Clip-lock labelling

with the highest precision

Located in the hilly mountains of the Allgäu alps is Speiden with its famous pilgrimage church Maria-Hilf. Right next to it, a historic restaurant with a neighboring brewery built in the 19th century takes care of nutritious meals for hikers and visitors. Since 1992 the Kössel family manages the brewery which was shut down some time before. Meanwhile each year, they brew 5,000 hectoliters of ever-changing types of beer. About ten years later they also purchased the related restaurant. The close relationship to the pilgrimage is not only reflected in Kössel Bräu’s logo but also in its bottle labels. On most of them one can see the Maria-Hilf church as a unique trademark.

Wet glue labelling as the standardized gluing systems in the brewing industry

Variety is the spice of life, and in keeping with this adage, the Speiden family business constantly explores and develops new flavors and beer styles. Half of their 16 different beer types are available seasonally, much like the famous green hops beer brewed during harvesting.

One distinguishing feature of Kössel Bräu bottles is the swing-top bottles. Available in 0,33l and 0,5l, each different bottle size dons individually designed clip-locks and front labels. To precisely place the labels on the bottle, Kössel Bräu relies on a brand-new GERNEP Labetta 4/3/8 480 1A.

 Equipped with a modern wet glue labelling unit, it pays special attention to the mechanical orientation of the clip-lock bottles.  

The current swing-top bottles only receive one to two labels on the front side, but this machine will probably evolve and one day label the backside of the bottles as well. As the customer's requirement included flexibility in construction, which would permit future expansion, the Labetta was prepared to mechanically and electronically receive another aggregate easily.

Swing-top bottles require a certain degree of technical enhancements for the label to be precisely centered in the middle of the swing-top. Mechanical orientation is managed by spinning the bottle on the bottle plate as it travels through the infeed starwheel and the center guide aids the label application. Careful brushing of the label for perfect adhesion is performed inside the machine as well as at a separate brushing station at the discharge. "We have purposely decided for mechanical orientation as the advantages of this system were a clear advantage," says Anton Kössel, owner of the brewer. 

One advantage to this system is easy to access for simple maintenance. GERNEP has most spare parts in stock so that, if needed, downtimes are drastically reduced. Ultimately, mechanical clip-lock orientation has a much longer life span than camera-based orientation.   

To handle rising customer demands, GERNEP continuously develops its machines. And this is why the Labetta has been updated with a new glue pump system. In use for just over one and a half years, and features several innovations like a digital temperature display and easier handling. Kössel Bräu also demanded a safety glass instead of the usual plexiglass. It was important for the brewer that the machines be more appealing given the frequent visitor tours. Safety glass tends to remain clear for longer periods when using strong cleaners.

Two decades of optimal service

Operating the first machine with much success, and building on their relationship of trust with GERNEP, the brewers finally ordered a second Labetta in 1998. Kössel Bräu had no worries with disposal of the old machine because it was picked up and transported to the GERNEP production site in Barbing where it was overhauled and sold as a second-hand machine. 

Kössel Bräu and GERNEP have forged a relationship based on cooperation. The brewer relies exclusively on GERNEP because of the reliability and expertise with which the technical service addresses any issue. "GERNEP's service has always been highly professional and satisfactory. All kinds of concerns are quickly and competently handled. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic and its difficulties, we could rely on GERNEP 100%," says Philipp Kössel, master brewer and technical director. 

The brewers were especially satisfied with the labelling machine manufacturer's flexibility as any changes were perfectly implemented - even after the initial operation. As one example, changing the sponges in the discharge star guaranteed an even more precise label positioning. The added advantage of this change is significant because it permitted easier handling and perfect labelling.

For GERNEP, the objective is to not only "deliver" a labelling machine but to offer optimal after-sales service. High inhouse-production and warehousing of standard spare parts result in fast delivery time. GERNEP's customers can profit from readily available components which are essential to optimize reactivity and minimize downtimes. Due to its international network of service experts, responses have been optimal even during the pandemic.

Both partners look ahead positively

Since 1992 Kössel Bräu has experienced significant growth. In 2009 they relocated their filling plant to expand operations, and they modernized their fermenting cellar only five years later.

Another milestone for the family was the new brewery which went into operation in 2016. With its modernized filling plant and new GERNEP labelling machine, Kössel Bräu is a state-of-the-art brewery. 

Projects like these are special to GERNEP's managing director Martin Hammerschmid: "It is great to serve customers for more than twenty years. To see small, family-owned companies grow over the years and to regularly equip them with new machines makes me really happy." Both partners look ahead positively and are looking forward to many more years of good cooperation. 

Kössel-Bräu v