As product loss can be a challenge with significant cost implications in the brewery industry, electronic industrial systems specialist Interpast has introduced an in-house-developed PT800-1 Crowner Seal Element Tester to ensure the effective sealing of bottles.
The product, which was specifically designed for brewing and bottling company South African Breweries (SAB), was launched at this year’s Food and Drink Technology Africa trade fair, which was held in Johannesburg in September.
The PT800-1 analyses the force of seal elements used in a crowner unit to determine if each bottle is correctly sealed. Interpast CEO Ria Pelser explains that this helps to not only ensure that the contents of each bottle are preserved and protected from contamination, but also assists bottling plants and breweries in monitoring the condition of their crowner units.
“The standard in the industry at present is to have the sealing elements of a crowner unit repaired yearly at a significant cost. The PT800-1 is a completely unique product that will play a vital role in setting up a baseline force for each element, making it simple to measure and manage deterioration thereafter,” she says.
The product, thus, assists companies in determining when and in which elements maintenance is required in a crowner, based on the force that is measured, while eliminating the need to dismantle the crowner in order to inspect the seal elements. Pelser highlights that the product will not only improve ease of maintenance, but also reduce the costs involved in such activities.
The product is currently being trialled at SAB’s Rosslyn plant, in Gauteng, and Pelser says that industry interest in the product has been significant since its launch.
“Interpast is proud to be a supplier to all SAB breweries in South Africa, as well as multinational brewing and beverage company SABMiller breweries throughout Africa. With Belgian brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev’s) takeover of SABMiller in September, we look forward to widening our exposure to the international market as well,” she says.
AB InBev Takes Over
In September, Engineering News reported that SABMiller shareholders had backed the brewer’s $100-billion-plus takeover by rival AB InBev by a large majority, paving the way for one of the biggest corporate mergers in history.
The £79-billion deal, which was comfortably passed by the SAB shareholders, had required approval from a majority of shareholders and by at least 75% in share value. For the latter, it secured 95.5% support.
While SABMiller’s two largest shareholders, cigarette maker Altria Group and the Santo Domingo family of Colombia, had already pledged their support for the deal, the approval of SAB shareholders was widely expected, but not a given. Criticism of the takeover offer grew after a steep fall in sterling following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union made AB InBev’s cash offer less appealing.
Activist shareholders pressured SAB to seek a higher offer, prompting AB InBev to sweeten its bid in July. SAB backed the higher offer, though some prominent shareholders continued to oppose it.
After selling off SAB’s joint venture stakes in China and the US, and its businesses across Europe, the combined company will have a 27% share of the global beer market, having more presence in African and Latin American markets. Competition in individual markets is expected to remain relatively unchanged, however, as the two companies have very little geographic overlap.