Collaboration in canning: KHS and Ferrum adopt intergrative role in hygienic machine design

In a partnership enhanced by mutual developments, KHS and Ferrum have brought their fillers and seamers together respectively to deliver an integrated solution for canners looking for both flexibility and hygienic design.

An increasing number of beverages are being filled into cans worldwide, with the diversity of products seeing a similar increase. It is for precisely this reason that canners make particularly high demands of flexibility and the hygienic design of their machinery. KHS and Ferrum take on a pioneering role in this field. Their technical systems, attuned to one another from many years of partnership, enable beverage producers to market high-quality products that are hygienically flawless. The compact Innofill Can C from KHS, for example, has a flexible, taste-neutral filling, among other features. This is supplemented by the matching seamer systems FC06 and FC08 from Ferrum, where its open design makes it easy to clean. Combined, both machines result in an efficient filling process.

The world demand for trend beverages such as hard seltzer, energy drinks and craft beer continue unabated. Here, the can is often the container of choice, said Manfred Härtel, filling technology product manager at KHS.

“It’s light, easy to recycle and keeps products fresh for longer with its excellent barrier properties,” elaborated Härtel. This type of container is increasingly favoured for established beverages such as soda pop, water and mixed beer beverages.

According to Härtel, this is prompting a good number of beverage filling operations to increase their range in the can segment and fill more and more different products on the same line: “This means higher demands are made of the machine’s flexibility and hygiene. For the greater the product variety on a line, the greater the risk of contamination and flavour carryover.”

Hygienic machine design is crucial

“Our mutual customers have exacting standards when it comes to the quality of their products,” stated Marc Zubler, head of sales and product management at Ferrum.

An optimum hygienic machine design that reflects the current demands and requirements of the market is as important as the consultancy service that goes with it. Härtel claims both companies share a deep understanding in this area.

“We offer a complete package of first-class technology and advice. Our jointly developed filler/seamer block gives our customers plenty of added value,” Zubler declared.

Flexible, hygienic and robust: the Innofill Can C

KHS provides two fillers for the can segment that have been established on the market: the Innofill Can DVD for the high-performance range and the Innofill Can C for small to medium filling quantities. With a new addition to the series that increases capacity to up to 60,000 cans per hour, the Innofill Can C can now be integrated into lines with higher outputs even more effectively. It is also flexible, enabling several different products and formats to be processed on a single line.

“The Innofill Can C is distinguished by its fast format changeovers and setup times. This in turn increases the availability and economy of the system,” described Härtel.

Protection against flavour carryover

In view of the increasing number of beverage variants being processed, special attention was paid to the hygienic machine design and providing protection against flavour carryover during development. In the product area, the filling valves on the KHS can fillers are thus equipped with PTFE expansion joints (Teflon) in place of conventional seals. The sliding seals in the bell guides have also been replaced by Teflon expansion joints to create gapless, hygienic seals. These protect the product from contamination and are easier to clean. Moreover, the electropneumatic lifting and positioning of the bells when sealing cans further contributes to a safe filling process.

“Also, doing away with water lubrication in the filler carousel area shortens exterior cleaning intervals by up to 20%,” Härtel added.

As an option, the Innofill Can C can also be fitted with a HEPA filter that removes potential bacteria from the air in the machine interior. Another option available on request is warm filling. This prevents condensation, and consequently microbiological contamination such as mould, from forming.

Sophisticated hygienic design for seamers

Like KHS, Ferrum strictly ensures the hygiene of its machinery. The attachment of the seamers FC06 (15,000 to 45,000 cans per hour) and FC08 (19,000 to 60,000 cans an hour) to the hygienic design of all components in both the ferruBasic and FC series illustrates this.

“When developing our seamers, we consciously went for an open design without cladding. This makes the components easy to clean and the machine readily accessible to operators,” explained Jörn Winkelmann, process engineer and hygiene expert at Ferrum.

In the FC series – that is compatible with the KHS Innofill Can C – the use of several different angled levels allows condensation and other unwanted liquids to easily run off and not enter the open beverages cans. For the same reason, the conveyor segment features regularly spaced openings and the components have a high surface quality to prevent microbiological deposits. Another item of note is the design of the seals, which are easy to sanitise as they are installed on the exterior of the machine. The seamer section is made entirely of stainless steel and provides maximum durability even when aggressive cleaning media are used. In this market segment, most cleaning is performed by hand; only the gas injection system and bubble breaker are foam-cleaned in a fully automatic process. Cleaning for the product area is also available as an option. In order to maintain hygienic conditions both inside and outside the machine, Ferrum supports its customers with training for personnel.

For can seamers F12 (35,000 to 105,000 cans per hour) and F18 (51,000 to 150,000 cans an hour) in the ferruBasic series, Ferrum provides optional hygiene packages whose components are largely installed in the FC series as standard. These include, among other things, the installation of an inclined base plate (on the F12 only) and various adaptations to tools that support machine hygiene. Furthermore, the welded cladding around the upper parts in the standard version are comprised entirely of stainless steel.

Ferrum systems F12 and F18, designed for the high-performance range, are therefore a relevant addition to the KHS Innofill Can DVD can filler.

Partnership with vision

KHS and Ferrum will further intensify their cooperation in the future.

“Our machines are already very well coordinated with one another. However, we want to offer our customers even more integrated systems,” stated Zubler. Härtel added that this would also apply to the extensive range of consultancy and other services, where the two partners aim to function even more strongly as a unit in the years to come.

This article was first published in the February/March 2022 issue of Food & Beverage Asia.