Founded in 1756, Apatin is the oldest brewery in the Balkans and of the Molson Coors Group. The Serbian factory run by Molson Apatinska subsidiary Pivara Apatin has relied on KHS technology for more than four decades. The Jelen brand of beer is particularly well known. The partnership between the two companies was recently strengthened with the conversion of two of the brewery’s glass lines and the purchase of a KHS Innofill Can DVD can filler. Thanks to extensive modernization, the Apatin Brewery has been able to considerably optimize the efficiency of its line and the quality of its products. The traditional brewery also benefits from improved hygiene and energy and media savings.
The cooperation between Apatin Brewery and the Dortmund systems supplier dates back to the 1970s and the predecessor companies of KHS Holstein & Kappert and Seitz Enzinger Noll Maschinenbau, which merged in 1993 to form KHS. “We have always had a very reliable partner by our side at KHS. Its staff not only know our production site and our technology inside out; they also know our requirements and all possible challenges, ”smiles Tanja Popović, packaging manager at Apatin Brewery.
When in 2014 the brewery decided to modernize a few of its machines, some of which were almost 20 years old, it again switched to the sustainable systems of its long-time partner KHS. The mechanical engineering company first renewed two glass lines and in 2020 the customer then invested in the Innofill Can DVD can filler. “Our old machines could no longer meet our current requirements for product quality, performance and durability,” Popović explains. “Together with our colleagues at KHS, we have devised a sophisticated concept to modernize our lines.
Saving resources and improving the economy
KHS began to revamp the first glass line in 2014. The mandate was to reduce the consumption of fluids and electricity on the bottle washer. By installing ECO brackets, KHS engineers have significantly optimized resource efficiency and system economy. “The machine now not only uses much less water and caustic soda and fewer additives; it also consumes less energy, ”says Bojan Culibrk, local service manager at KHS.
Barely four years later, the Apatin Brewery took another step towards sustainable production by modernizing one of its glass fillers. KHS specialists have replaced the old vacuum pump with a new ECO variant which feeds the process water back into the system after treatment. “On the one hand, we have reduced the consumption of media and, on the other hand, the filler is now more economical and efficient,” says Culibrk. The ECO vacuum pump proved to be so convincing that the Serbian bottler also purchased this equipment for its second glass filler.
Optimized product quality and less wear
The traditional brewery, founded in 1756, also commissioned KHS to install a new capper turret. It’s much easier to clean than the previous model, explains Culibrk. “This reduces the risk of product contamination and therefore hygiene is improved. In addition, KHS was also able to optimize the quality of the stoppers on the glass bottles.
In addition to improving hygiene and product quality, the Serbian beverage producer also wanted to automate the technology at its factory. This was achieved using integrated HMI panels on the glass lines and a new can filler. According to Popović, this makes the machine much easier for operators to use, as all the footage is automated and a lot of it has been digitized. “The new product change, disinfection and refill programs are speeding up our processes. By using this advanced technology, we achieve a much higher level of production efficiency and avoid unplanned downtime through improved filling safety and reliability, ”Popović explains. The HMI system also detects wearing parts in advance, which means that replacements can be ordered on time.
Sustainable and efficient canning
In 2020, the brewery finally invested in an Innofill Can DVD filler. “We had to increase our capacity in this segment in order to meet the growing demand for canned drinks,” Popović says. “With our new filler, we can process up to 25,000 0.5 liter cans per hour. We are also more efficient and sustainable.
According to the company’s own statistics, production amounts to more than two million hectoliters per year. On the Innofill Can DVD it fills all its brands in 0.33 and 0.5 liter containers, among which are Jelen, Jelen Chill, Jelen Cool, Apatinsko, Staropramen, Bavaria, Nikšićko and Nikšićko Tamno. The brewery mainly supplies the regional market, namely Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia and Slovenia. Popović does not rule out expansion, however. “With its high capacity and efficiency, the new filler offers ideal conditions for this. “
Optimal hygienic filling conditions
Besides the high throughput, hygiene and product quality also played a key role in making the new investment. The Innofill Can DVD allows hot filling of drinks at around 20 ° C. This process becomes more important especially with regard to the subsequent processing steps because it practically eliminates the formation of condensation. This more or less excludes the risk of six-pack cartons, trays and cans getting soggy, moldy, or contaminated with microbes.
The brewery is also convinced by the new CO2 purging process which has an equally positive impact on product quality, as Culibrk comments. “The supply of oxygen affects the quality of the drink. In order to avoid this, in modern production the containers are purged with CO2. “The KHS purge process is so efficient that less oxygen enters the containers compared to using conventional methods – despite lower amounts of carbon dioxide used. In addition, the volumetric filling principle also improves accuracy. filling.
Installation despite restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic
The can filler was installed during and under the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Thanks to our local presence in Serbia and the Balkans, we were able to carry out all the work quickly and efficiently. Travel restrictions and social distancing have of course presented us with a challenge or two in our daily activities. However, together with the client, we managed to complete the project on time, ”smiles Culibrk. Popović also draws a positive conclusion. “The dedication and commitment shown by the KHS team left a lasting impression on us. We have always been able to count on them and their expertise. That is why KHS will continue to be the first choice of the Apatin brewery when it comes to expanding production or acquiring new technologies.