City Brewery selected FILTEC inspection solutions for their canning and bottling lines based on the following criteria:
Efficient solutions capable of ensuring integral quality and productivity utilizing the latest technology
Innovative inspection solutions that are also dependable and easy to maintain
Inspection solutions capable of increasing quality assurance by reducing product waste
About the Customer
In 1999, G. Heileman Brewing Company’s former brewery buildings in La Crosse, Wisconsin were bought by a group of investors who founded the City Brewery Company. Seven years later the company purchased the location in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and the new City Brewery Latrobe plant was established and immediately began production that spring.
Today, the Latrobe plant has the ability to package over 20 million cases of beer, tea, and energy drinks. With their canning lines moving at speeds between 500-1800 cans per minute (CPM), it was important to select a solution whose accuracy standards remained high at such high speeds.
Selecting an Inspection Partner
City Brewery makes flavored malt beverages that are Nitrogen-based with no CO2 present in the can. They needed an inspection solution that had the capabilities to measure both product fill levels and the nitrogen levels in the can. After evaluating other solutions, Quality Control Manager Melissa Cramer led the decision to invest in FILTEC’s Filler management system with AURATEC and FILTEC 3XR X-Ray Fill level and High-Speed Analog Dud Detector.
“The great thing about AURATEC is that at such a high speed it tells you when nitrogen is within or out of specifications, reducing the potential for overdose,” states Melissa.
The FILTEC AURATEC inspection solution was added after the pasteurizer to ensure the proper nitrogen and fill levels in the malt beverages. FILTEC's Vision Pressure Inspection is comprised of non-contact, high-resolution, adaptive Vision inspection and laser profiling technology. It precisely measures the external surface topography of each can to ensure that they meet its internal pressure requirements. Its inspection capabilities include vacuum and pressure sealing for aluminum, ring-pull, slimline and conventional cans.
Prior to the installation of FILTEC solutions, City Brewery was experiencing a number of wasted cans due to various incorrect nitrogen levels in cans. With the AURATEC solution, operators are able to pinpoint exactly which valve was overfilling on the line. This leads to not only a better-quality product for the customers, but it reduces the number of dud cans that are sent to their customers.
“As the Quality Assurance Manager, I can honestly say that the customer complaints about low fills and squishy cans have lowered by 50% since installing FILTEC equipment,” Melissa explains.
One of the aspects City Brewery enjoys most about FILTEC solutions is the easy-to-use INTELLECT inspection platform. Melissa stated that “INTELLECT allows operators to do everything from one screen with a clear picture and easy maintenance”.
INTELLECT is a state-of-the-art configurable, flexible, and adaptive platform that synchronizes statistics from each module. Its high accuracy encoders and optical sensors examine every can in detail as it moves down the line. Statistics from the modules are analyzed and checked against threshold reject limits according to the relevant qualities entered by the operators. From that point, the cans either remain on the line or are removed if necessary. After inspection, a quality summary is accessible for each can.
Additional smart INTELLECT inspection modules can be connected at any time, ensuring the future of City Brewery’s Latrobe plant remains innovative and data-driven as they continue to install more FILTEC solutions in the coming year.