Do you remember 1985?
Back to the Future broke box office records at the cinema,
Mikhail Gorbachev became the head of the Soviet Union.
Nintendo released Super Mario Bros.
Scooby Doo was 16 years old AND ………….
the mean, green brewing machine was founded!
It was in the Summer of 1985 that Wye Valley Brewery was founded. Still a family company and now producing over 12 million pints per year. Their beers are served in more than 1,200 pubs and bars throughout the West Midlands and Wales. Their reputation is one of consistent quality and customer service and supporting the Great British institution “the pub” and packaging in cask, keg and bottles.
Located on a 9 acre site, Wye Valley is also about working in harmony with the environment. In addition to roof mounted solar panels, there is also an entire field of them, both of which help generate more than 40% of the brewery’s total energy usage. Spent grain and hops are given to local farmer for animal feed and compost, while excess yeast goes for pig feed. Meanwhile water vapour created during the brewhouse e boil is recovered and used to heat water for keg and cask cleaning.
Approximately 85% of their beer is sold in casks or kegs, which are recycled over and over again. In fact, they are still using some of the original casks from when they first started in guess when – 1985.
Local sourcing to reduce food miles meant that over 60% of their hops are from local farms within 10 miles of the brewery and they deliver the vast majority of our beers within a 70 mile radius, helping keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.
That’s a lot of mean green brewing!
But how do you enable more people to enjoy your products further afield. Wye Valley had been bottling for many years but with their existing equipment being labour intensive, slow and approaching the end of its working life a decision was made to install a new packaging line.
Various companies were approached and tendered for the project. However with restricted space, different floor levels between production and the warehouse, need for flexible packaging, the introduction of multipacks plus the option for can filling too the task became a real challenge. After checking several reference sites in the industry and credentials, Enterprise Tondelli were awarded the contract.
As specialist equipment suppliers to the industry Enterprise Tondelli have been supplying bottling and canning lines since 1977 in over 40 countries and have a great deal of experience in the sector. Some recent projects include a complete widget can filling line for stout and porters with a tunnel pasteuriser, a kombucha bottling line and a high speed malt based carbonated drink PET bottling line complete with ancillaries.
Working closely with the customer’s civil engineers for the new extension design, setting floor levels and designing drainage a compact layout was achieved. This ergonomic arrangement allowed optimisation of staffing levels so the new line has less operators than the previous line whilst running more than twice as fast. The layout allows one person between filler, labeller, level inspector and crown feeder plus one between the two packing machines. There is one common area for the de and re palletising equipment located in the warehouse to reduce fork truck movements.
The new line is rated at 9,000 bottles per hour and will produce both 330 ml and 500 ml bottles. An automatic bulk glass depalletiser is located in the warehouse at a lower level than the filling and packaging area. Bottles are deposited up a step 1.5 m above the warehouse into the packaging hall by a Fipal Srl Stratus D60 depalletiser with interlayer removal. Bottles are single filed to feed the rotary three station BRB three station 9 platform self-adhesive labeller located opposite the rinser/filler/crowner bloc. An existing coder provided by the customer was integrated into the labeller system for label coding. To reduce downtime between label changes an additional accumulation alpine was included from Eurosistemi – the Enterprise conveyor manufacturing partner.
The rinser/filler/crowner from Matrix Srl is enclosed in a hygiene enclosure with hepa filtration on the top of the stainless steel enclosure. The electro pneumatic filling valve has fewer moving parts than a traditional mechanical valve and allows greater filling control. Enterprise have supplied a number of Matrix fillers both in the UK and around the world a recent unit being a 90 valve. Transfer between the three turrets is by starwheels form positive transfer and this is matched by direct gearing underneath the table top to ensure a long life rather than the use of the inferior cardan shaft/gearbox solution. The electro pneumatic filling valve means that the filling cycle is recipe driven from the panel so you can change the various cycle times; pre-evacuation, filling and snifting very accurately and adjust for each product as required whilst the machine is running. A central filler bowl with CIP spray ball also ensures greater cleaning efficacy. Low level bulk crown hoper and elevator conveniently located by the filler alongside the level inspector rejector reduces travel for the operator.
To remove any residual shower water a TF1 fully enclosed tunnel type drier was manufactured by Eurosistemi with a high pressure fan mounted in a sound deadening cabinet above the unit. This feed to the many adjustable multi directionable drying nozzles that ensure under crown drying and reduction of water in the carton.
Various options were required for the secondary packaging and two Baumer packers were supplied. The first unit produces wrapround cartons to produce 8 and 12 packs in corrugated board with internal flap closing. Additionally it can also produce 4 and 6 packs of product in high quality kraft board as multipacks. The multipacks are then fed to the second Baumer to be placed in a tray for distribution. The 4 and 6 packs are “laned” into the second Baumer not using a traditional in-line laber but rather using the Baumer patented 90 degree continuous motion turning disc. This allows a single stream of product to be fed into the machine and then collated into a final tray of either 6 no. four bottle packs or 6 no 4 container packs. Both Baumer feeds go to a common palletiser for product consolation.
A rather nice touch is the large character ink jet coder fitted for the boxes that allows a standard generic Wye Valley printed outer case to be customised with each product details and including product graphic as well all of which is 60 mm high. This reduces carton inventory and origination costs.
Carton are fed into the automatic Fipal carton palletiser with the layer formation zone being on the packaging hall level. The pallet itself is on the lower warehouse level which means that no fork trucks ned to enter the packaging hall which improves safety for the operators. The palletiser has a special non-contact carton turning device that reduces impact damage along with an indexing belt to space the packs in the rows. Historically rollers with pop up plates were used but these were quite inflexible and also caused impact damage too. Carton are pushed into a roller depositing head that opens in the middle for a more compact pallet. Once deposited the layer is again compacted by side pressers mounted on the palletising head. The machine has an open electrocni architecture that enables the customer to add new layer formats by themselves thus reducing the total cost of ownership.
The complete conveyor system was supplied from EuroSistemi who engineered the control panel and filed wiring and software solution for a very flexible project. A second phase will feature a canning facility.
Gareth Bateman head brewer and project leader stated “ Enterprise Tondelli have been on our radar for some time but we had never used them. Checking with a few other breweries who used them we found they had a sound reputation. A major factor is awarding the contract was there very flexible attitude on finding the solution – no matter what changes we required , Enterprise reacted very quickly and positively time and time again. It was a positive experience”. Hywel Davies Chief Engineer said something nice too!
Craig Wilson Managing Director of Enterprise Tondelli stated. ”the team here ate Enterprise enjoyed working with the Wye Valley team team. It was a very collaborative and frictionless relationship that has resulted in a world class installation. I look forward to the next project”.
Enterprise Tondelli have been working in the industry since 1977 and supplying equipment in over 40 countries. The Wye Valley project is just one of the latest projects by Enterprise that have ranged in scope from Kombucha bottling, nitro beer canning and turn key beer bottling. Suppling canning lines 1,500 to 72,000 cans per hour , bottling from 600 to 60,000 bph and kegging lines too. This wealth of experience ensures Enterprise add something to all their projects.”
Other case studies with videos and full range of equipment can be found on their website:-
www.enterprisetondelli.co.uk – “from single machines to complete turn key factories”.
So what happened in 2023?
Wye Valley Brewery installed a great new bottling line from Enterprise Tondelli – have you tried some of the great beers yet from Wye Valley Brewery – the green mean brewing machine?
These include new “Nightjar” a delightful dark British stout, iconic Butty Bach – “charmingly smooth premium ale” , HPA – “easy-going real ale that brings people together”, Fandango – light, citrusy undertones and crowd-pleasing flavour and…………. The refreshing premium lager “1985” ! You can buy them direct from their website:- https://www.wyevalleybrewery.co.uk/ or enjoy in more than 1200 bars and pubs.