Can filling and seaming adapts to industry demands
“Bigger, better and faster” has long been the motto for many
industries. In can filling and seaming, “better” and
“faster” remain top priorities, but beverage companies are
ditching the “bigger” aspect of the mantra in a continued
search for ways to reduce costs by making cans lighter. The lightweight can
options need to be run on machines that work better with faster line speeds
and changeover times. On the inspection side, companies seek automated
options that sync with computer networks.
While not a new name in the industry, can seamer
manufacturer Angelus combined forces with Pneumatic Scale this year. In
August, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Pneumatic Scale purchased the Los
Angeles-based Angelus. The machinery companies remain in their respective
headquarters and have merged their base of salespeople and service
technicians to offer worldwide support. Together, the companies are
emphasizing their change part and repair services, says Paul Kearney, vice
president of sales for the companies now collectively known as
The most recent addition to Angelus’ product
line is the Model 12M, which features 12 seaming stations for beer and
beverage applications. The model has change parts for one can size, creates
can centers compatible with newest fillers and a second operation off-seam
setting. The Model 12M also features an automatic oil lubrication and
filtration system. Optional features include motor-driven machine height,
filter belt drive, steam vacuum, programmable controller and can
On the horizon, Kearney foresees more companies
seeking multi-purpose lines with variable can sizes and rapid changeover.
The Model 12M Angelus seamer offers servo programmable changeover to
address the trend, he says. Furthermore, companies will continue to look to
reduction of in-size seams by 1-mm. or 2-mm. to save on material costs, he
North American debut
Switzerland’s Ferrum Ltd. has entered the North
American market with a wide range of machinery for can filling and seaming.
The company offers machines equipped for closing two-piece or three-piece
cans made of steel, aluminum, plastic or cardboard at production speeds
ranging from 20 cans to 2,500 cans per minute. Ferrum’s multiple
models can accommodate many sizes of can diameters.
Ferrum’s six- to 18-station seamers are equipped
with a closed automatic lubrication system, which ensures 24-hour operation
without interruption. The system also includes loss-free automatic seaming
roll lubrication. For coffee and other vacuum-sealed beverage products,
Ferrum created the FSN and FSH models that are used for the evacuation,
injection of gas and closing of round cans with oxygen-sensitive products.
These models may be operated at speeds of up to 600 cans per minute.
To accommodate the growing industry demand for reduced
changeover time, Ferrum introduced the quick changeover kit for its can
seaming machines. The kits are available for Ferrum’s new F400 Series
seamers as well as existing beverage machine types. The kit adjusts the end
feed, seaming lever, end guide rails and can guide rails to allow
changeover time of one and a half to two and half hours. It is also
possible to order the quick changeover kit for a retrofit on existing can
seaming machines, Ferrum says.
Additionally, the company offers filling and closing
systems. Ferrum has a range of equipment for liquid filling into cans,
plastic, cardboard and glass containers. The volumetric filling machines
are piston operated and can be set to speeds of up to 850 units per minute.
It also offers a monobloc system to integrate machinery for the in-line
filling and closing of cans, which provides greater levels of automation in
the packaging process.
Automation moving forward
Another strong name in the can filling industry is
Krones. Based in Germany, Krones presents empty can inspectors and
high-performance filling technology as well as additional machines to
complete the packaging process. The company made available the Volumetric
VOC can filler that pre-doses the filling quantity to achieve high filling
speeds. Depending on the filler size, the Volumetric VOC can run up to
120,000 cans per hour.
To ensure filling accuracy and keep up with packaging
innovations, KHS USA Inc., Edgewater, Fla., created the Innofill DVD
computer-controlled can filler. The Innofill uses an electromagnetic
induction flowmetering process to achieve maximum filling level accuracy,
the company says. The machine is well-suited to run contour cans, beverages
containing fruit pulp, warm-filled beer and soft drinks. The KHS model
fills warm beer and soft drinks at capacities ranging from 27,000 cans per
hour using 36 valves up to 120,000 cans per hour for the 164 valve model.
In particular for beer filling, especially
non-pasteurized beers, the computer controlled can filling provided by the Innofill meets lower total product oxygen
requirements by providing customized container flushing and gentle beer
handling, the company says. The machine is also equipped to fill
draught-style beer and stout in cans that use pressurized widget
technology. The valves on the Innofill can be equipped with “widget
charging” gas channels that activate the packaging technology. The
charging gas channel can be de-activated when the line is running standard
The computer-programmed can capacities help save
product as well as time for changeovers, KHS says. Additionally, no
mechanical parts are exposed to direct contact with the product during
filling with the Innofill volumetic flowmetering system. The machine also
offers added microbiological safety through a membrane sealing technique of
electropneumatically controlled filling valves already popular in bottle
Automation also drove innovation at CMC Kuhnke,
Hudson, N.Y., which released the Mars-Seam fully automated double-seam
inspection system. The Mars-Seam is an operator independent station that
takes each can through a standard cross-section double-seam measurement
process. The model currently is used in major breweries and soft drink
canning facilities in the United States.
A line operator can load the Mars-Seam in less than
two minutes and return to work on the line. Meanwhile, the machine will
begin automated inspection, and in less than 15 minutes, data from a full
18-head display inspection, is available for plant-wide review and
The Mars-Seam machine takes one can from each seaming
station through three steps. The first measures external characteristics of
the can, such as seam thickness, countersink depth and seam height. Second,
the machine empties, rinses and dries the can. Finally, the can is cut and
a high-resolution image of the double seam is captured and instantly read
by a computer.
The collected data is sent to a server for review from
administrative workstations. CMC Kuhnke also offers Visionary software,
which is data acquisition and reporting software designed to collect data
from a wide variety of gauges and instruments, store the data in a server
database and relay that data to personnel who can use it to plan
The Mars-Seam features network integration, and eases
the task of quality assurance personnel, says Alex Grossjohann, vice
president and managing director of CMC-Kuhnke. He says the move to
automated inspection processes by fillers is one trend addressed by the
The company also currently offers a range of
inspection and software solutions for can seaming, including the DP1 Double
Seam Projector, VSM-III Video Seam Monitor and the S.E.A.M.scan System.
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