Beer Canning Machines – Top 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy


Answers to the 10 most popular questions asked by breweries from around the world!

The craft beer industry is stronger than ever and with it comes more demand for automated beer canning machines. Breweries from around the world are canning beer in aluminum cans using beer canning lines that deliver an efficient canning process trying to produce a quality beer with minimal waste and a long shelf life.

Twin Monkeys talks with breweries from around the world every day and we hear the same questions. We thought it would be helpful if we answered the most common ones here. Are we missing any? Contact us and ask us your canning questions. Of course, we can more than beer and can answer your questions about canning other beverages too.

Top 10 Beer Can Machine Questions


What is the right size of canning line for my brewery

Before buying any beer canning equipment, you need to decide how much beer you are going to can.

Start by asking yourself how many barrels of beer are you going to put into cans on any given work day.  Once you know how many barrels you want to can in a day, the rest is math.

You can generally count on a 20 can per minute (CPM) beer canning machine to fill and seam 3 barrels per hour (bbl/hr). A 40 CPM canning machine will fill 6 bbl/hr and an 80 CPM machine will hit 12 bbl/hr.

Add 1-2 hours for the combination of setup and cleanup time but it will vary for each brewery.

Let’s say you want to can 15 barrels in a day. With a 20 CPM beer canning line you’ll be canning for a little less than 5 hours.  Include setup and cleanup time (1-1.5 hours total) and you can still accomplish it all in a shift.

Keep in mind that most brewers only package part of a batch and the rest goes to draft.

What if I outgrow my beer canning line and need a faster one?

Some canning lines can be expanded later to have greater output.  It’s called field expansion. Twin Monkeys Roaring Fork canning line can double from 35/40 CPM to 75/80 CPM.

If your canning line isn’t capable of field expansion, you will either need to add a second canning line or sell yours and replace it with a new one. There is a good used canner market and it is very hot.  Check with your manufacturer if they will allow a trade-in or if they can find a pool of buyers for your current canning line. Twin Monkeys does help our customers find buyers for their Twin Monkeys or other competitor canning li

What should I look for in a beer canning machine?

– You want a system that is solidly built and easy to work on. You want to minimize downtime due to breakdowns or maintenance.

– For canning beer you want a machine that is doing everything possible to minimize the amount of oxygen that gets into the cans during the canning process.

– The seamer matters; the best seamers produce fast, even, tight seams and do not need regular adjustments as they age/wear.

– You want a machine that can diagnose problems as they occur and communicate the problem to the canner operator.

– Pay attention to the footprint of the machine and of everything that you will need on packaging day (empty cans pallet, finished cans pallet, lids, trays, six/four pack holders, “good” music, etc.).

Finally, it helps if it has purple highlights. It’s a sign of quality, performance, and the epitome of awesome. Be sure to compare our canning machines.

What should I look for in a beer canning machine manufacturer?

Customers have told us how helpful we are because Twin Monkeys knows the brewing business.

Manufacturers should understand the entire process of packaging beer into cans and be able to help you become a better canner. They need to understand:

– The differences you may have in your brewery from another brewery.

– How to help you maintain the highest levels of quality for your product.

– How to minimize your stress and maximize your production.

Regardless of who you chose to buy from, ask around to see if people are happy with their equipment and the service provided by them. Maybe you know one of our customers.

I’ve heard a canning seamer should not be pneumatic. What does that mean?

The word pneumatic refers to the use of compressed air to power something.

Using pneumatics is a great way for a canning line to get its work done. However, there are situations where using a pneumatic cylinder can be problematic, especially in the seaming process.

When a cylinder pushes a seaming wheel in toward the can, the compressibility of the air inside the cylinder makes it hard to stay perfectly in position and the can may bounce a little during the seam. This means it may be difficult to get an even seam and is why most seaming wheels are locked into place using cams or a high-leverage wedge technology (like Twin Monkeys does). Check out our canning seamer video.

What is the difference between beer canning machines made for the USA and machines made for other countries?

There are two difference. The electricity requirements change from country to country but when it comes to any manufacturing, so do the safety systems.  It’s important for both you and your equipment manufacturer to understand country-specific requirements.

For example, the European Union requires equipment to be CE-marked. CE markings mean a certain level of safety is present in the design and the equipment won’t interfere with other equipment when it comes to electrical noise, among other things.

Should I be using printed cans or labels?

Custom Can labelsHave a great looking can for consumers is a must and you probably already have your design done. However,  you are now left with decision of whether to use printed cans or labels. The direction you choose may be dictated by the number of cans you are filling in a period of time, the amount of space you have to store pallets and your working capital.

Twin Monkeys can help you make decisions regarding your custom can options.

How do I clean the machine?

To Clean In Place (CIP) a beer canning line after use, start by rinsing out the beverage lines with water and then rinse down the machine to remove the sticky beer residue from all the coated surfaces.

Next you need to clean out the lines. Because caustic (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) is very harsh and canning lines are comprised of lots of different materials, we ask you to avoid using caustic.  Instead, we recommend that you hook up to the beverage lines an effective cleaner that is gentler than caustic (PBW, Cell-R-Master, draft line cleaner, others as approved) and run the cleaner through the lines with chemical manufacturer recommended times and temperatures, including soak times.  Note that If you do this while the fill tubes are immersed in tall cans (like 16 oz cans), the inside AND the outside of the fill tubes will get cleaned.

A foaming cleaner works well on the rest of the machine to get into cracks and crevices.  Rinse behind the foam and the beverage line CIP process.  Sanitizing would be similar using SIP instead of CIP for the beverage lines.

Finish by wiping down the machine, putting a light lube on the pneumatic cylinder slides, and storing it clean and shiny.

This is a big capital expenditure. Are there options to finance the equipment?

Start with your banker. They may be able to offer you an equipment loan at a good interest rate. It may be hard to qualify or take a while to get the money.

If you are wanting to move fast, there are equipment leasing companies that are very easy to qualify for and very fast at approving leases.  Twin Monkeys can help with either and has a list of financing partners to share with anyone who is interested.

What else do we need for a successful beer canning line?

In addition to your beer canning machine…

– Buy a good air compressor, not something from the local auto parts store.  Make sure you have installed an air compressor dehydrator so moisture doesn’t go into the canning lines.

– Be sure someone on your team has a strong understanding of electro-mechanical equipment.  Your canning line operator should be someone who understands equipment and beer. Don’t just hire the bartender’s cousin who is passionate about beer and wants a way into the brewery.

– Operate your beer canning line in a cool canning and storage environment. Make certain your beer can is cold when it’s packaged (40° F isn’t cold, 33° is). Carbonation stays in suspension better with high pressures and with low temperatures.