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High-tech for the small output range

We’ve just happened upon an issue of the 3/16 magazine. And there we found loads of interesting articles: like a report on the Schlossbrauerei Fuchsberg brewery. And because we immediately started browsing, we want to share this discovery with others. Here, however, there’s space for only a brief summary; there’s more about the subject on the magazine article.

Does a traditional Bavarian mid-tier brewery have to manage without any high-tech for its bottling operations? Not at all, in the opinion of the family-owned Schlossbrauerei Fuchsberg from the Upper Palatinate. On the contrary: thanks to high-precision machinery, it benefits from optimal inspection dependability, high standards of hygiene, and an output buffer for the upcoming decades. This is one of the preeminent priorities for proprietor Franz Vogl III: “Technology has been one of my passions ever since I can remember. I’ve always wanted 101 per cent.” And this is precisely what he’s got with his new Krones bottling line.

“For us brewers here in Fuchsberg, regional sourcing is paramount, not only for the raw materials we use, but for the technology we buy as well – so we can brew a good beer and get it into the bottles without any quality losses. It’s our Technical Purity Law, so to speak. In recent years, we’ve invested very substantially in new kit so as to guarantee a high level of quality for our beers – and of course we’re keen to preserve this high beer quality all the way into the bottle,” explains Franz Vogl, who has a degree in brewing from Weihenstephan.

The time was ripe for new bottling kit

At intervals of four to five years, the Schlossbrauerei makes some major investments, true to the motto: “If you stop renewing, you’ll soon stop brewing.” The time had now come for buying new bottling kit. The existing line was more than 20 years old and composed of machines from different manufacturers. When the brewery’s managers initially thought about just replacing the filler, it quickly became clear that this would have entailed an excessively high outlay. And since the floor was to be refurbished as well, the hall would have had to be completely cleared anyway. So a decision was taken in favour of buying a complete new line. The obvious choice here was an arena layout, comprising filler, labeller, bottle washer, packer and unpacker. Two employees are enough to operate the entire line. As space was at a premium, the empty-bottle inspectorwas not included in the arena layout, but installed behind the filler “since this machine requires the least attention from the operator,” says Franz Vogl.

Judicious capacity upsizing

“We’re meanwhile achieving an efficiency of over 90 per cent on the new line. The Krones machines score highly, in terms of their solid, sturdy construction, their technical excellence, their low energy consumption figures, and their superlative technological values. Water consumption per bottle in the bottle washer has been halved, as compared to the old line. And power consumption in the line as a whole is approximately the same as before, but for about 50 per cent more output. This also, of course, benefits our natural environment,” emphasises Franz Vogl. Now that the brewery has the new bottling line from Krones, it is optimally equipped as far as capacity and quality are concerned.

“The confidence we placed in Krones in regard to meeting certain framework conditions like delivery date, erection time and – something of vital importance for us – the commissioning date was validated one hundred per cent. You see, we had to dismantle the old line, then remove it from the hall, refurbish the hall’s floor, walls and ceiling, and then ingress, erect and commission the new line, and all of this within a minimised timeframe,” is how Franz Vogl sums up the work involved. “For this, we had a highly challenging time window of a mere five weeks. If commissioning of the new line had been delayed by one or two days, we would have been left sitting high and dry: a brewery without beer – total meltdown.”

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