Sustainability also means thinking ahead. This is why we focus on upgradable plant technology which is capable of growing and on future concepts which intelligently supplement tried-and-tested technology.
It is becoming more and more important to devote oneself to the question of how companies can set themselves up for the future and develop intelligent systems which enable man and machine to work together. This also – and especially – applies to KHS. Faced with a growth in automation and communication processes, particularly in production, and in view of our endeavor to be and remain a driver of innovation, we look for new answers every single day – in the full interests of our customers who just like us are geared towards sustainability and who benefit in many different ways from our efficient line concepts and plant technology. Thanks to this consistent approach many innovative products have already been developed. Our most recent concepts for success, which are already well established on the market, show which path we have taken and which direction we aim to further pursue.
Highlights from our portfolio as a line supplier
Behind each and every one of our products is a basic principle which defines us as a company: we see ourselves as a partner with a holistic vision. Our core expertise lies in our systems and in the optimization of entire lines and machines. Each innovative new and further development we launch to market pursues this goal. Digitization and intelligent machines play an increasingly significant role in this; they give our customers as yet unprecedented ways of optimizing their processes, production and range of products, at the same time allowing them to produce while saving on resources.
The Innoline MES software solution
With our manufacturing execution system or MES line IT solution we have developed standard software which is specifically tailored to the demands of the beverage industry and makes the production process transparent on all levels. For us, this integrated holistic system is an important step towards the smart factory. What is special about the software is that it collects and processes all existing production data at all production sites. This data is entered in the system in such a way that it can be put to better and easier use than before to coordinate all processes. The procedure is assisted by six different modules which can be used singularly or in parallel on any number of filling lines.
This intelligent dovetailing of production and business processes is the result of a successful pilot project between KHS and Bitburger, a company which has consistently had a pioneering role on the market. The line management tool is now successfully established within the industry and the demand for it is considerable. For good reason: with Innoline MES producers in the beverage industry can significantly sharpen their competitive edge by saving materials and energy and optimizing their operating procedures in the long term.
What's important for us is that the system can learn. When we come up with new requirements, we then continue to develop the system with KHS. All told, I consider this pilot project to be a real win/win situation.
Communicative conveying system: Performance Control 4.0
Another example of a digitized system which is already successfully established on the market is our Performance Control 4.0. This conveying system boosts line availability and lowers media consumption in production. It can precisely track the product flow on the line so that fewer sensors are needed in the system. As the operating statuses of machines are also taken into account, better use can be made of the buffer capacity, such as when changing labels or film reels. This then permits continuous, smoother line operation which in turn cuts down on energy consumption and makes operation gentler on the products. The innovative counting controller is an integral part of the conveying technology for one-way PET lines, ensuring a pressureless, optimized line product flow.
Expert advice for optimum packaging systems
We also consistently apply our innovative spirit regarding efficiency and sustainability to our general consultancy program which finds the right packaging system for our customers. Each client has their own individual basic requirements, goals and ideas. This is why we have introduced our innovative Bottles & ShapesTM program: an all-round service with which our customers can have their PET bottles designed and produced in full accordance with their wishes. The advantage here is that the concept can also be integrated into existing systems as a line optimization measure. From the draft design to the production of bottles ready for market we support our customers throughout the entire process with our wealth of experience. This allows a bottle to be designed which has good marketing properties and saves energy in the production process.
One key element is to save materials in what is known as the lightweighting process. With our decades of expertise in PET we are in the position of offering what is currently the lightest 0.5-liter PET bottle with a screw cap for highly carbonated beverages (9.9 g), plus an extremely light 1.0-liter PET bottle for milk (20 g). Saving materials in the PET sector is and will remain a major topic for us: one to which we attach great importance and have already been very successful with. Our Bottles & ShapesTM concept will thus continue to be a consultancy program which holds great potential for the future as regards sustainability.
Saving materials, food, space and resources
With our innovative Plasmax coating technology for PET bottles we have developed an especially sustainable system of product protection under the FreshSafe PET® brand name. This concept lengthens product shelf lives for storage and transportation, thus preventing any unnecessary waste of food. In turn this results in a number of benefits for the end consumer. The quality of premium products or sensitive beverages – such as juice, wine, beer and other sensitive foodstuffs – is better assured and protected. This applies to both the taste and vitamin content. The innovation behind this system lies in the ultra-thin layer of flexible silicon oxide (chemically pure glass) applied to the inside of the PET bottle which keeps the product fresh for longer. It ensures that oxygen or other substances do not penetrate the bottle and that carbon dioxide and other components responsible for the taste do not escape. This secures a high level of quality even over a longer period of time which also helps to save on resources.
At the same time all materials can be fully recycled. The first European company to introduce this technology for juice is Eckes-Granini. The customer appreciates the perfect vitamin protection, fresh taste, easy handling – and most notably the bottle’s full recyclability. There are also cost advantages over comparable material systems.
The great benefit of our Plasmax-coated bottles is that they don’t need any additives. This ensures 100% recycling. The process has thus already won many sustainability and packaging awards – which we’re naturally very pleased about.
Another focus of our portfolio are compact systems. Blocked single machines give our customers the greatest benefits as they take up little space yet provide a multitude of processing options. An ever larger variety of packaging concepts can thus be implemented on a single piece of equipment. Besides saving space, which also cuts down on the number of conveying segments in production, the block enables very efficient productivity, operation and maintenance of the system, thus yielding a convincing saving in resources throughout the entire life cycle of the machinery. For this reason we aim to develop more space-saving systems in the future. Furthermore, we are also noticing that many SMEs increasingly want filling and packaging systems which are based on our experience in the high-capacity range and give them flexible production options at the lowest possible life cycle cost. We therefore already offer a selection of fillers and packers which precisely satisfy this demand. Our aim here is always that our customers can process their products reliably and in the best quality – with the best possible resource efficiency.
Experts for systems that grow
If you start small, you need a small system, as this is when you have to consciously target the use of your own resources. This is the case with newly founded craft breweries, for example. Once the desired level of growth sets in, systems with more power and larger capacities are gradually required. This challenge also touches on important issues of sustainability. How soon does a system reach the end of its useful service life and have to be replaced? Can innovations and new developments be integrated into existing machines? With our modular plant technology we always have the right answers to these questions. We think sustainably and would like to enable our customers to have their systems grow to match their success. We thus give craft breweries an especially high level of flexibility with our new modular keg system solutions, for instance. Depending on the required capacity our systems can be expanded at will to include extra filling and cleaning elements, be optionally combined with a flash pasteurizer and permit returnable and non-returnable kegs to be racked – all at a low cost of investment and operation. Thanks to our experience and expertise in modular technology we are a recognized partner to start-up breweries who believes in using sustainable systems.
If you start small, you need a small system, as this is when you have to consciously target the use of your own resources.
As a supplier of turnkey systems and lines, for us it goes without saying that in our developments we continue to address the pressing issues of sustainability, resource efficiency, environmental awareness and especially of saving water in the future to an ever greater extent. Innovative products which also give our customers verifiable added value are our instruments of choice. To a greater degree we rely on combined and supplementary options for existing systems which we constantly continue to further develop.