Chinese Canning Line for Beer

So, today let’s look at sourcing a Chinese canning line for beer. It came up in a discussion I was having today.

I was speaking with a client looking to open a brewery this summer in SE Asia. It’s a 1,200-liter brewpub; they were unsure about packaging options and thought about bottling.

They were open to suggestions so, I pitched canning to them. There we are few reasons why…

Chinese Canning Line for Craft Beer - Humdinger Brewing
Clients in Yunnan, with the Chinese Canning Line I Sourced for Them

The Benefits of a Small-Scale Canning Line

Automation

Less people to operate it. With canning there’s a lot more automation. For the canning line I was suggesting; it requires one person to put the cans on and another to take the cans off.

The only other task is to ensure there is enough tops in the lid feed; a job easily taken care of by one of the two operators.

Space – Chinese Canning Line for Beer

Depending on the type of bottling line you have; it’ll take up much more space than the equivalent canning line. The reason being the next point.

Quicker filling

You can fill cans quicker than filling bottles. It’s the shape of a bottle which causes the issue. Long neck bottles mostly have an opening under an inch in diameter.

When you fill, you need to fill slowly to mitigate overflow and excess carbonation. Cans have a wider opening so takes a larger stream of liquid in a shorter period of time. Meaning faster filling speeds.

Watch closely; see when it fills the first can. It’s adding CO2 to purge the following can

A one head canning line can fill 400 to 500 cans per hour. On a bottling line you might need 3 to 4 filling heads to fill the same volume. The more filler heads you have; the more space you need.

Also, you’ll notice bottling lines usually have rotary filling heads. They’re need because it takes almost a full revolution to fill one bottle. With a canning line; it’s a straight conveyor belt and quick fill. Taking up less space as well as being less complicated.

Improved Beer Quality – Chinese Canning Line for Beer

Cans don’t allow light to affect the beer inside. In bottles light can affect the beer as it passes through the glass. The light reacts with the beer producing a chemical reaction which “skunks” your beer.

Ever had a beer which tasted like “burned rubber”, “cat musk” or just simply musty? I’m guessing it was from a bottled beer, right? Yeah, it’s what we call light struck!

Also, with bottles, over time oxygen can “seep” into a bottle when the cap isn’t put on just right. Oxygen in beer after packaging leads to the wet cardboard flavor; you’ve most likely tasted that too.

Environmentally

Beer cans can be recycled over and over again as they’re made of aluminum. Beer cans are easier to recycle as they cab be crushed to take up less space.

Also, unlike bottles, cans don’t smash, making them safer as well. Plus, they’re lighter than glass so, cheaper to transport.

But What About DO (Dissolved Oxygen)? Chinese Canning Line for Beer

With any small-scale operation; packaging to bottle or can; DO is your enemy. If oxygen gets into beer during packaging, it’ll kills shelf-life. That’s been a problem for many small craft breweries over the years.

Recently I worked with a client who asked me to help them source a small scale-canning line producing long shelf life. In China, there’s been a move to cans from bottle. I looked at importing machines from abroad but the costs were too high.

Longer video to get a better look

Then, I found one solution in China with a realistic cost for craft brewers. I was in contact with the company as they were developing the machine. They were working on the canning line with a brewer who had studied fluid dynamics at university in the US.

They managed to put together a low-cost machine, that did 400 to 500 cans per hour with DO levels below 30. This was the solution I’d been looking for.

Personally, I know of several brewers who’ve since bought the machine who are pleased with the results. This canning line passes local QC licensing checks too.

Pricing

The reason I decided to write this article is pricing. As I said before I know several breweries using the machine, I’ve pictured. It comes in at around US$16,500 at the time of writing (the exchange rate RMB/USD).

As I said, the reason I first showed interest in this machine, was for a client in China looking for canning machine priced under 125,000 RMB(USD$19,500). They also wanted to can a minimum of 300 x 500ml cans per hour.

That was a big ask!

There wasn’t much out there. In fact the cheapest I could find originally was a JKM model at 350,000 RMB. Other cheaper models couldn’t deliver on DO (dissolved oxygen) numbers.

The machine pictured was 105,000 RMB so in budget BUT, the original version had DO levels of over 300 ppb, way too much. I needed under 50ppb, ideally below 30ppb.

Then as I said, they brought in the brewer who studied fluid dynamics in the US. They worked on it for two months and got the numbers below 30ppb consistently.

The manufacturers are constantly working on the machine to improve the DO numbers, the processes and recently added the option for a rotary feed line.

Another look at the fill

That’s why a number of brewers have now ordered the line, including my original client:

  • Passes local QC licensing for local government
  • Has good DO numbers (below 30ppb)
  • Can be operated by two people
  • Able to place it right next to the tank to be used (small footprint)
  • Can be stored away when not needed, as easy to move on wheels
  • Speed is 400 to 500 cans per hour
  • Furthermore, you can switch between 330ml and 500ml cans 

Chinese Canning Line for Beer – Conclusions

Looking to a Chinese canning line beer? Please get in touch if you’re interested in the line showcased. I know they’re being sent overseas to breweries In Australia and the US.

One issue though is; due to Covid-19, the engineers can’t travel to SOME countries overseas to help set up the machine. At time of writing on (1/7/2021).

Get in touch for further details. Also, if you’re planning to order later this year circumstances should have changed.

The price point of US$16,500 for the base model (without the rotary table) to fill 400 to 500 cans per hour at under 30ppb. It’s a good price for a line which works.

If you’ve interest in the machine, then please feel free to email me at:

neil@asianbeernetwork.com

Furthermore, you scan the QR codes below to connect with on the associated media platforms.

Thanks for reading my article, have a good day and happy brewing.

Cheers

Neil

My Social Media QR Codes

Neil Playfoot

Neil is a brewer with 25 years international brewing experience. Based out of China (first came in 2010) he works as a brewing consultant helping brewers with their projects and brewing processes. To find out what services Neil can provide your brewery please click here. If you'd like to contact Neil you can email at neil@asianbeernetwork.com.
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