The beverage can is a neat piece of work. 16 billion times a year it leaves the assembly line of the Ball Packaging Europe GmbH. TITAN-technology straps almost the whole production of the company and ensures that dents don’t stand a chance.
New Jersey in the beginning of the 1930s: The German immigrant and brewer Gottfried Krueger and his team work meticulously on a new packing for his ale. The idea: Instead of using bottles they fill the beverage in small round cans made of sheet metal. On January 24th 1935 the first „Krueger’s Beer“ is taken to market. The tin is pretty heavy and has to be opened with a metal dowel. But it soon becomes clear how very convenient the can is: the content stays fresh for a long time. In the same year the newly canned beer is sold 200 million times.
Today the beverage can with its 20 grams is five times lighter as the pioneer. Being it prosecco, energy drinks, green tea or red wine – there is hardly any drink that hasn’t been canned yet. The cylindrical container is up to 100 percent light- and air-tight and basically indestructible. The light, efficient and economical shell can be recycled completely and innumerable times. One of the leading companies for beverage cans is Ball Packaging Europe GmbH. 16 billion cans leave the production plant every year – a huge amount, that has to be transported unscathed throughout Europe.
A tasty piece of sheet metal
We all know the sound a can makes when it’s being opened – fizzzzz. But if it shows even small signs of dents, the product usually stays a shelf warmer. That is why TITAN’s strapping technology protects the ultra-light material on its way to the bottler.
Rolf Schamber is the production engineer at Ball Packaging’s site in Weissenthurm. He knows what’s important. “Considering the daily capacities of round about 7,7 million cans – at this facility alone – reliable processes at the end of the production chain are a must”, says Rolf Schamber. “When it comes to strapping, it is important to protect the empty cans which are stacked on an almost three metre high pallet and at the same time keep up the optimal tape tension. The TITAN-technology fulfils all these specifications perfectly.”
The TITAN equipment used at the Ball sites in Germany, France and the Netherlands fulfil even the strictest standards concerning economic efficiency, cleanliness and safety. They are designed to withstand the strains of a 24-hours production shift. Volker Hardt, field representative at TITAN, knows what this demands of the technology: “Our know-how has already been put into the feeding system, since we specifically developed a chain transport for this line.” The conveyor technique transports the thin walled containers cautiously to the palletiser as if handling raw eggs. Up to 23 storeys of cans and interlayers add up to a package of almost three metres in height. The upper ending is made up of a cover frame, that keeps the can layers stable.
Finally the pallet is strapped twice and crosswise with a stamped PET strap by a TITAN VK 10 machine. “It is only 9 millimetres thin, but very enduring”, explains Volker Hardt. “For these big-sized pallets the stress distribution is ideal.” Reliable technology, the right strap and modern operation technique, with which the staff can intervene anytime – a lot of good reasons to Ralf Schamber for using TITAN’s equipment in the European Ball plants. In the matter of packaging efficiency this is a perfect match: “With up to 9,000 pieces per pallet, beverage cans are a true space saving miracle”, he says. “TITAN makes sure, that this advantage maintains even during transportation and storing.”
“Hello, I’m your can.”
Mechanical engineers, physicists and chemists from Ball Packaging Europe constantly refine materials and processing at the company’s own research and development centre in Bonn. They ensure, that innovations like reclosable cans or models, that show the ideal drinking temperature due to their special varnish, are launched. Currently they’re planning to develop cans, that exude a scent on demand, show pin sharp prints and thanks to an embedded technology can communicate with potential customers via their mobile phones. This would mean that the drink would greet us personally with a luminous label printed on the can shell.