It’s time to meet the wine and spirits connoisseur at Fogg Filler! We’re bringing you an exclusive interview with our wine and spirits subject matter expert, Jay Langejans. Prepare to dive into his journey within the packaging industry, explore the differences of filling spirits, and discover the challenges that keep our customers on their toes. Fogg Filler has got your back with some innovative solutions to tackle those hurdles head-on. So, let’s unravel the secrets with our wine and spirits expert!
How did you get into the packaging industry/how long have you been in the industry?
I spent most of my life in the automotive field, unsure of where my path would lead me, but then I made a visit to Fogg and was blown away by the machines on the floor. I started in Fogg’s assembly department in 2014 learning the mechanical ins and outs of building filling equipment. From there, I took on the role of a service tech, traveling the world, working hands on with customers, learning what was truly important to those actually using Fogg fillers. I landed a role in the sales department in 2016.
The progression of my roles has made a vast impact on my ability to be an effective salesman and advocate for our customers. It’s given me the ability to speak intelligently on the mechanical design, reliability, and repairability of our machines. With my 9 years at Fogg, I have become very well rounded in knowing the products that we sell, the challenges our customers face, and the specific needs that come with offering different products. The last 2 years in particular, I have been solely focused on the wine and spirits industry. I have become very passionate about this industry, the really unique products that it produces, and the amazing people that I get to work with
What about filling spirits is different from filling other products and what should you look for when buying a filling line?
When it comes to filling spirits, the go-to container choice is often glass bottles. When filling products in glass bottles, precise alignment is extremely important because the neck of the bottle can get damaged if the valve makes contact with it. We want to make sure we handle them with the utmost care to prevent this. A polymer tipped valve and bottle neck aligners are great features to look for to support accurate alignment of the valve into the bottle, and to prevent chipping or breakage of your glass bottle necks.
Spirits are flammable liquids, which require customers to meet certain safety specifications that other industries may not need. Be on the lookout for explosion-proof equipment, such as bolted electrical panels, that meet these specific safety specifications to maintain a secure production environment. If you are looking for a consistent fill level across bottles on the shelf, inconsistencies in glass can make that difficult to achieve. Since the spirits industry in particular utilizes clear glass bottles, gravity filling (or level filling) is a great solution. Gravity fillers do not fill to a specific weight or volume, but a specific level on the bottle, for a consistent appearance regardless of bottle inconsistencies.
What challenges do customers face in the spirits industry & solutions does Fogg provide to combat these challenges?
The wide variety of bottle shapes and sizes:
The ever-evolving nature of the wine and spirits industry presents a significant challenge for customers. There are marketing challenges where companies come up with different shaped bottles that require a different set of change parts for every container that they want to run. With several bottles, or uniquely shaped bottles, the filling process can be a bit tricky. Changeover can be very time consuming and customers with several bottles might spend hours each day switching in and out the change parts. This cuts down on up time and takes employees away from doing other important tasks.
With several sets of change parts, you also must have the space to store them. We offer a few solutions that can address these issues. Invest in change parts carts if you just have a few sets of parts. Keeping parts organized ensures that there is no extra unnecessary time spent on changeover. Another solution would be Fogg’s new ‘universal’ bottle handling technology. This is a single set of change parts that is engineered to slide and adjust to accommodate several different bottles ranging in sizes, shapes, and different materials. This technology is bottle and application dependent.
Bottle Rinsing and Proof Loss:
Proof loss, or lack thereof, is a struggle that is unique to the spirits industry. When cleaning the bottles, it is very important that the product is not exposed to the air for too long or that it is watered down by any residual water or chemical. A great solution is rinsing with the product itself. With that said, special points need to be taken into consideration since, the customer cannot afford to just send product down the drain after rinsing the bottles. Customers should seek out spirits rinsers that will contain their product within the rinser that can be sent to a recirculation tank and reused, reducing any product loss as well as eliminating virtually any water or chemical waste that would have been associated with a standard rinser. Fogg is dedicated to ensuring efficiency in all aspects of the process, ultimately benefiting the customers.
Thank you to Jay for sharing his knowledge and experience in the wine and spirits industry with Filling Insider. His insights capture the innovative solutions offered by Fogg, helping customers navigate the evolving bottling industry with confidence.