At drinktec 2017, all eyes were on the Krones Dynafill – and not just brewers’ but those of the entire beverage industry. Dynafill’s revolutionary design combines filling and crowning on a single unit, making it possible for the first time to fill and close a bottle of beer in just five seconds. That’s twice as fast as any conventional system using separate filling and capping machines.
After a successful first field test at the Bischofshof brewery in Regensburg, the Weihenstephan Research Centre for Brewing and Food Quality and the Chair of Brewing and Beverage Technology of the Munich Technical University confirmed that the system meets all analytic and sensory quality parameters for beer. Since then, Krones’ filling experts have, of course, continued to develop and improve the existing system.
The Dynafill’s most powerful selling point is, as we know, its record-breaking speed. But the novel combination of the filling and crowning processes does more than just deliver exceptional performance of up to 80,000 containers per hour. At least as persuasive are the advantages it offers in terms of filling quality and hygiene:
- The closed system eliminates the risk of impurities being introduced into the product.
- Since crowning takes place immediately after filling, oxygen pick-up can be controlled 100 percent.
- No oxygen pick-up occurs in the bottle’s head space, so no high-pressure injection is needed. As a result, there is no product loss due to foam-over and no water enters the product.
- The product tank contains pure CO2.
- Because multiple flushing phases are not required, 20 percent less CO2 is needed for flushing overall.
- The fill level is adjusted via parameter settings, which means that, unlike on conventional filling systems, manual adjustments or changeovers at the filling valve are not needed.
Even beyond ongoing production, the Dynafill offers a number of pluses. Thanks to the 2-in-1 design, there are no handling parts on or transfer starwheels to the crowner, which shortens changeover times and significantly reduces the time and effort involved in maintenance.
In terms of cleaning, the Dynafill is a clean and simple matter: The elimination of overfoaming not only saves valuable beer. It also keeps the production area clean. And when it does come time to run a cleaning, the filling valve and the crowning head are integrated into the CIP circuit thanks to the closed system.
Because the filler and crowner form a single unit, the Dynafill requires far less space than a comparable conventional machine combination: The footprint is 50 percent smaller since neither a separate crowner nor the associated transfer starwheels are needed. And because the filler does not need to be emptied if there is a stoppage in the line, the buffer to the labeler can be shorter as well.
Dynafill also accommodates warm filling
Brewers who are concerned about the sustainability of their filling operations will likewise have a friend in Dynafill. That’s because the filling system enables warm filling up to 30 degrees Celsius* – and the temperature doesn’t affect the filler’s size or the number of filling valves. As a result, filling 36,000 containers per hour requires the same 66 valves as cold filling. For the sake of comparison, conventional machines need twice as many filling valves for warm filling as they do for cold filling.
The higher filling temperature offers another advantage: no condensation on the bottles downstream. Thus, no additional bottle warmer is needed after the filler. The cooling energy saved can then be put to use elsewhere in the brewing and filling process.
The Dynafill is currently undergoing a second field test to verify once again the improvements made over the past year in an ongoing three-shift operation. And now, all eyes are on drinktec 2021, by which time Krones hopes to have the Dynafill ready for series production.
* At a maximum filling pressure of 5 bar
Combined filling and crowning process
- Container is lifted to the valve.
- Container is flushed with CO2.
- Container is evacuated.
- Beer is filled.
- End of filling phase (foam compression).
- Container is crowned.
- Pressure chamber is relieved.
- Container is lowered.