BrewDog Brewery, located in Ellon just north of Aberdeen, is certainly one of the most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly brewery in the world.
By Oliver Arian
Inspired by American-style craft beers, founders James Watt and Martin Dickie went from selling their beer at the farmer’s market in 2008 to exporting in over 52 countries in 2015. While the road can be bumpy for a fast growing craft brewery, they never gave up and they keep opening new markets for their bottles, cans and kegs.
BrewDog’s facility includes a state of the art brew house, fermenters, bottling line and all relevant ancillary plant which allows the exponential ramping up of production to face international demand. All the equipment is cutting edge, from a revolutionary centrifuge so that they can completely avoid filtration, to a patented ‘’Hop Cannon’’ developed with the manufacturer.
Brewdog was the world’s first crowdfunded brewery and they like to say that every beer they make is a reality conferred by the belief of over 15,000 ‘’Equipty Punks’’ who invested in the company. Completed in 2013, BrewDog was built by fans and by beer drinkers. Everything and everyone at Brewdog brewery is focused on one thing and one thing only; making the best beer they possibly can .
The 15,000 bottles per hour line project was managed by the UK office of Enterprise Tondelli based in Bedfordshire, which supplies some of the finest machines from Europe. The glass bottle depalletiser and pressure less combiner used to single line the bottles was supplied by Eurosistemi. The depalletiser, the crown hopper and feeder and the main control panel for the conveyor are located in dry area of the warehouse. In addition to limiting the ingress of cardboard chips or other contaminants in the bottling area, it allows one operator to manage both units.
As high quality self adhesive labels are being used the labeller is placed before the filling operation. This ensures no condensation and thus better application with no moisture behind the labels and subsequent bubbling or mould growth. The use of PSL labels increases the line efficiency, makes for a much cleaner environment and reduces machine wash down time.
The rotary self-adhesive labeller model MEGA ADE was supplied by BRB GLOBUS. Due to the ongoing success of the BrewDog products, the bottling line is working at full speed, and in order to increase efficiency , the rotary labeller has been recently retrofitted with a zero down time configuration, to be able to work without stopping the machine when the label roll has to be reloaded. This consists of two independent labelling stations with one working and the other station in stand by. As the reel end sensor notes the end of the reel approaching the second station automatically starts ensuring no stopping for label splicing or change over – true non stop reel change over.
Packaging Manager Graeme Wallace says : ‘’We have been very pleased by the performance of the BRB GLOBUS labeller and have found the non stop reel change device really helpful in increasing our line efficiencies. In fact our new engineering manager was also impressed with the reliability of the labeller and has commented on absence of any problems that he had experienced with other labellers. All in all very pleased with the BRB GLOBUS labeller supplied by Enterprise Tondelli."
At the discharge of the filler (supplied by Brew Dog), a water shower is used to remove any fob on the bottle surfaces. A bottle drier from Eurosistemi was installed to remove excess water and ensure no wet secondary packaging. The conveyors are fitted with matt top chains to reduce noise and ensure longevity. To improve the operating environment, reduce slip hazards and reduce running costs no slat lubrication is used at all which is now common on glass lines.
BrewDog bottles were originally packed into cartons with top and bottom flaps, but experts from Enterprise Tondelli suggested a Baumer Wraparound carton packer to reduce packaging costs and increase line efficiency. This has proved a positive benefit with ongoing savings on material costs alone of 30-40% whilst also reducing waste to the environment. The Flex line 540 wraparound cartonner is running either 12 or 24 pack cartons.
Particular attention was taken to produce an ergonomic line with good operator and materials access and optimised staffing levels. To optimise staffing levels for instance one operator is located between the filler and the labeller so they can monitor both machines thus reducing unit costs. Easy access to all parts of the line means that the operators can quickly reach any area thus reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.
Companies featured in the article
Eurosistemi: Depalletiser, Bottle Drier and Conveyors
BRB Globus: Zero Down Time Rotary Self-Adhesive Labeler
Baumer: Wraparound Cartonner
Hitachi: Inkjet Printer
Enterprise Tondelli: Integrator