KHS researches impact of digitisation on beverage industry
Digital technologies simplify processes, intelligently network systems with one another and relieve operator workloads, providing significant benefits to the beverage industry. Systems manufacturer KHS has analysed the implications of digitisation for the beverage industry, through a number of research and development projects.
“When deciding whether to implement an idea or not, it’s the added value for the customer that counts for us,” said Dr Ing Matthias Schopp, head of Engineering Systems at KHS.
“This is demonstrated by our various sponsorship projects, for instance, where we can experiment with new technologies in a kind of ‘protected space’. This can definitely be referred to as a platform which enables our developers, together with experts outside the company, to try out new ideas that carry a certain risk of implementation,” Schopp added.
When undertaking a new project, KHS prioritises reducing the cost of materials and the optimisation of lines and machines. “New functions in individual assemblies are changing our systems and machinery. We’re constantly working on giving all components the maximum efficiency and coordinating them with one another,” Schopp said.
KHS, in collaboration with scientists from the TU Dortmund, Ruhr University in Germany and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML), is partaking in a project for additive projection in maintenance logistics. In this project, which is similar to 3D printing, components are produced layer by layer. This form of manufacture allows the creation of complex component structures that cannot be made using conventional methods.
DnSPro, a research process recently completed by KHS, covers the development of a filling system equipped with various sensors and an intelligent logic controller. “The results from this project can form the basis for future filling machines where the machine can adjust itself to a new project automatically, with the automated variation of filling parameters replacing manual set-up procedures,” Schopp said. This project focuses on the application of machine learning for adaptation to the bottle form, making the filling process quicker and more efficient. The culmination of the DnSPro research project is seen through the company’s Innofill DRS bottle filler, pictured below.
The company intends to create energy-saving concepts and line optimisation processes to be used in pneumatic and electrical handling systems, with the help of the EnAP project. Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the project aims to save energy and resources, enabling the beverage industry to decrease its overall operating costs.
The CyProAssist Project undertaken by KHS aims to simplify interactions between man and machine, by engineering self-learning and self-optimising systems. The project’s objective is to develop an assistance system for production which supports human machine operation. Through cooperation with partners from industry and research, KHS successfully completed projects like DnSPro and CyProAssist, providing its customers with added value and yielding tangible results.
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