The challenge to be won

MBF SpA’s challenge at LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards was to build a bottling line inside a newly-constructed production facility. With this Superbloc®, MBF has designed a cutting-edge plant within each individual component. The line features the highest levels of technology, flexibility, reduced size and high environmental compatibility.

In Acampo, California, just outside of Lodi, lies LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards. This historic winery has been run by five generations of the Lange family, who has deep agricultural ties in the area for over a century. Since 1916, when the first vineyards were acquired, the production area has greatly expanded. Today, their vineyards extend across four northern California winegrowing regions: San Joaquin, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo and grow 21 different varietals.

In 2006, brothers Brad and Randall Lange, with the involvement of their families, decided to open a winery to produce LangeTwins brand wines, as well as provide custom winemaking and bottling services to their customers. In 2013, the company expanded and reorganized the entire production structure, creating a complete bottling line and brand new plant to concentrate the various company departments.

The objectives

  • To install the most advanced bottling line for their wines.
  • To offer existing and potential customers the most complete services possible, ensuring delivery of a finished product.

The request

The request was for a complete wine bottling line with a production capacity of 200 bpm. The line needed to be equipped with the most modern technologies available, to ensure maximum processing flexibility and the ability to adapt to future additions.

MBF SpA, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of custom-made bottling systems, was chosen as the partner to meet this challenge. MBF SpA was not only the General Contractors for the entire bottling line, but were also an active partner in the development of the architectural, plant engineering and infrastructural design of the new facility.

Antonio Bertolaso, MBF President, details below how being involved with the project from its inception, allowed MBF to have the opportunity to integrate many innovative concepts.

Lange Twins was trying to create their first bottling line and they completely embraced our philosophy. They gave us the budget to “manage” so that we could make the best use of it to achieve the stated objectives. This was a sign of total trust and confidence in our abilities and allowed us to work in full synergy with the customer. With the LangeTwins project, no detail was left to chance. From project engineering to positioning, studying the utilities to plant design, and aesthetics of the line to its preparation for future developments, every aspect of the system and the building were taken care of by MBF in detail. This ensured that the bottling process and its investment were truly optimized and organized”.

IMG_22Superbloc® and the bottling line

The heart of the bottling line for LangeTwins is the highly-customized Superbloc®. The Superbloc® offers high-efficiency, total operating flexibility, and integrates the rinser, filler, straight corker, screw capper, capsuler and labeller into one machine. The extremely compact and functional design significantly reduces the space needed to position it. It also means that the entire line can be managed by just four operators. The main control functions for the line are combined in a single operator interface area.

The whole system, the heart of which is the Superbloc®, is a unique concentration of technology where everything, from the washing cycles to the production control during filling, is fully automated and traceable. The line also offers a completely flexible bottle format, cap and label change”, added Antonio Bertolaso to describe the key points of the bottling line.

Main features

  • Compact machine: the operators have every machine component under visual control in a single interface area. This includes close-up areas and input of raw material flows, material storage (pallets, corks, capsules, labels, etc.).
  • Complete automated product management: from the customer’s storage tank to the bottle, every step is completely automated. This also includes washing systems for the entire system, from the customer’s tank to the filler.
  • Rapid format change times, tool less, more intuitive.
  • Management of three different types of corks.
  • Bottle traceability from the first rinsing station to the labelling station.
  • Automatic bottle refill not capped and not labelled.
  • No connection belts required between machines that are positioned side by side.
  • Management of three different types of screw caps (Stelvin, Lux & Wak)

Bottling line general layout

The line was configured in the most efficient way, so that the offices, production area and raw material storage area are all adjacent and nearby. The bottling line is divided into a wet part and packaging.  Design support for utilities, from compressed air distribution, compressor, air treatment and nitrogen gas production, were set up to maximize the line efficiency.

Traceability, quality control, recovery and reintegration of bottles

Complete tracing at every processing phase allows the bottles to be followed throughout the bottling cycle, ensuring constant control and maximum quality. The Superbloc® offers the most advanced and complete quality control system through the support of cameras. All controls ensure a significant reduction of errors and allow different intervention options for the recovery of the raw material (wine), or for the reintegration of the bottles at various points on the production line.

“Such an integrated system among machines and quality controls has never been done before. The dialogue between Superbloc® and the bottles is continuous and ensures maximum performance and reliability of production”, concludes Bertolaso.

 

Sustainability: save energy and save water
The sustainability code of LangeTwins begins from grape cultivation. This commitment is expressed in the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing certification, a protocol that defines the principles of sustainable viticulture through large and small practices towards sustainability. It includes the use of renewable energy and recycled paper for the company’s communications, preservation of habitat for wild animals found in the vineyards and the safeguarding of soil from pesticides and other substances. Also of great importance to LangeTwins is the ability to consciously manage their water resources. “To minimize consumption and environmental impact was another goal of the new line. Considerable amounts of water can be wasted in the bottling process, as sometimes, exceedingly high quantities of water are used. On the basis of this philosophy, we designed the Superbloc® and CIP washing systems to significantly reduce times and the flowrate of water required to wash bottles and the system. Compared to a traditional line, the MBF system developed with Acram saves a considerable amount of liters of water per day, which is then partly reused on certain production processes” confirms Antonio Bertolaso.

The “L” layout

The specific “L” layout of the Superbloc® at Lange Twins was designed to:

  • Group all of the most important machines in a single limited area.
  • Maximize the ability to use the line, even only partially, for the reintegration of bottles or for semi-finished products.
  • Distinguish the project with the “L” of the LangeTwins logo.

The choice of the “L” layout also ensures additional technical benefits, such as energy savings and maximum flexibility for use of the system, as well as the option to use the line for bottle reintegration or for semi-processing certain bottles (e.g. those requiring bottle ageing).

Finally, plant engineering was also completely redesigned and the control and command area for the entire line was centralized. The overhead wireway system are grouped into three groups that divide the line into three sections. This is provided a clean layout for wires and reduced the time spent during the electrical installation.

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