Suppliers discontinue delivery of components, environmental standards require adaptation, digital processes need system updates - regular conversions are essential in order to maintain efficient, sustainable and stable production. KHS supports its customers with comprehensive services to meet the challenges involved. This support includes, among other things, predictive discontinuation management and technical upgrades. The system supplier additionally provides advice on the fulfillment of legal environmental requirements as well as on the implementation of ambitious sustainability goals. The portfolio is rounded off by a wide range of digital services designed to improve machine efficiency.
As a full-service provider, KHS is a reliable partner in the service sector and is in close proximity to customers when it comes to conversions. If components are discontinued, it is important to set the course in good time so that machines with comparable components can continue to be used reliably. Environmental standards coming into effect by a certain deadline require modifications to the machines well in advance. In addition to ensuring operational reliability, state-of-the-art hardware and software offer additional functions and increase efficiency. “Conversions can impose requirements of varying complexity on us and our customers,” says Armin Wille, head of Service Sales at KHS. “Sometimes it's a matter of small, uncomplicated component changes, other times it involves difficult and specific solutions in the area of high capital investment.”
According to Wille, existing machines are on average 18 years old - some have even been in operation for more than 40 years and continue to be supported by KHS Service. “Worldwide, our machines are considered to have particularly long life cycles. Through regular conversions and the integration of up-to-date solutions, users are also able to increase the efficiency and sustainability over the entire life cycle.” For this purpose, KHS continuously develops new components proactively that are tailored to existing machines. The recently completely revised electronic conversion catalog from KHS includes around 140 standard conversion options. This offers beverage bottlers a reliable basis for planning. In the KHS Connect portal featuring online store functions, users are able to find detailed information on the components of their lines via their personalized access. The intuitive and multilingual user interface enables users to see at a glance which components are affected by discontinuations and which conversion options are available. In addition, KHS actively presents its extensive range via local service contacts or regularly as part of the digital KHS Technical Talks format. “The constant demand from our customers for advice on conversions confirms that our service is well received. We develop tailor-made solutions based on personal contact with customers.”
Along with retrofits resulting, among other things, from the discontinuation of components, KHS is also able to provide support in the implementation of ambitious sustainability goals. By upgrading existing KHS Innopack machines, for example, manufacturers are able to choose to wrap beverage cans in paper instead of shrink film. They can opt for flexibility by choosing film or paper packaging or elect to install a complete conversion to paper. In this case, they completely eliminate the need for heating energy of a shrink tunnel. This is made possible by the modular design of the KHS Kisters packaging machines.
KHS also provides support for the conversions necessary to meet legal requirements. A significant example is the European Union's Single-Use Plastics Directive. The regulations formulated in this directive come into effect in the member states based on national laws on the same date. One standard pertains to caps that are permanently connected to the bottles, what are known as tethered caps. By 3 July 2024, beverage manufacturers are required to convert their production so that PET bottle caps remain attached to the containers even when they are open. The purpose of the directive is to reduce environmental pollution resulting from loose closures and promote the goal of collective recycling. As a full-service provider KHS offers its customers advice regarding the necessary technical modifications to the filling system. Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) was the most recent company to benefit from this advice. This year and next year, KHS machines are to be converted at sites in Germany, France, and Belgium to implement the corresponding system and solution. “We are noticing a great deal of uncertainty among our customers with regard to tethered caps and will continue to address the topic consistently - in our technical talks, among other things. New dates can be found regularly on the KHS webinar website,” explains Armin Wille. “One thing is certain, there is no getting around these conversions. The deadline is a set date.”
The tried-and-tested Bottles & Shapes service program is yet another consulting component to promote sustainable production. KHS provides advice on the development of new container systems that optimally harmonize attractive design, functionality, reliable line behavior, resource-conserving use of materials and recyclability. In its efforts to develop sustainable packaging systems, KHS is guided by the life cycle analysis of packaging (LCA analysis = life cycle assessment analysis), which is independently validated by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu). A CO2 calculation tool is already being used in customer consulting to show the life cycle assessment of PET bottles.
KHS wants use the increase in digitization caused by the corona pandemic as the basis for expanding its range of services yet again. “Retrofits in the form of system retrofits and upgrades have numerous advantages for beverage bottlers including additional functions such as safeguarding operational technologies and ensuring an overall increase in efficiency,” points out Wolfgang Heßelmann, Innoline MES product manager at KHS. In order to increase line efficiency, KHS offers the option of retrofitting the Innoline BLM (Basic Line Monitoring) software for the modular Innoline MES (Manufacturing Execution System) production control system as well as an extension to include the automated Innoline Flex Control line control system. For these systems, KHS offers modularly designed maintenance contracts. Choices include packages with regular software updates, IT services with system checks and maintenance and fixed hourly packages for the services of IT technicians.
For older versions of the ClearLine HMI control panel, the Dortmund system supplier also offers retrofitting with special whitelisting software to protect systems from the threat from hackers. Write protection of the hard disk is also optionally available. HMIs are always plug-compatible; older models can be replaced one-to-one. If customers have both a ClearLine HMI and BLM, the BLM's web-based data can optionally be displayed on the HMI displays, allowing machine operators to check the status of the line in real time.