Krones Bottle Fill Control Valves

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Challenge

Our customer is the bottler of a Cola drink, who was having issues with underfill and overfill of product in 500ml bottles on their Krones filling machine. The challenge they faced was most noticeable on the lines filling one of the premium brands, as the cost of syrup is much higher, where overfill results in product being given away and underfilled bottles must be scrapped. The machines are legally required to be set to overfill slightly to account for evaporation, ensuring the customer gets the 500ml they paid for. The optimal fill level is set at 515ml but the variation in actual fill volume delivered by the machinery was a significant challenge.

Engagement

We initially visited the customer to present MAC valves for filling valve control applications that had been proven to improve fill level accuracy at other bottling plants, which had delivered substantial cost savings. We also shared the additional cost savings achievable from the longer life of the valve and resulting reduced machine downtime.

Our presentation struck a chord with the customer who requested that we survey their machines to identify what benefit they might expect to achieve.

We carried out a machine survey to validate the machine manufacturer / design and existing filling valve solution (above). We also gathered the necessary information to understand the cost make-up of the product (syrup, carbonated water, plastic bottle & cap), number of bottles produced and bottle reject rates due to underfill. This information allowed us to produce a preliminary CPR (Customer Profit Reinforcement) presentation which outlined the estimated savings that could be made, which we subsequently shared with our customers’ senior management team.

Our customer was keen to get a manifold on trial, and working with their engineers, samples were taken from the production line and weighed. We tabulated the results with statistical calculations and proved an average overfill saving of 1.6ml per bottle with a significantly improved repeatability.

Solution

Working with our product partner MAC Valves, we created an 8 station manifold comprising of BV314 bullet valves arranged as a drop in replacement for the existing Herrion valve manifold. Following the successful trial, 105 manifolds were supplied to convert the whole machine.

Benefits

Following the conversion of the whole machine, production data validated that they were achieving the 1.6ml reduction in overfill. Delivering a reduction in unsold product, and increased profit per bottle the customer achieved a return on investment (ROI) of less than 12 months.

Our solution was also around half the cost of the original Herrion solution, with a longer life and easier to replace resulting in significantly reduce maintenance cost and lost production due to unplanned maintenance.

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