Fillin’ cans with the Can Van

I got to spend an awesome friday morning helping out on the canning line of the Can Van. Seeing the canning process up close and personal really gives you appreciation for the logistical nightmare they’re trying to solve.

For those that are not familiar with the Can Van, they provide a mobile canning line for small breweries and brewpubs who might not have the capital or space to install a dedicated line. When installing a canning line, breweries not only have to worry about the canning line itself but also the truck loads of cans needed. Companies like Ball only sell cans in volume, and storing a years worth of cans isn’t feasible for most breweries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Can Van solves this issue by buying blank cans in bulk and applying a wrap around label to the cans inline. Their canning line is partitioned into enough pieces to fit through any door way and can be parked next to a brite tank.

The Process

The process for canning starts with taking blank cans off pallet and sanitizing the with StarSan.

Cans are then placed on a conveyer belt which leads the to a head that flushes them with CO2 and then a head that fills them. Cans are flushed and filled in sets of four.

Lids are placed on top and then enter a seamer one at a time.

Next cans were washed and checked for low fills. I always assumed a scale was used for checking for low fills but the simplest solution of seeing how the cans floated was the preferred method.

Cans were hand dried and labels applied.

Cans were packaged into cases and placed on pallets.

I was really impressed by the Can Van’s quality control. All the cans were checked at each step. Samples were continually taken and will be checked is one month for shelve life. Cans were cut up to the monitor seaming.

It was great to see the analytical approach to quality control and future additions to the system. I look forward to seeing the system in the coming years to see how it changes!