As the trend for craft beer continues to grow, so does the number of small breweries and microbreweries whose quality requirements are no less stringent than that of their larger competitors. The new brewers not only make big demands of their products but also of the technical equipment they use to make them. It’s now up to the machine and engineering industry to develop systems which also make high-tech plant equipment available on a small scale and at the same time economically viable even for small companies.
To date systems supplier KHS has provided lines and machines of many different sizes for racking beer into kegs. In the returnables sector these range from the Innokeg Contikeg for up to 1,200 kegs per hour through the Innokeg Transomat for a medium output of between 50 and 800 kegs per hour to the KegBoy for low racking capacities of maximum 35 kegs an hour. There is also the extremely space-saving Innokeg CombiKeg which washes the interior and exterior and racks up to 90 kegs an hour on an ultra-compact system (see the article on page 40 on Swiss craft brewery Doppelleu). The Innokeg PETBoy with a racking capacity of 40 to 60 15- to 40-liter PET kegs every 60 minutes has been developed especially for non-returnables.
“Our message to craft brewers is: when you grow, you can grow with KHS.”
From this list alone we can see that a brewery must clarify a number of points before selecting a kegging system. KHS comes to brewers’ assistance here and eases the decision-making process with its new KHS Innokeg module which is available both as the Innokeg AF filler and an Innokeg AC washer.
The module itself consists of a support frame with a lift station, a keg applicator, and interfaces for many expansion options, such as conveyors, a keg pull-in, and a pusher. The single module can be easily combined with other racking and cleaning modules and is of course CIP-able. It is easy to operate and maintain. For manual operation the racking module for one-way containers has the appropriate safety equipment but can also be operated by robots. Every last detail of the keg expertise KHS has amassed in 50 years has gone into the machinery, for example in the array and design of the media valves or in the use of Direct Flow Control which controls filling directly in place of conventional differential pressure filling with indirect return gas control. Here, the kegs are no longer pressurized at product pressure but at the lower saturation pressure (gas consumption is reduced by 40%).
Modules grow with the brewery
“With our new Innokeg AF and Innokeg AC modules we now provide great flexibility. Brewers can put together just what they need from the basic modules and quickly and easily expand the keg racking process whenever necessary,” says Roger Daum, product manager at the KHS Keg Product Center. “In addition, the format parts are tool free and literally changed in no time at all if one-way kegs are to be run, for instance.”
Daum is convinced that the new machine will be well received by prospective customers. “The market shows that successful craft brewers have a strong potential for growth,” he ascertains. “We’d like to assist this in giving brewers the chance to plan and configure flexibly according to the output and models they require.
We see this as a clear message to the craft brewing scene: when you grow, you can grow with KHS.”