Myanmar’s second-largest brewery, the Dagon Beverages Company, has identified a rising level of demand, centred around the can. From 2015 to 2016 alone, its share of total production output rose from 45 to 60 per cent.

Cans are conquering the market

Myanmar’s second-largest brewery, the Dagon Beverages Company, has identified a rising level of demand, centred around the can. From 2015 to 2016 alone, its share of total production output rose from 45 to 60 per cent.

Dagon had to come up with a rapid response to this trend, and put in place the requisite filling capacities. And this is how the brewery went about it:

  • When it was founded back in 1998, Dagon had already installed not only a kegging line, but also a Krones combined line for glass containers and cans, rated at 18,000 containers per hour.
  • In 2012, Dagon divided up this combined line: the glass line stayed where it was. Can filler, seamer and depalletiser were combined in a different hall with Chinese kit for pasteurising and packing. At this time, the EU’s trade embargo for Myanmar was in force, so that Dagon was unable to purchase any technology from Europe.
  • After the embargo had been lifted, in 2015 Dagon installed a new complete glass bottling line from Krones rated at 28,000 bottles per hour. That meant the brewery had sufficient capacities for glass containers, so that the old line became obsolete.
  • This is why in 2016 Dagon asked Krones to convert this old line back into a combined line for glass containers and cans.

Combined line for glass containers and cans

The new line handles 24,000 cans per hour and runs at a very high efficiency of 98 per cent. It contains the following machines:

  • Smartpac unpacker
  • Pressant Universal sweep-off depalletiser for bulk containers
  • Cantronic empty-can inspector
  • Volumetic VMS-C can filler
  • Can seamer
  • Checkmat system for fill level inspection
  • Variocart carton erector
  • Variocol carton sealer
  • Smartpac packer.

This was a very good investment

Brewmaster CF Chan explains:

The new line primarily handles cans, for filling glass containers, it is being used only as a stand-by. “This was a very good investment. The installation work had been completed before the peak season in July 2016 – and since then our new line has been running round the clock.

To enable the existing Krones canning line to be utilised more efficiently as well, Dagon also asked Krones to upgrade its filler and seamer: from the 206-type lid to the modern-day 202-type design.

Assistant General Manager for Production, Thiha Myat Lwin says:

This change-over saves us about 25 per cent of the costs involved, because, of course, the lid is the heaviest part of a can.

Now that these measures have been completed, Dagon possesses annual filling capacities of

  • 720,000 hectolitres in cans,
  • one million hectolitres in bottles
  • and 250,000 hectolitres in kegs

That suffices for the time being. The bottleneck in the production operation is now the cold blocks and the brewhouse, with an annual output of 850,000 hectolitres.

For both its new lines, the combined line and the canning line, Dagon once again opted for Krones. When asked about the reasons, CF Chan didn’t have to think twice:

We appreciate Krones’ reliability and, of course, the excellent filling technology. In terms of the price, too, Krones wasn’t all that far away from its competitors. Since we’ve been working with Krones kit for many years now, we were familiar with the technology, and very satisfied with the spare parts supply capabilities as well. But the most important reason as far as we’re concerned was that it was ‘Made in Germany’, which has always given us excellent service in terms of leading-edge technology, superb craftsmanship and streamlined layouts. With this technology, we can quite simply sleep easier at night.

For consumables, too, he unreservedly trusts the German seal of quality: KIC Krones supplies the appropriate lubricants for all machines.

The future lies in the middle-class segment

CF Chan, who qualified as a brewmaster at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in England, has been responsible for beer production at Dagon since 2006. What does he see as the greatest challenge when you’re brewing beer in Myanmar?

In the years of the EU’s embargo, we pretty much had to rely on ourselves for everything. But this made us inventive. We often had to find solutions using only the very simplest of means so that we could keep our production up and running. Now, fortunately, we are able to get European support again.

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