Three KHS customers, three different approaches

North American beverage producers take full advantage of KHS canning expertise 

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KHS
Black Fly Beverage Company

Today’s variety of beverage cans would be unthinkable without advanced production technology. Filling equipment from KHS, a leading manufacturer of filling and packaging systems for the beverage and liquid food industries, has countless customers convinced – from flourishing medium-sized breweries to enterprises operating in the high-capacity range. 

In North America in particular, beverage producers appreciate the decades of expertise accumulated by the turnkey supplier, as the examples of AriZona Beverages, Black Fly Beverage Company and Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery perfectly illustrate. They differ in size, market position and beverage segment; however, what they all have in common is their trust in KHS. With holistic, customized plant engineering that caters for their individual requirements, the systems provider is helping its clients to reach their growth targets – whether with the high-performance Innofill Can DVD filler or the more compact Innofill Can C.

Filling beverages into cans continues to be a popular practice on the North American market. According to current market research data compiled by Euromonitor International, a further slight growth of 1.57% is to be expected on the beer and ready-to-drink mixed alcoholic beverage and tea markets for the period 2023 to 2027. For many beverage producers, the logical consequence is thus to boost capacity and modernize their production setup. With its subsidiary KHS Inc., successfully operative from its base in Waukesha, Wisconsin, since 1971, the systems provider is often the first port of call in this respect. The company is noticing the growing demand, with its order books comfortably full for many years now. AriZona Beverages from the USA and Black Fly Beverage Company and Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery from Canada were the three most recent further customers to trust in the turnkey supplier – for very different reasons.

Convinced – investment in second can filler

Known the world over especially for its iced tea, AriZona Beverages was very quickly convinced by the first KHS Innofill Can DVD filler it had installed back in 2018. So much so, in fact, that the manufacturer directly ordered a second high-performance machine for its greenfield project at the Edison site in New Jersey that is currently being commissioned with an output of up to 73,000 cans per hour. “We enjoy a long partnership with AriZona – who trust in our expertise. The current line modernization has been implemented in close cooperation with the customer,” says John Moore, northeast regional territory manager at KHS. “Alongside our flexible filling technology that’s also specially designed for hygiene and product safety, our project management was what convinced this client to again invest in our machinery. We were thus able to commission the machine ahead of the actual schedule.” AriZona is also extremely satisfied. “On an extremely competitive market like ours, we can continue to provide perfect product quality thanks to KHS. At the same time, this new investment has enabled us to cut our overall operating costs and boost line efficiency,” states Shami Usmani, vice-president of Engineering and Manufacturing at AriZona Beverages. 

The beverage producer is especially delighted with the quick and simple format changeovers in combination with the seamless transition to the can seamer built by KHS’ Swiss partner Ferrum. This is an extremely important factor – not least because of the numerous products and formats with their various lids that AriZona fills on a daily basis as an international producer of teas and fruit juice beverages. In addition to the two aforementioned can fillers, those responsible in New Jersey have also procured a tunnel pasteurizer, a packer and process engineering from KHS. Usmani is thus suitably pleased with his decision. “KHS is convincing as one of the leading providers of filling and packaging technology that provides optimum ease of operation and maintenance.”

Ambitious targets reached

KHS has also scored points with Black Fly Beverage Company, Ontario’s first micro-distillery. Founded in 2005 and a KHS customer since 2018, the company fills alcopops into beverage cans holding between 7.5 and 24 ounces . Back then, the Canadians first invested in the compact Innofill Can C with an output of up to 24,700 containers per hour. It then recently procured the Innofill Can C’s ‘big brother’, the Innofill Can DVD that processes up to 124,000 cans every 60 minutes, for their own goals were ambitious. “With our high-performance filler we’ve gone from being a one-time small regional supplier to the largest co-packer in Canada. We’ve been able to increase our turnover practically fivefold and lower the costs per carton for our consumers,” explains CFO Martin Kamil enthusiastically. “Undertaking this journey together was again largely down to our cooperative partnership, with our local presence of course also a positive factor,” emphasizes Vincent Zitano, KHS territory manager for Canada. “Martin and his team find trust extremely important. We provided the most efficient layout and proved convincing with a number of successful reference projects already implemented in the region for well-known bottlers such as Molson Coors.”

KHS also had Black Fly convinced in a different respect. The company is not only impressed with the two KHS can fillers’ capacity but also with their very small ecological footprint, states Kamil. Moreover, the robust machines, that also include a palletizer, depalletizer and process engineering from KHS, are extremely durable and flexible. “Their design and operational behavior are top of the class,” smiles Kamil, and claims, “we want to continue to grow together with KHS.”

KHS helps reach ambitious growth targets

Flying Monkeys, a craft beer pioneer who specializes in IPA, is equally ambitious and also from Ontario. They first came into contact with KHS at the Craft Brewers Conference. Here, the company’s decision-makers were interested in the Innofill Can C designed for small to medium outputs – and immediately knew that this was the machine they wanted to fill their first beverage cans on. “Those responsible were convinced of the quality straight off,” says Zitano, who can remember every detail of their first meeting. “They said, ‘We want this machine. It looks indestructible’.” 

It is now up and running smoothly and to the full satisfaction of Sebastian MacIntosh, director for Brewing and Operations at Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. “We scrutinized all of the craft beer fillers on the market. For us, the Innofill Can C proved the most convincing with respect to its quality, technology and workmanship, for example on the valves. We also like the design; it’s well thought-out, robust and elegant.” The volumetric filling system ensures uniform and reproducible can filling and a trouble-free packaging process. The craft brewer also benefits from the low oxygen pickup that is essential to safeguard the perfect product quality of its sensitive beers. “The filler gives us a huge output in a very small space,” says MacIntosh.

This compactness was decisive in the implementation of the project. Because of the limited space available on site, close coordination with KHS’ service colleagues was all the more crucial. “Our can filler appears to be not much bigger than a garage,” Zitano claims. With a capacity of up to 24,700 cans per hour, together with the integrated Ferrum seamer the machine fits perfectly into its surroundings – and the decision to invest has more than paid off. “Since opening, we’ve increased sales by an average of 18% per year. With its great reliability, our KHS filler will be a part of this growth for many years to come,” MacIntosh believes. The brewery wishes to continue this positive development. “The machine’s modularity, coupled with the ability to package different can sizes thanks to quick and easy changeovers, gives us the perfect option if and when we want to expand our portfolio.”

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