PET bottle capping upgrade
€20m overall for PET bottle investment
TCB Group, Viaplast, TCB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, Frankfurter Brauhaus GmbH
CSI (Closures Systems International)
Frankfurter Brauhaus is a large and respected German brewer with a 400-year tradition of brewing excellence and innovation. In 2003 the Frankfurt brewery was acquired by TCB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH from Brau & Brunnen and the new company Frankfurter Brauhaus GmbH was born, a subsidiary of the TCB Group.
Frankfurter Brauhaus was one of the first brewers in the world to commercially adopt PET bottles for the packaging of beer. In 2004 a heavy investment of €20m was made to build a new PET line and storage facilities using PET pre-forms from Viaplast.
Following the widespread adoption of PET bottles for beer across Germany, in 2005 a second PET line was installed to give a total PET bottling capacity of 1,850,000hl of Pilsator and Frankfurter beer.
The brewery also has a returnable glass line (600,000hl), a can filling line (1,400,000hl) and a keg line (100,000hl). The Frankfurter Brauhaus brewery is one of the largest and most modern in Germany with a total brewing capacity of 2.5 million hectolitres per year.
The group has two breweries with a total brewing capacity for pilsner and dark beers of 5 million hectolitres per year.
Viaplast GmbH is a subsidiary of the TCB Group which was set up in 2005 with the purpose of supplying the breweries of the TCG Group with PET pre-forms. Viaplast uses two ‘Husky’ PET moulding machines to produce ‘monolayer’ pre-forms in various colours or transparent forms with added UV blocking substances such as Amosorb or Valor.
New closure system
In July 2008 Frankfurter Brauhaus announced its intention to use Closure Systems International’s (CSI) new MB-Lok mini system on its PET bottles, which have been produced to reduce the amount of material used in the manufacturing process. The new closures have already been used by a number of major brewers in Germany. The system was chosen because it offered the easiest technical conversion for the brewery’s PET packaging lines.
It is also thought that consumers will benefit from the classic appearance of the closure and the ease of opening using the ‘Sure Grip’ Knurl. Overall the new packaging will be much lighter with over 20% in material savings in the threaded bottle finish area of the package. The PET packaging line will now use a much shorter and more lightweight bottle finish and will use the CSI MB-Lok mini closure to reduce packaging materials and to improve sustainability.
Mini lock closure
The MB-Lok mini closure is a lightweight, two-piece design that contributes significantly to reducing the overall cost of bottling. If the closure is used with either PCO 1873 or PCO 1881 short-height bottle finishes, the PET bottle finish weight is reduced while maintaining all the same performance characteristics as existing bottle finishes.
Internally the new closure design integrates the CSI high-performance XT oxygen-scavenging liner. This maximises the seal integrity and maintains the best product freshness under all environmental conditions.
The MB-Lok mini closure effectively and safely seals beer in PET bottle packaging of from 0.25l up to 3l in volume. The MB-Lok mini closure is suitable for very high-speed bottling lines running at up to 950 bottles per minute (such as at Frankfurter Brauhaus). Existing bottle lines are able to integrate the ‘quick-change’ capper conversion kit to allow changes between short and standard height conversion and give the best operation with the new cap closure.
Frankfurter Brauhaus is also a contract packager for various smaller breweries in Germany. The standard packaging formats are 50cl PET bottles, which are packaged in shrink-wrapped six-packs; the company also does trays with six, 18 and 24 units.