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Beverage cans washing machine

Beverage cans washing machine

IN Aluminium packaging
Investor Name:
Published Date:
1 January 1970
About Project

The washing machine for aluminum cans is designed to clean and prepare the container before its internal and external painting. Made of stainless steel, it features different cleaning stages, rinsing and drying in sequence, and it can wash up to 3400 pieces per minute. The washing tanks are equipped with heating systems controlled by electronic components and thermoregulation valves, in order to keep the necessary temperatures for the chemical activity of the baths

The cans are carried by a continuous conveyor, the washing machine is equipped with a dedicated system to reduce the contamination of the baths due to the drag-out, in order to extend the pot-life of the baths, reducing the consumption of water and chemicals. A vacuum transfer takes the pieces to the drying oven where the process of their surface preparation is completed, before it is painted and then filled with the drinks.




The company is an industry leader in the production of aluminium beverage cans. It is headquartered in Iran and it supplies energy drink and soft drink producers in a large market of Southeast Asia. It produces them in high volume and uses a competitive cost leadership strategy, focused on standard 200-220 and 330 ml cans.


Consumption of fruit-based drinks and beverages has shown a positive trend in recent years. This value is linked to average high temperatures, especially in those areas of the world characterised by periods of humid and muggy weather or dry and semi-desert climates, not considering the increase in consumption linked to the effects of climate change.

Though drinking is a basic human need, thirst alone is not enough to explain the increasing popularity of this type of drinks. There are also other needs which depend on social relationships, on the attractive presentation of the products and on “self” needs, including the search for well-being, health, appreciation, etc. This has led to higher consumption of gratifying and multi-flavoured sugary carbonated drinks, but also light drinks, produced in more and more pleasant and attractive packaging.

The expanding market size and the increasing amount of per capita consumption of pieces, no longer limited to only the hottest months of the year, has resulted in a very positive trend for this company, but this success has also made it necessary to review the production scheduling and strategies.


Thanks to the increase in demand for soft drinks, the client was able to take advantage of the favourable market conditions and expand its customer base. As the number of orders constantly increased, it was forced to outsource the production capacity of its core business, thus reducing profits and jeopardising the competitive advantage gained through the years. Therefore, it decided to purchase new high-speed machinery for the production of beverage cans, having assessed its economic convenience, with the aim of doubling up its production capacity. It contracted IMF ENGINEERING to design and install a high-volume industrial washing machine for aluminium cans, with the requirement that it had to match the expected target of its fastest line at up to 3,400 pieces per minute.

The client – demanding and well informed – was not satisfied with the previous supplier which had provided an inadequate machine, also not energy efficient, and offered poor quality services; therefore, it turned to IMF ENGINEERING for this specific project.

IMF ENGINEERING has, in fact, great expertise in the washing of aluminium and steel cylindrical packaging, expertise gained over the years and driven by the company’s strong orientation towards innovation. For this project, the design phase was managed by a team with a set of transversal skills developed specifically in the automotive sector and with the knowledge of chemical products gained through long-term work relationships with specialised manufacturers.


The main problems faced were mainly related to the correct assessment of the different processing phases, the machine’s mechanical reliability over time due to heavy wear (high volumes), sustainability (low water and energy consumption) and the measures taken to reduce waste and guarantee good profits.

The delivery times were very tight as it was necessary to allow the customer to recover the loss of profit sustained during the temporary suspension of its business and not to lose its position in the market. The request was to design, build and install the washing machine in just 6 months, remaining within the chosen budget, therefore at a competitive price with regard to the client’s needs. IMF ENGINEERING was able to satisfy all requirements!

The constant dialogue with the client allowed the technicians of IMF ENGINEERING to personalise the machine’s software according to the client’s needs in order to guarantee that all the different operators who have access to the machine during their intense work shifts are able to operate it through a familiar interface. We also took into consideration accessibility issues in scheduled maintenance, designing ergonomic inspection hatches of an adequate size and located in a convenient position. The machine was designed to be completely accessible for the ordinary maintenance of all its parts through the creation of a front platform running through its entire length. In addition, the design of the washing machine took into consideration the need of periodically cleaning the nozzles, thus having ramps which could be easily disassembled.


We successfully achieved a very high estimated efficiency value with 95% of the cans perfectly washed. The difference from 100% is expected, the pieces are identified in an early processing phase and, being made of aluminium, completely recycled with the perfect sustainability of the raw materials.

Thanks to the new fully operational production line, the client was able to successfully manage a volume of 4.6 million cans per day.

The washing machine designed by IMF ENGINEERING complies with all the requirements of industry 4.0: after sales assistance, in the case of issues arisen from a change of format by the operator, is provided remotely but it is however rare as it is not a standard procedure for this client.





It is a medium-sized company which produces craft beer. It is headquartered in the USA and supplies several local niche companies; noting though that, in a market as vast as the USA, a “niche” still means a large business volume. The company, in fact, produces about 1.2 million cans per day for several of its customers, with a generally growing trend in quantity throughout the year.


The craft beer boom is due to the new consumption habits of consumers, to the rise of a more sophisticated demand for farming products and to the growing interconnection between the markets (Italy, where IMF ENGINEERING is headquartered, is a growing exporter). The size of the craft beer market in the USA is small but constantly growing, with a double-digit increase in the number of craft breweries per million people and with a very positive economic impact.

An increasing number of brewers are now producing their own beer, or have joined a consortium to produce their own containers and be able to customise and fill them directly in order to respond to the market demands in a quicker and more effective way. Every company tries to offer a unique product in its industrial sector, taking into account some variables deemed important by the end consumer, such as the premises where the beverage will be distributed, microbreweries or specialised distributors. A company with such objectives must also take costs into consideration. Breweries which produce a unique product or have limited volumes need to have costs equal or at least similar to those of the competitors.


The decision of buying equipment for beer production and filling is of course mainly economic. The request made to IMF ENGINEERING was to design a machine which could wash cans and prepare them to be filled with beer. The client requested in particular thorough and complete service and technological support, as it didn’t have any industrial experience in the production of cylindrical aluminium packaging.

The company had not had previous negative experiences with other suppliers, but the good reputation of IMF ENGINEERING on the market offered the client the guarantees needed for its repositioning on the market, looking for new profitability areas and proximity to customer needs (pubs and end consumers).

IMF ENGINEERING has, in fact, great expertise in the washing of aluminium and steel cylindrical packaging, expertise gained over the years and driven by the company’s strong orientation towards innovation. For this project, the design phase was managed by a team with a set of transversal skills developed specifically in the automotive sector and with the knowledge of chemical products gained through long-term work relationships with specialised manufacturers.


IMF ENGINEERING’s solution was to create a washing machine to be inserted in a production line with reduced production capacity but flexible, 600-800 pieces per minute, to meet the client’s requests for the annual volume, normally stable but with some occasional peaks in the production flow.

It then proceeded to analysing and preparing the work area, that is, the layout of the brewery, assessing the spatial needs and issues and how the new machine would interact with the other machines in the production line.

After discussing and agreeing on the terms with the client, IMF ENGINEERING decided to opt for a compact design and paid particular attention to its ergonomics, with the aim of avoiding the risk that its reduced dimensions could endanger the safety of the operators or make its maintenance difficult. It then proceeded to organise an intense training program to teach employees how to operate the machine confidently and solve any daily problems such as variations in the format of the cans (quite variable, as variable and innovative is the world of craft beer).

During the design stage, the issue of scheduled maintenance was also addressed in order to facilitate repair works and prevent the wear and tear of the most delicate components, as well as update the production process management software which is particularly important for its flexibility.


The washing machine perfectly satisfied all requirements.

We took into consideration downtime related to different orders and different can sizes, as well as market trends and how consumer tastes vary.

The management software was particularly refined with the option of remote update in compliance with the principles of industry 4.0 and with a particularly user-friendly interface to allow multitasking.

Considering the client’s medium production capacity, we agreed on periodic maintenance checks at a medium-low frequency, but allowing flexibility in the event of an increase in volumes of more than 20% based on the annual average.

The client evaluated the results positively, very pleased to have implemented a sustainable basic strategy: the company was in fact able to raise its technological and quality standards to a level that it would make it difficult for the competitors to imitate its strategy. Normally this can only be achieved with targeted investments, as targeted was the design and creation of IMF ENGINEERING.