The Equipment Divisions of ITS – Metal Packaging

ITS Equipment Divisions

International Thermal Systems (ITS) is an industrial oven, furnace and washer manufacturer located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. ITS has manufacturing facilities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Shanghai, China. Our equipment is shipped globally to companies of every size and in a variety of industries. This post will focus on our Metal Packaging division. The Metal Packaging Division serves the food and beverage can making industries by offering can washers, pin ovens, Internal Bake Ovens (IBO’s), wicket ovens and more.

Our equipment is a key part of the can manufacturing process and is used to prepare aluminum and steel cans for the final phase of manufacturing. ITS has served the industry for over 50 years and continues to improve and innovate our equipment to increase production and reduce costs. Can making lines may run 24 hour shifts so it is vital that the equipment runs efficiently without interruption.

Due to multiple trends and the pandemic, the current demand for aluminum cans has exceeded the supply. The shortage can be attributed to a few factors including the rise in popularity of hard seltzers and the mainstreaming of craft brews. According to Nielsen, total hard seltzer sales for the 52-week period ended June 13, 2020 were $2.7 billion, and dollar share of total beer/FMB/cider over 10% for four consecutive weeks prior. Seltzers were once considered a seasonal drink option, but have proven to be a year round choice for many. Craft brews have experienced new popularity across the country as consumers seek to find locally made products. Craft breweries have been successful in gaining shelf space in grocery stores and now offer their brews packaged in cans, which is also new demand for the industry.

Soft drinks and waters have seen tremendous growth too, with the packaging shifting towards cans and away from single-use plastics. The popularity of aluminum cans is also increasing as consumers opt for sustainable and recyclable products, and an average aluminum can that is used for beverage packaging contains 70 percent recycled aluminum.

When the pandemic began in March, in-home consumption increased and the demand for cans increased again. The supply could not meet the new demand and can manufacturers looked globally for cans and small breweries struggled as the large companies were able to secure remaining available inventories. According to Can Manufacturers Institute, can makers are expected to import more than 2 billion cans in 2020 from their overseas facilities to meet customer needs and can manufacturers overall expect to have to add the capacity to produce 12 billion more cans by the end of 2021.

With the increase in demand for cans, ITS is working closely with all of our customers to build equipment to expand their manufacturing capacity. We are currently building pin ovens, can washers and IBO’s that will be shipped globally in 2020 and 2021.

Below is a beginners guide to making a two-piece can and a quick description of the equipment that ITS manufactures and how it fits into the can making process.

 

Making A Two-Piece Can
Cup Blanking and Drawing Press punches out hundreds of cups per minute from huge coils of aluminum or steel.

Ironing and Doming Cup is forced through a series of rings to iron out cans to full length and form bottom dome.

Trimming Cans are spun as cutting tool trims to length.


Cleaning Washer cycles hundred of cans per minute through multiple cleaning stations.

Printing and Varnishing At printing station, cans are rolled against cylinder to print up to four colors simultaneously.

Bottom Varnishing Cans are conveyed past applicator that varnishes bottom.


Baking Cans wind through conveying system in oven to dry and set lithography.

Inside Spraying A protective specially compounded coating is applied to inside of cans.

Baking Trip through funnel oven bakes and cures inside coating.


Necking In Can necks are reduced at top to fit the designated end size.

Flanging and Testing Can rims are flanged for future double seaming of ends. Then, each can is mechanically tested for leakage. Finally, cans are automatically stacked in cartons or on pallets for shipment.

image credit: https://www.cancentral.com/can-stats/how-cans-are-made

 

ITS Can Making Equipment

Can Washers

Can washers can clean several hundred or several thousand cans per minute. The Can Washer cleans and prepares the interior and exterior surface of the cans for coatings. The ITS can washer offers key features that reduce water and chemical consumption and provides ease of maintenance.

Can washers clean several thousands of cans per minute.

 

Pin Ovens

The pin oven thermally processes the exterior coating on aluminum or steel cans after the base and/or decorative coats have been applied. Pin ovens can process up to  2400 cans per minute as the cans make 10-12 passes through the oven in only 7 seconds. To keep the cans from tipping over, the pin oven is actually tipped over 10-13°, which is a unique feature of the pin oven. The ITS Pin Oven offers our patented air delivery system and provides the shortest time to achieve peak metal temperature while eliminating can spoilage. This allows our pin ovens to work faster and more efficiently than any other on the market today and to do so in a smaller footprint.

Pin Oven for Aluminum Cans

 

Internal Bake Ovens (IBOs)

The Internal Bake Oven (IBO) will complete the cure on the over varnish, ink, and inside coating on aluminum or steel cans. While in the oven, the cans will be will be thoroughly purged of solvent and heated to allow for a proper cure, as well as provide superior can stability. The ITS IBO Oven offers many other options such as nozzle height adjustment systems to raise and lower the supply nozzles during can height changes, safety railings and access ladders, cooling chambers, and more.

IBO Internal Bake Oven

Internal Bake Oven

 

Our Metal Packaging Division will continue to work with our customers to expand their manufacturing capacity and will continue to improve and innovate our equipment to help increase and improve production. Contact our sales team for more information and to discuss your application.

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