A Tradition of Innovative Technology [02/14/2011]
Pilot Liquid Efficiency Spraying System project launched at the Warsteiner brewery
The Warsteiner brewery has always stood for the implementation of new ideas: new ideas that don't leave the future to chance; new ideas that are also effective in the realization of innovative technologies. The brewery in Warstein is not only famous for its use of ultramodern filling and packaging technology but also for its extremely careful handling of resources. It's thus hardly surprising that the company shows itself to be exceedingly open-minded towards technical systems that enable it to save on water and electricity. Warsteiner Brauerei thus recently invested in the new KHS Liquid Efficiency Spraying System (LESS, patent pending) – and in doing so became something of a pioneer within the brewing and beverages industries. LESS can be integrated in KHS bottle washing machines and is capable of considerably reducing the energy required by the pumps in the machine. Warsteiner has now incorporated LESS in a recently installed double-end Innoclean DM bottle washer which can process 66,000 0.33-liter bottles an hour. Besides LESS this double-end bottle washer has a number of other innovative features that exercise great care in their use of resources. These include, for example, a special infeed section concept, the energy-saving bottle carrier, a double recuperation process, and a connection to a beer pre-heater that uses the thermal exchange process. This article will pinpoint the advantages KHS LESS offers the Warsteiner brewery. Among other things, the savings in energy in the KHS bottle washer generated by LESS alone shall be studied in closer detail.
Bottle washer always designed for excess capacity
If we were to compare the nominal capacity of the individual machines on a filling and packaging line, we would notice that the bottle washer always runs at a certain excess capacity. The reason for this is that an optimum supply must be maintained to the filler, the lead machine within the line. This means that a bottle washer operating in a line without a line control system will keep stopping due to its high nominal capacity. Practice shows us that in addition to these stops further downtimes can be caused by product changeovers, for instance, or shortages in supply on machines upstream or downstream of the washer. The percentage of time 'wasted' due to system-related stops in filling and packaging lines where several types of bottle are processed is particularly high, as here product changeovers and thus run empty times are more frequent.
The situation before LESS
The situation at Warsteiner prior to the integration of LESS in the bottle washer was the same as at many other breweries and beverage companies. During system-related downtimes, pump systems continued to run. This was because switching the pumps off and then on again would have resulted in loss of time during production startup, which in turn is detrimental to line efficiency. Restarting the pumps after a standstill also uses a lot of electricity. The main reason for pumps continuing to run, however, was that when they were switched off, the bottles were not kept completely wet, resulting in a possible accumulation of deposits on the washed bottles.
Bottle washers generally contain a large number of spray pumps that need one thing above all else: plenty of electrical power. With this in mind, KHS began to look for ways of reducing the amount of energy pumps consumed during bottle washer downtimes, and at the same time to eliminate the disadvantages connected with turning off the pumps. With LESS, they succeeded.
The advantages of LESS
The patent pending LESS process has a stand-by circuit that regulates the frequency of the pumps during line downtimes to the absolute minimum required to maintain the high quality of cleaning. There is no regulated bottle moisture control here; when this system is used, production resumes very quickly.
Feasible reduction in pump operation during downtimes individually computed for each pump
Prior to integrating LESS into the bottle washing machine, separate calculations must be made for each pump to determine by just how much their individual capacity can be reduced. In doing so, all aspects that are connected with the respective pump performance are also taken into account. For example, this could be the design of the pipes or the demands made by the bottle washing process at a specific point. Based on these facts, the optimum value is then computed for reducing the particular pump output during bottle washer downtimes.
LESS is configured accordingly and forwards fixed setpoint information to the frequency converters connected to the pumps. Whenever the machine is stopped the pumps automatically behave as dictated by the system. This applies to the entire life span of the bottle washer. When LESS is introduced to new machines, the graphic display on the motor clearly describes the individual statuses of the pumps (see Figure 2). Data such as energy consumption, energy savings, pump operating hours, alarms, and much more are clearly depicted at all times. LESS can also be connected to a plant information system.
Possible energy savings ...
As described above, before incorporating LESS in the Innoclean DM, a precise calculation was made at Warsteiner as to which outputs were practicable for the individual pumps, both in operation and in stop situations. The Warsteiner bottle washer has ten pumps connected to LESS. In operation they run at around 76 kilowatts and drop to about 17 kilowatts during machine standstill. This means that there is an average savings potential of approximately 78% during machine downtimes. However, looking at the individual pump values, it can be seen that in some cases operation and downtime capacities and savings percentages greatly differ.
… and actual energy savings by integrating LESS in the Innoclean DM at the Warsteiner brewery
So much for the theory behind the aforementioned savings potentials offered by the double-end bottle washer in operation at Warsteiner Brauerei! What counts most in the end are always the real figures obtained in practice. To acquire extremely precise values for savings made with LESS, a long observation period of 72 days of production was selected, during which the actual pump situation in the bottle washer at Warsteiner was recorded. An actual electricity consumption of approximately 84,000 kilowatt hours was determined. By way of comparison, the amount of electricity required had the pump output not have been reduced would have been 129,000 kilowatt hours. All told, this results in a saving of around 45,000 kilowatt hours or, as a percentage, about 35%, demonstrating both the system's high level of environmental friendliness and bringing about a fair reduction in costs. If we assume that one kilowatt hour of electricity costs €0.12, this is equal to a saving of approximately €5,400 over the period of observation. Applied to a period of one year this would be about €15,600, presuming that the machine runs for around 5,000 hours a year.
Warsteiner's strong environmental awareness taken into account
Ulrich Brendel, technical director at the Warsteiner brewery, says, "The way we see it, the savings in cost and energy made by LESS provide us with a service that takes into full account our demand for careful handling of resources and environmental friendliness. Our expectations of the system regarding reduced electricity costs have been met in every respect."
Savings potentials can be estimated prior to investment
For companies planning to integrate LESS in an existing or new bottle washing machine, savings potentials can be estimated prior to investment based on the line efficiency. Bottling plants can usually reckon with a reduction in energy consumption of at least 25% for the pumps connected to LESS.
Taking these predicted energy savings as a basis for calculation, companies can then compute about how long it will take for their investment to pay off should they decide to opt for LESS. Costs accrued for an investment in LESS are roughly as follows: between €25,000 and €50,000 must be budgeted for converting existing bottle washing technology to LESS, depending on the type of machine and pump capacity; when integrating LESS into new bottle washing technology, costs drop to approximately €20,000 to €40,000, as less time and effort are required for installation.
Plenty of money saved after the payback period
If we look at the case of Warsteiner on the basis of data collected so far, the payback period for converting to LESS is less than three years. At the end of this period – and at the end of the day – the system will continue to save the brewery money. Bottle washers have a long service life, with 20 years of operation not unusual. In Warsteiner's case, this would mean a cut in costs of about €15,000 a year over a period of 17 years. In total, the amount of money saved runs to €255,000. And if electricity prices rise, the saving is even greater.
Focus on quality
"For us it was important," says Brendel, "that in this process there were no sanctions as far as the quality of cleaning is concerned. Our demand for quality alone makes this a prerequisite. The technical system provided by KHS supports us in our endeavors to increase efficiency while retaining our full functionality and quality."
Looking at the development of Warsteiner Brauerei, it becomes clear just how strongly quality is rooted in the company. Founded in 1753, Warsteiner has been in the ranks of the biggest breweries in Germany since the 1960s. The company's flagship is WARSTEINER Premium Verum, one of the most popular beers in Germany. The product portfolio also includes the mixed beer beverages WARSTEINER Premium Orange, Lemon, and Cola, WARSTEINER Premium Radler (shandy), and WARSTEINER Premium in its non-alcoholic style.
Members of the Warsteiner Group – apart from Warsteiner itself – are Paderborner Brauerei Haus Cramer GmbH & Co. KG (with its Paderborner, Isenbeck, and Weissenburg brands), and Herforder Brauerei (including Herforder Pils), with shares in König Ludwig GmbH & Co. KG Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg (König Ludwig dark beer, wheat beer, and light beer), Frankenheim Brauerei (Frankenheim Altbier), and various other breweries outside Germany. The Warsteiner Group now sells its products in over 60 countries worldwide. Since 2009 all brewing sites in Germany have fulfilled the requirements of ISO 22000, thus employing a uniform, internationally recognized management system for food safety. In addition, this year the six breweries in the group were subject to revision audits and successfully updated to ISO 9001:2008.
Warsteiner bottle washer with many other qualitative and water and energy-saving extras
With this in mind, it's clear why Warsteiner Brauerei decided to incorporate LESS in its KHS bottle washing equipment. Opting for double-end Innoclean DM bottle washer ensures perfect hygienic conditions, for example, by keeping clean and dirty bottles physically separated. Another advantage of double-end washing technology is that several caustic baths can be arranged one after the other. Different caustic concentration levels and caustic temperatures can be used in each of the caustic baths. When cleaning bottles with a double-end bottle washer, the quality of the caustic can thus be improved from bath to bath. Another plus of double-ended machines is the mechanical effect of the filling, immersion, emptying, and spraying which occurs in each immersion bath and further improves the overall cleaning action.
The Innoclean DM at Warsteiner has a high-tech KHS infeed section. The draining of residual liquids is followed by intensive pre-washing. Two rotating tubes spray the bottles internally at high pressure, perfectly removing coarse impurities, which in turn increases the service life of the caustic solution in the baths. The next step is to feed the bottles to be cleaned through a three-stage pre-heating process, complete with immersion bath and two spray zones, prior to the main wash in a series of three caustic baths.
In the Innoclean DM the recuperation process saves both fresh water and thermal energy. Here, heat is transferred from the first spray zone after the caustic baths to the final pre-heating zone ahead of the caustic baths. As the bottle washer in Warstein is equipped with three caustic baths, further recuperation can be carried out between caustic 1 and caustic 3. Another aspect that contributes to the savings made in heat and electricity is the use of the thermal exchange process to pre-heat beer; while zone water from the bottle washer is being cooled, beer scheduled for filling is simultaneously heated downstream of the filler. Using the KHS energy-saving carrier also helps to reduce the consumption of water and electricity, with the slighter mass of the carrier tantamount to a lower carryover of heat and caustic.
Innovation from tradition – a motto that stands for and applies to the future
In conclusion Ulrich Brendel states, "We're very happy with the specifically low consumption of water and energy in our bottle washing machine. We use about 120 milliliters of water per bottle – without making any sacrifices whatsoever in the cleaning quality. Besides our economic gain, the environmental benefits of this system play a major role for us – and contribute to the aspect of sustainability here at Warsteiner."
Knut Soltau, Product Management, Bottle Washing Machines & Pasteurizers Competence Center, KHS GmbH, Dortmund. Phone: +49 (231) 569-1887
Rüdiger Preuß, Design and Development, Bottle Washing Machines & Pasteurizers Competence Center, KHS GmbH, Dortmund. Phone: +49 (231) 569-1191
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