Labelers & Lane Dividers: Boosts​ to Your Canning Line That Increase Flexibility

In an ongoing series, Brewer will take a small note from interviews of some of the Fundamental stories it has run in print and give a small tidbit that didn’t make the issue but is still worth diving into. “Decisions to Ponder When Upping Canning Load” appears in the September/October issue of Brewer.

Deschutes is constantly chasing new configurations, along with exploring different can and pack sizes. Packing and Warehouse Manager Dan Ciaglo explained to Brewer that the Oregon brewery makes sure its canning line is as flexible as possible and doing that on the front end of the install is key.

“During design, we considered ‘all we will ever need,’ and new configurations that we hadn’t considered were requested before we even commissioned it,” he said. “Additionally, you can ask almost any craft brewery if their line is fast enough…and everyone will say ‘NO!’

​Great Divide has expanded into 16 and 19.2oz cans in the ​past year and ​​Packaging Manager Jeff Martin said the Colorado facility has​ ​also begun to use different can finishes.

​”​Instead of the standard gloss ​can ​we have experimented with satin and matte finishes​,” he said.

Looking ahead ​Great Divide ​is focused on being able to package small batch​ and ​one-off offerings.

​”​This is difficult from both our brew side constraints and supplier side minimums, but the market has been gravitating towards change, and being able to offer more unique beers is a challenge we are looking to confront in 2021 and beyond​,” he said.​

​Pelican‘s​ intent is to add can labeling in 2021​, adding to the possible flexibility larger producers need to plan for.

​”​We currently buy most of our cans in pre-printed full-truck quantities​,” ​​said Director of Brewing Operations, Martin Bills.​ “We want a higher level of flexibility ​and​ innovation. Our brewery production system is designed around JIT/demand-pull strategies. Of paramount importance is keeping innovation in the forefront.​”

Pelican’s R&D team has a ton of great product ideas in the works​, Bills said and labeling will allow ​the brewery to test consumer interest in perfect just-in-time quantities.

​”​We’ll then ​’​promote​’​ more successful products into the pre-printed format.”​

Ciaglo also noted that variety packs have certainly been a challenge for Deschutes as the rise of such a SKU ​heading into 2021 ​has become quite popular.

“You may want to consider your line being dual purpose with some lane dividers feeding your packer to complete this in-house,” he said.

At the end of NOLA‘s ​canning ​system, the Louisiana brewery is running a Markem Imaje date coder that lets the brewery print a best-by date and a fun message to customers on the bottom edge of the cans.

“With our current set up, we bought everything together,” said Jaime Oquendo, Director of Facilities & Quality Assurance. “On our previous canning line, we had bought most of the items separately, learning as we went.

“It was because of that experience that we knew that we needed all of this equipment when we upgraded our system last September (2019).”

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