Top 10 Canning Machine Questions for Coffee

What is the right size canning system for my coffee products?

Determining the right canning system for your operation depends on the volume of product you’re looking to package in a shift, or 8 hours. Know that our smallest system, the Mancos, packages 1.5 barrels of product an hour, or 46.5 gallons. With our bigger systems that either package 20-30 cans/minute or even 35-45 cans/minute and beyond, you’re looking at setups that can package 3 to 6 plus barrels per hour, or 93 to 186 plus gallons. It’s important to also account for 1-1.5 hours needed in your canning process for setup and cleanup.

 

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

Some canning lines can be expanded later to have greater output. It is called field expansion and can be applied to both our Roaring Fork canning system and our Cimarron canning system.

 

If your canning line is not capable of field expansion, you will either need to add a second canning line or sell yours and replace it with a new one. Know there is a good used canning line market out there and we have seen customers receive 75-80% return on their used systems.

 

What should I look for in a canning system for coffee?

  • 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 coffee you want a machine that is doing everything possible to minimize the amount of oxygen that gets in to the cans during the canning process.
  • For a commonly “still” product or non-carbonated product like coffee, it will be essential that you are able to liquid nitrogen dose your product in the cans before the lid is placed on the can. Dosing a non-carbonated product with liquid nitrogen both helps to minimize the dissolved oxygen that could be present at the top of the fill in the can, and helps to add pressure to the can to make it a more stable packaged good.
  • 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 everything that you will need on packaging day (empty can pallets, finished can pallets, lids, dtrays, six/four pack holders)

 

What should I look for in a canning machine manufacturer?

Customers have told us how helpful we are because Twin Monkeys thoroughly knows the canning business. Manufacturers should understand the entire process of packaging coffee into cans and be able to help you become a better canner. They need to understand:

  • The differences you may have in your operation versus those in other operations
  • How to help you maintain the highest levels of quality for your product

Regardless of who you choose to buy from, we recommend asking real users of different canning systems and see how the operating and service experience has been with their canning system and system manufacturer.

 

I have 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 system 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 towards the can, the compressibility of the air inside 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 high-leverage wedge technology (like Twin Monkeys does). Check out our YouTube channel for the latest videos!

 

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

There are two differences. The electricity requirements change from country to country but when it comes to 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?

Having a great looking can for consumers is a must and you probably already have your design done. However, you are now left with the 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. Many people are also interested in whether the can is able to be recycled or not. Currently, labeled cans are not because of the adhesive. Painted cans are able to be, and there are some shrink-sleeve vendors who an do a perforated design so that it can be removed and recycled. Ask us how!

 

How do I clean a Twin Monkeys canning system?

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

Next you need to clean out the lines. We deem caustic (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) to be very harsh and our canning lines are comprised of a lot of different materials that could be worn down by such chemicals. Instead of caustic products we recommend that you use softer cleaners (PBW, Cell-R-Master, draft line cleaner, others as approved) and run the cleaner through the system with chemical manufacturer recommended times and temperatures, including soak times. Note that if you do this while the fill tube(s) are immersed in tall cans (like 16oz cans), the inside and 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 after 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 pneumatic cylinder slides, and storing it clean.

 

Are there options to finance and canning system?

Yes! We suggest you 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 financing.

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 canning line?

In addition to your canning machine:

  • Buy a good industrial-strength air compressor, not something from the local auto parts store. Make sure you have installed an air compressor dehydrator as well so moisture doesn’t go in to the canning system’s pneumatic cylinders.
  • Be sure someone on your team has a strong understanding of electro-mechanical equipment, or you have someone local to you that can assist with this know how.