Ruhr-Universität Bochum and KHS launch rebas, a new joint research project
Today, the beverage and food industries are faced with great challenges where further globalization is combined with growing competitive pressure. It thus follows that in order to survive in a competitive environment high quality and cost-efficient production is equally as necessary as foresighted actions in areas such as sustainability.
As an internationally active manufacturer of filling and packaging equipment, KHS always supplies the beverage, food, and nonfood industries with top quality technical systems that not only meet the demand for cost-efficient production but also take the aspect of sustainability into consideration. This was recently documented, for example, by the “Energy-efficient System Technology” certificate awarded by TÜV SÜD for two new developments at once: one for the first design of the Innofill Glass DRS-ZMS filler series and the other for the InnoPET Blomax Series IV generation of stretch blow molders.
KHS’ most recent initiative which is focused equally on cost reduction and sustainability: “Resource-efficient development and optimized operation of filling lines in the beverage and food industries by implementing innovative simulation software.” KHS successfully applied for a joint research project together with the Department for Production Systems of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. This research and development project is promoted with state and EU funds within the Ziel2-Calls “Ressource.NRW” and is supported by the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection in North-Rhine Westphalia. Companies Phoenix Contact, MPDV Mikrolab, the C. & A. Veltins brewery, and Warsteiner brewery are also participating in what is know as the rebas joint research project which is expected to run until mid 2015.
The project is to begin by carrying out studies in practice involving thorough analysis of the current situation of one refillable glass bottling and packing line each at the Veltins and Warsteiner breweries with the aim of deriving initial heuristics and algorithms. This is to be followed by identification of smart operating points in the lines coupled with the related optimization of the resources used during various operational states. The next step planned is to generate resource-conserving control circuits. The final step is to determine ideal system layouts for new lines in terms of conservation of resources and preparing automation requirement specifications for efficient operation.
Mario Beck, head of sustainability/TCO Central Technology Management Division at KHS says, “In addition to the newly learned lessons, the simulation should also reflect KHS’ years of process knowledge. This expertise goes beyond the existing engineering used in refillable glass bottle lines to bottle and pack beer and extends to filling lines for PET, cans, and kegs. This will achieve rebas’ goal of developing simulation software that can be implemented for a widest variety of systems.”
Consistent implementation of the rebas findings will further increase the sustainability of KHS line concepts. In concrete terms, this means a constant decrease in the consumption of energy and raw, operating, and process materials at the same level of output volume. This increase in efficiency forms an important basis for the further development of the KHS product portfolio and improving the competitiveness of KHS’ customers.