Colorado-based Wild Goose, a manufacturer of canning equipment for small breweries and other craft beverage producers, has launched an all-purpose beverage packaging system designed to offer more flexibility.
The Fusion Counter Pressure Canning System provides higher carbonation levels, pressures and temperatures to provide fully-automated canning across a range of product types at line speeds of up to 45 cans per minute.
The system uses a patent-pending technology that combines Wild Goose Evolution Series’s fast-filling technology with the versatility of pressurised filling.
“Instead of building a counter pressure system using old technology, we decided to bring some serious innovation to this segment. We applied advanced digital fluid dynamics modelling techniques to engineer a revolutionary filling system,” says president Aaron Gomolak.
The canning system operates a subsurface filling method with variable line restriction technology and multi-stage flow rates, that work together to provide consistent volume and foam cap for repeatable fills at fast cycle times.
The process is combined with the counter-pressure fill technology to mitigate pressure differentials during the filling phases and ensure the product is not exposed to sudden changes in pressure.
Other benefits of the technology include enhanced control of flow and pressure in each individual can, as well as oxygen and carbon dioxide levels regardless of product and external conditions.
“Many craft beverage facilities can’t easily regulate elevated product pressures or temperatures. If product pressure changes, for instance, the system adapts, controlling product breakout and preserving fill volume.”
The canning line is also adaptable to a range of can heights, body or end diameters, with can volumes up to 19.2 oz (545ml), in both standard and sleek formats.
Gomolak says that the product development started with the brewer in mind: “All the time we see customers who may be packaging beer this week and hard seltzers the next and ready-to-drink cocktails the week after that. Others are looking to can carbonated wine, kombucha, soda, cannabis drinks, cider, coffee, or juice and more.”
Acquired by The Middleby Corporation in the end of last year, Wild Goose Filling became a favourite amongst craft breweries due to its advanced canning process with minimal installation, set up and training costs.
The company, which started as Wild Goose Canning, was founded when mechanical engineer Jeff Aldred and chemist Alexis Foreman got together to help neighbouring Upslope Brewing with a faulty canning system. The founders realised that not only could they fix the system, but they could also build a better one.
From its manufacturing facility in Louisville, Colorado, the equipment supplier has patented developments that have helped make in-house canning a viable option for small breweries and other craft beverage producers, including seaming innovations, solutions to minimise dissolved oxygen and affordable mobile canning systems.
With more than 2,600 canning and bottling systems installed in 65 countries, its growing list of clients include brands from all over the globe, such as North American Mudhen Brewing Company, Orpheus Brewing and Humboldt Cider Company; Lithuanian Genys Brewing Co; Greek Seven Island Brewery and Chios Beer; and Belgian Misery Beer Co.
Another key change to the counter pressure system’s design is that it does not require a pressure bowl or drum, which is commonly found on conventional machines.
“When counter pressure became widely available for canning during the 1950s, it required a pressure bowl. This is no longer the case,” says Gomolak. “The Fusion controls fluid dynamics through powerful software and, essentially, makes the can itself the pressure bowl. The result is a canning machine that is lighter weight, maintains packaged quality, and delivers fast fill cycles and low dissolved oxygen.”
User experience also played an important part in the system’s design. For a more intuitive experience, the system boasts a digital touch screen and high-resolution display. Future software upgrades and new features can be remotely added to a customer’s existing system over the internet, providing immediate access.