GEA VIPOLL equips its first craft brewery in South Africa with process and filling technology

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GEA VIPOLL, a Slovenian subsidiary of GEA since early 2018, has achieved its first project in the craft beer segment in South Africa. The bottling specialist is manufacturing an ALL IN ONE filler with a filling capacity of 4,000 bottles and cans per hour for its customer, East Coast Brewing Company. In 2017 VIPOLL presented this new development to the trade public, capable of filling glass and PET bottles as well as cans in the small and medium output range. The scope of the order also includes a mixer and a flash pasteurizer, which will be installed at the same time as the filler in the spring of 2019.

Looking for lean solutions

East Coast Brewing Company is one of South Africa’s emerging craft breweries and in 2017 equipped its new brewery with a 50 hectoliter GEA CRAFT-STAR™ brewhouse. Rocco Antonio Fontana, third-generation brewer and beverage producer, wants to fill not only craft beer at 2 °C, but also niche carbonated soft drinks at 20 °C and still water. “We met and got to know each other at drinktec 2017,” says Stanko Zver, Managing Director and co-founder of GEA VIPOLL. “We were able to show how flexibly he can produce on such a small area and how much time the ALL IN ONE saves when filling and changing formats. The decision was all the easier because East Coast Brewing Company has already had excellent experience with our brewery colleagues in Kitzingen.”

“The ALL IN ONE is the third solution we have purchased from GEA, and we are excited to have the line commissioned early next year,” says Rocco Fontana. “We produce a wide variety of products both in-house and offer a specialized contract packing service that we needed an all-rounder that makes financial sense in terms of our capacities. This is our vision of smart, lean technologies.”

Highly flexible and easy to operate

Customers, like here in the craft sector, are looking for flexible solutions in order to switch to different container formats within a few minutes. The multifunctional elements of the ALL IN ONE block allow for this. For example, the rinser is equipped with universal grippers and the filler with electro-pneumatic filling valves that not require changing to run bottles and cans with different neck sizes.

The twin head capper, in which every second seaming head is activated for can lids and crown caps on one turret and an additional turret for metal (MCA) and plastic (PCO) caps, have individual cap feed systems. Can seamer and crown cap heads are servo-driven. In contrast to conventional systems, the ALL IN ONE system has minimal product losses due to the unique capping/seaming system. In total, format and product changes on the filling block take less than 20 minutes. The functions are so smoothly coordinated that the O2 absorption during filling is as low as possible. The ALL IN ONE can be easily controlled via a touch panel.

East Coast Brewing Company has chosen the ALL ON ONE filler with 16 grippers, 16 volumetric filling valves and two capping/seaming turrets: The first turret combines crown corks and different lid sizes of cans whereas the second turret is designed for aluminum and plastic screw caps.


About GEA

GEA is one of the largest suppliers for the food processing industry and a wide range of other industries that generated consolidated revenues of approximately EUR 4.6 billion in 2017. The international technology group focuses on process technology, components and sustainable energy solutions for sophisticated production processes in various end-user markets. The group generates around 70 percent of its revenue in the food and beverages sector that enjoys long-term sustainable growth. As of December 31, 2017, the company employed almost 18,000 people worldwide. GEA is a market and technology leader in its business areas. The company is listed on the German MDAX (G1A, WKN 660 200). In addition, GEA’s stock is included in the MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes. Further information is available on the Internet at