Craft breweries have specific requirements when it comes to the bottling process, with a variety of bottles needed for everything from small batches to artisanal bottling and other applications. There are several types of bottling machines that craft breweries will need, including filling machines, conveyors, bottlers, cleaners and labelers.
Using the right filler
A craft brewery’s production line will suffer if it uses the wrong type of liquid filling machines. Beer that’s exposed to oxygen will have a shorter shelf life and a different taste, which makes it necessary to use a filler that limits oxygen exposure. Long tube fillers are ideal in many cases, filling the bottles from the bottom to the top. Short tube fillers are also available, which apply counterpressure to remove oxygen from the bottle prior to filling, but these are typically more costly than long tube fillers.
Cleaning and labeling
One of the most important aspects of the bottling process for craft beers is sanitization. Bottles need to be completely free of dust and dirt before filling, and the best way to keep bottles clean is to use rinsers and other cleaning machinery, which will work with your fillers. Labeling is also an important consideration, with bottles being labeled either before or after filling. You may be able to find a single machine that’s capable of labeling, cleaning and filling to maximize efficiency and help prevent issues during the bottling process.
Considering output speed
This is one of the keys to finding the right machinery for your production line. Certain vendors may say that you need a higher output speed than is truly necessary and will attempt to sell you a machine that you won’t need until your production line expands and your business grows. This makes it necessary to consider your current output as it relates to the bottling process and determine which machines you actually require based on your specific needs. You’ll likely be able to find the right piece of equipment at an affordable price that meets all of your requirements. Conveyors with custom speed settings can also help modify the speed of the bottling process.
Consider used equipment
In many cases, you can find high-quality used liquid fillers and other bottling machines, which will give you everything you need if you purchase them from the right vendor. A good vendor will make sure that all used equipment is in working condition prior to selling it, while selling them at lower prices than the cost of a newer machine. However, it’s important to make sure that any used equipment comes with instructions for preventative maintenance and proper operation. It’s also better to purchase machinery from distributors and manufacturers rather than other breweries.
When shopping for the right craft brewery bottling machines, you’ll find the best option by comparing various vendors. Get quotes for new or used machinery and decide which offers the best equipment at the best value, which will make your purchases worthwhile.
Regardless of the types of bottling machinery you need, you’ll be able to find the right equipment for your facility by taking all these aspects into consideration throughout your search.
Krys Beal, part of E-PAK Machinery, Inc.’s inside sales and marketing department, has over 19 years of experience in the manufacturing equipment industry with expertise in filling, capping and bottling equipment.