Sustainability report 2019/20

Issues of sustainability in the development of filling and packaging systems

Ergonomics, product safety, energy efficiency and durability taken into account

KHS has a responsibility to provide its customers with safe, durable and efficient filling and packaging systems. In turn, these must give consumers a protected, authentic and perfect product that is ideally packaged with regard to the environment and marketing. The operation of a system must meet various specifications to this end. 

Ergonomics/operator safety

Developments for the safe and ergonomic operation of our systems and solutions satisfy our customers’ requirement that zero accidents occur during production. This is supported by standards such as CE conformity or customized machine documentation and by an increased number of automation and monitoring processes and simplified operator prompting. Standardized HMI or Human Machine Interface systems, for example, are one of the key components in ensuring ergonomic and safe operation of our plant engineering.

Example further developments in the reporting period

Innoket Neo Flex
  1. The aim is that processes on a system can be easily and centrally managed by a few operators. KHS has thus developed a swivel-arm HMI for its new, modular Innoket Neo Flex labeling machine, for instance, that can move around the machine with the operator, giving him an insight into the machine processes at all times.

    Changeovers to different container or pack formats are already easy to manage as the operator has quick, barrier-free access to the format parts that are as light as possible and simple to replace. With the help of our serial QUICKLOCK fast-acting locking system, for example, bottle guide parts on the Innofill Glass DRS ECO glass bottle filler for beer can be exchanged with just a few manual adjustments performed without tools.

2. Another important approach to development is the continuous improvement of protective health and safety measures for machine operators. On our machines that fill carbonated beverages, for instance, we have thus implemented emission measuring instruments that monitor the concentration of CO2 in the air in the direct operating environment or the amount of alcohol in the ambient air to guard against explosions. Regarding protection against broken glass, on our glass fillers we have further improved the protective measures against flying glass for operators.

Product safety

The central task of a filling and packaging system is the safe and hygienic processing of a beverage. The packaging protects the product during transportation to the retail outlet and ensures that it can be safely drunk by the consumer. To this end, the production line requires perfectly coordinated monitoring processes so that any disruptions or faults can be quickly and efficiently identified and batches tracked. These processes also serve to minimize product loss or further reduce media consumption. In doing so, they also help to make production efficient in its use of resources.

Example further developments in the reporting period

IT-based monitoring and diagnostics systems are primarily used here on both single machines and turnkey lines. They ensure product safety, reduce the number of faults in operation and give operators high line availability.

1. Process monitoring: Innoline Basic Line Monitoring (BLM)
This software is a basic version of the Innoline MES (Manufacturing Execution System) that focuses solely on process data, product and consumption meters and determining the cause of any external disruptions. This only gives employees the information they actually need to identify weak points or reasons for loss in performance, allowing them to react immediately.
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2. Diagnostic information: use of sensors/actuators or what are known as I/O links on systems with multiple functions or interfaces to other machinery.
KHS is introducing a new decentralized system for connecting sensors/actuators up to programmable logic controllers. This system is based on the IO-Link standard. By converting to the new decentralized system, KHS enables diagnostic information from the sensors/actuators to be evaluated by the IO-Link interface. The new decentralized system will become a fixed feature of our systems and other products.

3. Process optimization on the machine
At machine level, too, our processes are continuously monitored and further improved with regard to product safety and quality. The following gives examples from our beer filling and PET container production portfolio.

3.1. Glass bottle filler for beer
A) OPTICAM: camera-assisted foaming control system
The OPTICAM system monitors and automatically regulates beer foaming during filling. This prevents product loss in the production process and ensures that the beer is of a consistently high quality. This option is also available as a retrofit and can thus also be installed on older machines.

B) DIAS: diagnostic system for constant quality control
A glass filler for beer can have over 200 filling stations. The DIAS diagnostic assistance system monitors the entire filling process and thus ensures the filling quality on all filling stations. It detects glass breakages consistently and automatically across the entire processing angle and identifies process deviations for fast troubleshooting and targeted correction. The system provides all the prerequisites for future predictive maintenance.

3.2. Stretch blow molder
A) Automatic control and adaptation of individual stretch blow mold stations
In the stretch blow molding process the Unit Mold Control inspection and control system ensures the optimum quality of bottles that contain a high percentage of recyclate, especially where inhomogeneous rPET qualities are involved. This system also permits bottle lightweighting by minimizing the tolerances in the blown PET bottle.

3.3. Innopas SX tunnel pasteurizer
A) Variable type
On the variable type tunnel pasteurizer different pasteurization specifications for products filled into the same container type can be selected by the customer, giving contract fillers in particular greater flexibility. As opposed to standard market systems, documentation facilitates reliable batch tracking; pasteurization unit control continues to fully ensure maximum product safety in this application, too.

Energy and resource efficiency/improved performance

Energy and resource efficiency start with initial machine and intelligent line design. This in turn relies on the efficient use of materials in machine manufacture, with a high degree of economy and line availability called for in its later phase of use. KHS also aims to further reduce energy, water and media consumption and consumables such as glue or lubricants in the production process.

Example further developments in the reporting period

  1. One clear trend is for a much smaller machine footprint.
    On the one hand, this refers to systems with a more compact total area, such as blocks that combine a number of machines that manage various sequence steps in the filling and packaging process. This means that components such as conveyor segments between the machines are no longer required, resulting in a smaller total area.

    On the other, smaller footprints can be achieved by downsizing. The aim here is to also grant SMEs – and especially breweries – access to industry standards by supplying systems with a smaller format.

    Innopro Ecostab S:
    we have successfully reduced the size of our beer stabilization system to make it accessible to smaller breweries in particular.
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    KHS also strives to further develop its machines with a view to boosting their performance yet without changing the machine footprint where possible

  1. Innopack Nature MultiPack:
    100% performance increase. This packaging system can now process up to 108,000 cans per hour. To date, the machine was available with an output of 54,000 cans per hour. It can therefore now be operated on production lines with a high capacity.
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  2. Consumables in the production process
    Water is one of our most precious resources and, alongside energy, is something customers clearly wish to save more of in the filling and production process.

Our developments over the last few years have thus considerably helped to cut the amount of water used per liter of finished soft drink from 3.6 liters to 1.7 liters, for instance (source). To this end, KHS is also continuously working on optimizing the hygienic design of its plant equipment, for example. We especially examine how we can save more water and cleaning media on machines that have to be thoroughly hygienically sanitized at regular cleaning intervals for reasons of safety following product changeovers. This helps us to conserve resources and shorten cleaning times further, in turn leading to higher line availability.
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InnoPET Blomax Series V stretch blow molder
The Series V saves up to 40% in energy compared to its predecessor through the implementation of a completely new heating concept. In the heater the preforms pass both sides of the centrally arranged heating units. KHS has thus been able to reduce the number of heater boxes by up to 40%, resulting in less radiation loss and considerable energy savings. The output has also been increased from 2,250 containers per cavity and hour to a maximum of 2,800 containers per cavity and hour.
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Technical changes to our PET beverage bottle manufacturing machinery can also help to reduce bottle weights. By applying what is known as a focus lamp, the weight of a bottle can be additionally reduced by up to one gram.

Innoclean bottle washer
By installing further developed pockets for PET bottles holding up to two liters, bottle washers can also be used for this container size typically found in resource-saving returnable bottle systems. This saves large amounts of water and energy.
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Innofill Glass DRS ECO glass bottle filler
This filler for processing beer and soft drinks includes a special evacuation and CO2 purging process for glass bottles that, compared to conventional methods, only needs 50% of the original amount of carbon dioxide for this procedure. An optimized vacuum pump yields additional energy savings of up to 20%.
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Innopack Kisters TPP tray paper packer
In secondary packaging in particular the demand for alternative forms of packaging made of paper or cardboard is growing. The tray paper packer is a further development of our high-capacity shrink packer. Here, a paper folding unit has been installed in place of the shrink tunnel. As the shrink unit is no longer needed, this results in clear energy savings. The system can also be integrated into a shrink packer or replace the shrink process. Furthermore, it can be retrofitted into older shrink packers.
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Pallet conveyors
In pallet conveying we have introduced a new overall concept that increases product quality and further reduces energy consumption depending on the size of the system. For example, we have also cut procurement costs by reducing the amount of space required in the control cabinet or on platforms and we have been able to further reduce costs throughout the entire life cycle of the system by eliminating the energy required for control cabinet air conditioning. Thanks to the consistent use of frequency controllers, we have been able to reduce the variance of the motors used and boost process reliability in pallet conveying for our customers. A further plus is that the system can be expanded in an existing setup. It thus saves on energy and resources and also helps to meet increasing customer demand for durable systems with a long and efficient service life.

Durability and machine quality/improved performance [life cycle]

KHS manufactures machines and system solutions that are in use for decades. This calls for a wide range of expansion and modernization measures to keep the machinery flexible and future proof. These then enable production lines to be individually tailored to market requirements. With further services, such as an extensive discontinuation management system, conversion upgrades to state-of-the-art technologies, advice on line optimization and a selection of digital service products, we help our customers to increase and extend the value creation of their filling and packaging system.

  1. Our customers primarily expand their systems so that they can flexibly adapt to ever faster changes in market demand. KHS provides modular systems to this end. One of these is the Innoket Neo labeling technology series that has been successfully engineered based on the modular principle. Here, different pitch circles and labeling modules provide great flexibility as often required on a filling and packing system.
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    Our glass fillers have also been further developed according to the same principle, for example. The result is a standardized filler platform that permits customers to simply and flexibly retrofit further filling methods or container formats on the same platform without having to fully invest in a new machine.
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    New functions can also be simply added later to our Innopas SX tunnel pasteurizers. For instance, a machine can be retrofitted with a connection to a cooling tower to save water. All that needs to be done to convert the mechanical equipment is to place a preassembled supply module close to the machine and replace the screw-fitted piping parts.

    Improved performance also plays a role for our customers in the expansion of their production lines. This concept has therefore also been realized on the washing and racking unit of our Innokeg Transversal machines. Here, customers can gradually increase the system capacity as and when needed, thus adapting it to suit their exact requirements.
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  2. While KHS’ modular systems are designed to make plant equipment particularly flexible and future proof, with the help of conversions retrofittable throughout their entire life cycle machines can also be modernized with a view to saving on energy and resources, for example, so that in many cases their output and/or low consumption come close to or match that of a new machine. The advantage here is that the customer builds on an existing system, rendering a completely new investment unnecessary in many cases. In the context of the climate debate, customers are increasingly opting for this approach. This trend became even more noticeable with the start of the corona pandemic in 2020. We have been able to cater for this development with a good number of conversion packages and continue to develop our services to this end, offering our extensive range of consultancy services well before legal directives come into effect, for instance.
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  3. Preventive and digital services: Discontinuation management or preventive service for electronic components is also an important pillar in plant engineering, allowing our customers to continue production with as few disruptions and faults as possible. As electrical components now have an average service life of just two years, in order that customer lines can be converted in good time and continue to run KHS provides alternatives by way of precaution, such as when HMI systems or measuring devices from various manufacturers are discontinued or when controllers on KUKA robots need to be changed.
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    Moreover, there is a clear trend towards digital services and increased consultancy. With our new digital KHS Connect customer portal, in the future we will not only provide clients with a modern online shop function for a more efficient ordering, service and procurement process but also customized information and advice on service products, conversions and optimization options specifically tailored to their machines. Northern and Southern Europe and Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) are already able to use KHS Connect. The worldwide rollout is continuing: by 2022 all countries are to be linked into KHS Connect.
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  4. In the course of the corona pandemic we have driven our range of digital services further. If there is a fault in operation, for instance, regardless of their location customers can now identify the possible causes thereof in real time with the assistance of a service engineer and a pair of data goggles through our Augmented Reality Service (ARS). Customer training courses were also successfully integrated into our service portfolio as online workshops in 2020. Our observations show that these developments will also have a lasting effect on further digital services and processes in talks with our customers.
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