VLB Brewing and Engineering Conference at Paulaner
Great interest in great technology
For Germany the recent move of Paulaner’s entire production shop from the center of Munich out into the country was quite spectacular: reason enough for the new brewery to host this year’s VLB Brewing and Engineering Conference with the focus on its pioneering technology.
The 104th spring conference held by the Research Institute for Brewing and Malting Technology in Berlin (VLB), one of the world’s leading research and training institutions in its field, focused on a very special place: the new Paulaner Brewery in the suburb of Langwied on the northwest edge of the Bavarian capital of Munich.
In the fall of 2015 the traditional company literally began moving its entire production out of Nockherberg in Munich’s inner city to fields of green, where on a site measuring 15 hectares up to 3.5 million hectoliters of beer per year are to be brewed, filled and distributed throughout the entire world in the long term. “You only see a project of this size in Germany once every 100 years,” says Markus Hunneck, director of Sales for Germany at KHS, enthused by the impressive new production site. Accordingly, there was also a vast amount of interest shown by the 380 participants from 34 countries and five continents who traveled to the Sheraton Hotel in Munich for the conference – not least because the event centered on the pioneering technology now in operation at Paulaner.
KHS has also contributed to the technology in operation at the brewery with a total of five filling lines and one line conversion. “The most cutting-edge equipment KHS has to offer is now up and running at Paulaner,” says Hunneck confidently. “One special highlight is our manufacturing execution system or MES which controls the LGVs (laser-guided vehicles) that transport full and empty containers and pallets to and from the lines fully automatically, feed pallets to the line or can take consumable goods to a defined place.”
The KHS lines weren’t only presented at the VLB conference on the two tours of the brewery and in a joint talk with Paulaner; “In full keeping with the high-tech aspect of our filling and packaging lines visitors were also able to view our systems virtually on VR headsets and with 3D simulation at the conference venue, allowing them to study everything in exact detail,” smiles Hunneck, pleased with the Dortmund systems supplier’s successful attendance at the spring meeting in Munich.
New training center in Bad Kreuznach
Customer training courses on the operation and maintenance of KHS machines usually take place on site, where customer engineers are instructed on KHS systems they have normally recently procured. However, more and more customers from all over the world are taking advantage of the Dortmund systems supplier’s offer to also attend these sessions at one of KHS’ training centers. To date such facilities exist in India, Brazil and the USA – and of course at the five KHS factories in Germany, namely in Dortmund, Kleve, Hamburg, Bad Kreuznach and Worms. The benefits for the customer are obvious: customer engineers who visit a KHS production plant can see exactly how the machines are built. Back home at their own production site the in-depth knowledge they have thus acquired supports them in their daily work.
Training at the workbench
In view of this growing demand a new 550-square-meter training center has now been opened in Bad Kreuznach, where employees and customers began attending courses at the end of 2016. The center is a two-story complex which has been installed in a renovated production shop. The upper floor contains offices for the eight instructors who work here, with three seminar rooms equipped with state-of-the-art equipment on the ground floor. One of these acts as an electrical laboratory: it contains workbenches on which motors can also be run and racks with PLC, motor and pneumatic controllers, enabling these to be seen in action during training. The other two classrooms are equipped with mobile partitions so that they can be turned into one room, making them suitable for larger events accommodating up to 100 people. A shop floor has also be set up in the production shop for practical training purposes where the course theory is explained using the modules installed on KHS machines. Tool and gear carts provide the necessary tools so that the machinery can be taken apart if desired – and not only by customer engineers but also by KHS service engineers who of course also have access to the new training center. The workbench comes complete with a smartboard, whose touch screen allows course participants to retrieve a spare parts list, for example, or zoom in on drawings in order to examine every single detail.
The new technical center not only scores with its equipment but also with its qualified personnel: most of the instructors have worked in both production and commissioning at KHS, making them the ideal candidates to pass on practical experience gleaned during the course of their work.
Technical center for quality testing of packaging materials
The acid test
At the KHS site in Kleve the company’s packaging specialists recently introduced a new service: at their very own dedicated technical center various quality checks can now be performed on the film and corrugated cardboard used in packaging. The interaction of film and cardboard packaging is examined, for example, with the focus on pallet stability. The aim is to help customers to identify the most suitable materials to improve the image, pack stability and protection of their products.
One example of these tests involves the thermal Retratech shrink film testing machine. Here, how the film behaves crosswise and lengthwise during shrinking is determined in a simulation process, with the forces exerted on it during the application of heat also computed. The test results are then verified under real conditions in a shrink tunnel on a packaging machine. At the end of the procedure the customer is presented with a set of data which can be used as a recommendation for the film supplier, thus ensuring that the customer's system runs reliably with the tested material.
The measurement results are entered in an extensive database where they are analyzed, compared and clearly visualized and documented. “The analysis of this data is of course very conclusive,” says Michael Timmer, head of Quality Control at the factory. “It’s extremely helpful that we can validate the results from the lab in a practical test on one of our packaging machines.” The KHS Packaging Technology Product Center offers customers this service as part of its consultancy program. Further information is available from Product Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New structure for Africa
Which countries does the Middle East/Africa region cover?
This market zone includes the regions of the Middle East, the countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan and the entire African continent – right down to South Africa.
What’s characteristic of these markets?
In this region we often see political and economic instability and in some places extreme climatic conditions and a shortage of food. These make for volatile market conditions which complicate the planning of our business.
How was market development organized to date?
In the past we concentrated on the financially stronger, more stable countries of Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey with just two regional centers, specifically targeting customers with larger-capacity lines. Three years ago we started developing sales white spots, such as the countries of The Maghreb and the ‘small client’ market.
What’s changed through this restructure?
The 72 countries in this market zone are now managed by five regional centers. The result is smaller units with clear areas of allocation and responsibility. In this way we can also serve our smaller customers better and develop those markets more effectively which we hadn’t focused so strongly on in the past.
How will customers profit from the new structure?
One result of this restructure is that even in the face of fluctuating market requirements we can continue to focus on every single region and every single country and react faster to new developments. For our customers this means that we’re increasing our proximity to them and offering them more intensive support – with stronger local offices and more service engineers.