UK - SABMiller has developed a new, low-gauge bottle crown that significantly reduces the amount of steel used in production and could cut costs by US$12.6m per year if it is rolled out globally, says the brewer.
Developed by SABMiller’s Peruvian subsidiary, Backus, in cooperation with Packaging Products Peru, this lighter bottle top can help lower raw material costs and CO2 emissions.
SABMiller currently uses approximately 42 billion crowns every year to top bottled lagers and carbonated soft drinks, with an equivalent weight of 100,000 tonnes. The company estimates that with the new low-gauge crown, the amount of steel required across SABMiller's global production platform could be reduced by at least 10% a year, enough to build London another Olympic stadium.
The thickness of the steel in Backus' new, low-gauge crown is 0.17mm, much lower than the current brewing industry average of between 0.22mm and 0.24mm. This is possible due to a unique design which embosses a ring around the bottle lip to prevent a ‘spring back' effect that can lead to leakage and contamination.
Backus carried out pilot production in the 12 months to 31 March 2010, using around 20 million low-gauge crowns in production at its San Juan plant in Pucallpa City. Following its success, the low-gauge crowns were rolled out across the remaining four breweries in Peru, with approximately 80 million low-gauge crowns being used in the twelve months to 31 March 2011.
SABMiller says if the Peruvian initiative could be rolled out across the company, it could hypothetically deliver annual cost savings of US$12.6 million in material costs alone.
The reduced weight of the bottle crowns will also have a positive impact on the environment, the brewer adds. The low-gauge bottle crown weighs around 2.14g, 10% lighter than the standard bottle crown weight of about 2.38g. This translates to a 360g weight reduction in every pallet being transported to the group's breweries and from the brewery to retailers and distributors.
In addition, reduced weight in transport will deliver as yet unqualified cost savings and reductions in C02 emissions through transportation, SABMiller notes.
"The low-gauge crowns programme is just one example of a cumulative effort across the group to innovate in every aspect of production, says Maurice Egan, Group Head of Manufacturing at SABMiller.
“Across the globe, we continue to encourage blue-sky thinking that will increase efficiency, improve costs and reduce the impact our business has on the environment."
A brewery distribution worker stacks crates of Cristal Peru’s leading beer brand produced by Backus; SABMiller's brewing operation in Peru.
A brewery worker packs crates of Cristal Peru's leading beer brand produced by Backus; SABMiller's brewing operation in Peru