line is now running!

Related: Canning more beer – Black Hops’ $3m Packaging Line Upgrade

Here’s a bit of a run down on the new line. First up here’s a video of the line running yesterday!

Automatic Can Depalletiser

The high Level Automatic depalletiser dispatches cans 2.5 layers/min.

Can rinsing

Cans then move through the Ionised air can rinsing system, an anti-static system used to remove contaminants before filling without contributing to additional Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels.  Previously we didn’t rinse cans so there was a small risk of one off cans not being 100% free from contaminants.

Filling and seaming

Cans move into the Master C-Block 24 head rotary filler and 4 head seamer. The beer comes into the filler from the bright tanks which have been moved to the other side of the wall nice and close to the filler. The filler runs at the right speed for how the line is moving further down but can reach up to 250 cans per minute when things are running smoothly.

If the cans are accumulating down the line it will automatically slow down to enable the filler to catch up as opposed to having to stop the run to fix downstream issues.

The automatic level detection enables us to report on exact fill levels to ensure we aren’t under filling or over filling cans. Our previous line didn’t have this ability.

Dry and date

Cans are inverted, then dried then date stamped on the bottom of the can then inverted again back to the right way up.

Accumulation

The accumulation bench can take up to 5 minutes of running time if there are issues down the line, for example of the packtecher or case packer aren’t keeping up with the line speed. We can also use this accumulation bench if we want to take cans off to manually pack for some reason. An example could be different box sizes like 10 pack that would get packed without packtechs, or if we are including a beer in mixed 4 packs like we do with Home Guard we could grab them off this bench before they go through the packtecher. At the end of the accumulation bench the cans pass through additional dryers to prevent packaging related moisture issues during the humid summer months.

Packtecher

The packtecher was built by us and applies packtechs at a rate of around 200 cans per minute. If there are issues with the packtecher and we have to stop it, the accumulation bench comes into play. If cans get through without packtecher’s properly applied it creates problems with the case packer so it’s critical that this process runs smoothly. So far there’s been a few teething problems just dialling it in but it’s running fairly well.

Carton Packer

The CFT Cor20 Automatic Carton Packer is suitable for 20 wrap around cartons per minute. Boxes start flat and the whole process happens inside the machine, it’s pretty cool. Cases are date stamped as they leave the carton packer.

Automatic Palletiser

The conventional Automatic palletiser builds the pallets and has an option for future Automatic pallet wrapper. Currently we fork the pallets off and auto wrap them with our new wrapper. It’s pretty cool too, it stretches the wrap and saves us a shitload in plastic film. We’re getting another one for the warehouse. Up until a few weeks ago every pallet here was wrapped by hand.

Onwards!

We’re pretty pumped to get all of our beers coming through this line. If you have any questions about the setup, feel free to ask in our Facebook Ambassador group or come on a brewery tour!

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