Blog : Packaging solutions that grow with your business
Craft beer is as much an art form as a science. Independent brewers are understandably wary about the introduction of automation, preferring to maintain a hands-on approach.
However, packaging automation can help brewers grow market share and compete for exposure in an ever-increasing field of players.
As your business moves toward 50+ cans or bottles per minute, you may want to think about the benefits of automating your craft beer packaging line.
Quality is an easy thing to manage when you're brewing smaller volumes.
As volumes increase along with the number of people required to handle the product, automation can provide quality assurance.
Less fatigue for workers means they can focus on the quality of the product rather than repetitive filling, packing and lifting.
Packaging automation frees up workers to focus more on doing what they do best—crafting a high-quality beer.
The market is demanding a wider range of packaging formats; cans in particular.
Using a mobile canning service can be both slow and expensive, and shipping in bulk off-site can create quality issues.
Latest filling technology can help you fill and close cans and bottles in multiple formats in one space-saving machine, improving hygiene and reducing oxygen pickup.
Exporting beer not only requires consistent quality and extra labelling; it also means pre-planning of volumes, all much easier to guarantee with automation.
Then there’s traceability. Lower beer margins equals less counterfeit beer than spirits or wine, but consider this: China’s USD220bn (by 2020) beer market, which is increasingly looking for imported craft beer, is part of a wider Chinese alcohol market where an estimated 30% of all alcohol sold is counterfeit.
The only solution is end-to-end digital traceability. Product coding, labelling and traceability needs are easily automated, but you want to ensure careful integration with activities up and downstream.
Whether you're a small or large brewer, the risk to employees and the legal liabilities of the directors is identical.
There may come a time where the health safety risks of repetitive tasks and accidents are just not worth it. Automation can be safer, especially when all the equipment onsite is brought up to current safety standards.
You might also want to consider a general safety audit to see where automation can help or where current automation needs a safety upgrade—it could save you a lot of trouble down the line.
It’s all very well having great bits of equipment to automate your production line, but they’re only as fast and efficient as the conveying and upstream/downstream equipment.
Using an experienced integrator that can work with legacy equipment (older machines) and provide connectivity between everything means that the line speed and output can be optimised.
Look for long-term experience in beverage line integration, because there’s almost just as much art to gentle, automated container handling as there is to brewing craft beer.
We recommend you take it in steps.
Start with filling and conveying solutions and work up to larger equipment when demand requires it.
Have a plan in place for how you’ll grow your packaging capacity.
Use an expert integrator to ensure that new equipment talks to old equipment and it’s all linked together with a line control system that puts you in the driver’s seat.
Foodmach provides a full range of packaging automation for craft brewers:
If we don’t already have it in our range, we’ll help you source what you need and integrate it for you.
We provide all the support services you’ll require, in house.
Our dedicated team of mechanical, electrical and safety-accredited technicians, engineers and software programmers lead the way in line integration and optimisation in Australia and New Zealand.
Foodmach has over 40 years of experience in the packaging industry, servicing the world’s largest beverage companies, with a strong focus on bottling and glass container manufacturing.
Our glass handling is recognised as the best in the industry.
Our experienced engineering team works with craft brewers on site to review current facilities and demonstrate where automation can make a difference.
In addition, our in-house safety experts can show you how to reduce risk.
When you see the impact automation can have on your bottom line, you might just be tempted.
Thinking it might be worth a look?
Check out this Malt Shovel case study to see the possibilities.