The Innokeg AF-C Transversal can wash and rack returnable and one-way kegs on just one system. (Image: KHS Group)
500 kegs per hour on one conveyor belt
The keg is to the gastronomic industry what the single bottle is to the consumer. These beverage recipients hold 30 to 50 litres and cannot be used without modern pump technology these days. When liquids need to be filled into different types of packaging, retooling time is often a difficult factor. This has a negative impact on the machines’ efficiency. When changing from one-way kegs to returnable kegs, washing adds an extra step to the process. To make washing and racking kegs with beer, wine or carbonated drinks more efficient, the Dortmund-based KHS Group has developed a system with one single main conveyor belt.
The Innokeg AF-C Transversal offers a range of functions that can provide more efficiency in racking operations. Firstly, the system is compact – this saves space and thus reduces the carbon footprint of the system. When it comes to water consumption, less is always more, so in this system, the water is used twice. In the age of acute water scarcity, this feature is worth double its weight in gold. The rinsing water is also used as mixed water for pre-washing. Implementing the new IE4 generation of electric motors in the conveyors has also reduced the system’s electricity consumption.
The system only uses a single conveyor belt for a wide variety of keg types. (Image: KHS Group)
Washing and racking are also efficient with the Innokeg AF-C Transversal. The system can wash and rack up to 500 kegs per hour. The biggest difference between this machine and its competitors, according to Roger Daum, Product Manager, is this:
“The biggest and most evident difference lies in its innovative conveying system. Up until now, the standard transverse conveying principle has used individual conveyors for feeding in and out which are located upstream or downstream of the actual machine. The KHS system deliberately chose to do away with this concept and conveys the kegs using only a single conveyor belt located centrally between the processing stations, which are positioned in pairs opposite each other. The kegs are then moved sideways in and out of the processing stations.”
This means that the system saves space on-site and enables operators to access the machine directly. They are not obstructed by a conveyor belt, which facilitates maintenance and cleaning of the machine.
The perfect fit for all requirements
Much like other companies, KHS has also employed a modular structure in creating this keg system. The advantage of modular systems is that they can be adapted to changing market demands far more flexibly. Purchasing companies therefore enter into less of a financial commitment than they would if they purchased a highly specialised system. Customers can add modules to the system, which keeps costs down. In these dynamic times, the system can also grow with production quantities. If required, a pre-washer, washer, combo washer or racker can be added to the system. A block frame, in which any cycle can be mapped, consists of two modules with two processing stations each.
“One machine can be configured with up to four blocks, with two modules each. This comes out at 16 treatment heads which can respectively perform the functions of the pre-washer, main washer, combo washer or racker”, explains Daum.
Up to 500 kegs per hour can be washed and racked with the Innokeg AF-C Transversal. (Image: KHS Group)
Here, too, the system can be adapted to increases in production, as individual modules can be left free and, if required, fitted with processing stations later on. Equally, the Innokeg AF-C Transversal can process almost all recipient sizes and types commonly available on the market.
Flexible and fully automatic
In terms of dealing with keg types, the machine can also readjust itself to fit different keg heights and diameters fully automatically. A further optional system detects whether the infed kegs are returnable or one-way. As the system only uses a single conveyor belt, no conversion is required for one-way or returnable kegs. On the conveyor belt, one-way kegs are run straight through the washing modules which are used to clean the returnable kegs first. They are thus sent directly to the racking station using the same route. The Innokeg AF-C Transversal is thus a one-stop solution to a variety of needs.