Since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the prices of electricity, gas, and oil have rocketed. The situation in the world’s energy markets remains tense, with the high costs imposing a huge financial burden for both consumers and industry. There is an increasing demand for alternative solutions to secure an economical supply of energy in the long term. This is where KHS – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage and liquid food industries – comes in with its package of shrink tunnel conversions. KHS enables its clients to convert their existing machinery to a number of different forms of energy.
Over the last few weeks, many concerned customers contacted Bernd Pauls, KHS service sales support manager. “The big rise in energy prices is making the beverage industry very nervous. Our customers – and especially those in Europe – are really worried about the continuing secure supply of natural gas and electricity. They’re now looking for economical ways of ensuring the energy supply for their machine parks in the long term.” As an experienced service specialist, Pauls knows that there is no general formula here. “Each bottler has different requirements and challenges. In close cooperation with our customers, we work to find specific remedies that are perfectly tailored to the current and future needs of the respective company.”
Various conversion packages for KHS shrink tunnels
To this end, KHS has put together an extensive tool kit of conversion variants. Taking the shrink tunnel as an example, Pauls outlines the flexible options available. “Our customers can opt for conversion from one source of energy to another – from natural gas to electricity or liquid gas, for instance. They have the option of switching the system between two types of gas or flexibly converting it to electricity. Conversion back to a gas supply can be performed by the customer as required.” This significantly reduces dependence on a single source of energy and increases the security of supply.
The conversion variants greatly differ in their nature and complexity. “Some are carried out by our experts just once; others are conversions that provide reversible setup options,” Pauls explains. Conversions are available for practically all existing shrink tunnels and are installed by KHS specialists specifically trained for the job. There is usually no change in machine control for the operating personnel. With the reversible option, the setup is changed by the customer either digitally in a matter of minutes using a selector switch on the HMI or by changing a module over (this takes just a few hours). “The customer’s engineers are of course thoroughly trained in module changeovers by our expert colleagues,” says Pauls.
In addition to providing technical on-site support, KHS also delivers extensive advice regarding energy optimization of installed systems. This includes a number of energy-saving packages. On the shrink tunnel, one of these is a standby option where on a production stop the temperature can be manually or automatically lowered by about 50°C.
When it comes to the use of resources, KHS has made great progress in the last few years. On its shrink packers, for example, extremely thin film and those made of 100% recycled material can be processed. On request, the existing packaging machines can have a paper wrapping unit permanently installed.
Live dialog with customers: Technical Talks
KHS offers its customers advice and information on the various conversion options and their specific benefits in its supplementary global Technical Talks webinar series. Pauls and his colleagues recently held four seminars on the energy supply and efficiency of KHS machines that met with a very positive response: over 200 interested viewers took part.