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KBL's P4.2m EBI yields results

Staff Writer
Kgalagadi Breweries(KBL) believes it has finally bid farewell to incidences of foreign objects finding their way in bottled drinks, or cracked bottles finding their way into the production line after observing their automatic bottle detecting technology achieve 100 percent efficiency since it was installed 19 months ago.

At the beginning of 2009 KBL invested P4.2 million in empty bottle inspecting technology(EBI) clear beer brewer, and is today proud of the performance and level of precision of the technology which has now replaced the archaic style which saw people hired as sighters to pin-point faulty bottles.

Kgalagadi Breweries(KBL) says the plant's performance exceeds industry standard for quality, efficacy and reliability for inspection of both returnable and non-returnable bottles. 

The EBI plant inspects the quality of bottles that will be filled with beverages and ensures that bottles with cracks, defects or foreign objects can be rejected from the production line.

The Empty Bottle Inspector also ensures that bottles of different height/size and bottles with a wrong shape are rejected, according to KBL corporate strategy Director, Thapelo Letsholo.

Letsholo says KBL is proud that despite the plant's high maintenance cost it totally eliminates any chances of foreign objects contaminating their products.

"It also protects consumers from such an occurrence thereby hugely increasing the quality of KBL products whilst delivering higher production efficiencies.

 This is a primary consumer benefit and a corporate responsibility", an elated Letsholo told Mmegi recently.

Historically, KBL bottles were inspected manually by sighters whose sole responsibility was to identify bottles for any defects or foreign objects and separate them

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from those that had to be filled.

"The EBI system performs these functions faster and more accurately than manual sighting, particularly since bottles travel at a high speed along the production line.   The human eye has some limitations in spotting defected bottles during rapid processing whereas the EBI system will always identify any defects accurately and with the high precision that is impossible for even the most experienced sighters to emulate".

Indeed in their December production of 2008 an object, a condom wrapper was found in an unopened beer bottle at one of the beer outlets in Ramotswa.

The object was found in a 750 ml returnable St Louis bottle, although KBL said it was a rare incident in their 33 year history.  That was before the company installed the new technology in early 2009. The brewer upgraded their cameras at the bottle inspecting plant to be more sensitive and detect colours, height, sizes, dirt, and objects. 

Amongst others the upgrading was necessitated by the fact that the KBL had started to use green bottles and brown bottles, which need thorough inspection. KBL also now has 750, 375 and 340mls, compared to five years ago when they had only 350 and 750mls returnable bottles, Letsholo explained.



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