The China Resources Snow Breweries Group (CR Snow) is the country’s largest brewing company, producing approximately 11 billion litres of beer in 2022.
The company had sought the help of Krones to commission its glass bottling line in Bengbu which officially started operation in April 2023, leading to a record new level in production output. This new plant has a targeted annual production capacity of 1 billion litres, and with the incredible volume, CR Snow is also aiming to meet the most exacting standards not only in terms of quantity but also quality, by incorporating technological innovations and measures designed to save energy and other resources. Its new brewery plant is considered eco-friendly, low carbon and efficient by international standards.
CR Snow has engaged Krones as one of its main suppliers ordering 4 lines for bottling beer in glass, each rated at 50,000 bottles per hour. Upon completion of the first project phase, the plant currently achieves an annual output of 800 million litres on these 4 lines plus a canning line that was installed at the same time, and is able to fill CR Snow’s entire product portfolio. The lines can process new bottles and returnables, the latter accounting for an impressive 70%. The aim was to ensure a high degree of automation throughout the plant, coupled with top efficiency levels, low energy consumption and reliable product quality.
This project started in March 2021, at a time when the pandemic restrictions in China was still in place, as such the Krones team was constantly challenged with supply shortages of electronic components and restrictions with regards to machine transport. This has created a major challenge during the installation of the lines.
Integrating the equipment for palletising and washing returnable bottles and crates was yet another demanding job the project management team had to handle. They liaised closely with CR Snow’s crew and together they met and mastered this challenge, too: Lines C and D were successfully commissioned in December 2022, and Lines A and B in April 2023.
The new plant provides an annual output of roughly 1 billion litres of beer, satisfying the volume needed to cover the regional market. Krones supplied to CR Snow four 50,000 bph glass lines – 3 glass lines which include a Modulfill HRS each, and 1 line specifically to fill unpasteurised beer.