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6-Lane Aluminum Can End Manufacturing: A New Standard for Can Manufacturers

by Tim Paprocki | Nov 10, 2022

For years, aluminum can manufacturers have considered 4-lane can end systems to be the most effective solution for high-volume aluminum can manufacturing. However, with the advent of the Stolle E06 Conversion System and the Fleetwood Automatic Counter Bagger Palletizer 6110, today’s can manufacturers have several performance and efficiency-driven upgrades at their fingertips. In this post, I’ll offer an abridged history of can end manufacturing systems, an introduction to the new 6-lane format, and highlight the latest can end innovations available to can making machine suppliers today.

A Brief History of Can End Handling Systems

In 1997, Stolle Machinery – known throughout the beverage industry for their Easy-Open End Conversion Systems – introduced its first Tetrad (4-lane) can end conversion system. At the time, 3-lane systems were standard, and this innovation allowed can manufacturers to increase their throughput from 2,100 can ends per minute (EPM) to 3,000 EPM. With most new lines running three Tetrad systems together, this allowed can manufacturers to increase their total throughput to 9,000 EPM.

Over the past 25 years, Stolle’s Tetrad systems have become the backbone of can-making operations due to their proven productivity, reduced energy, and metal consumption savings. In fact, in 2022 Stolle sold its 200th Tetrad system.

Then, in 2020, Stolle made history again when it introduced the E06 Conversion System. With six lanes of conversion and tab tooling, this beverage end converting innovation provided early adopters with several productivity and efficiency advantages. For example, the high-speed E06 system can produce 5,100 EPM, which is a 70% increase in volume over the industry-leading 4-lane Tetrad System.

One of the first solutions of its kind, the Stolle E06 Conversion System offers can manufacturers significant improvements over industry-standard 4-lane systems including:

Increased Throughput

In an end module with a 24-out shell system and 6 liners, increased throughput will allow three Tetrads to be replaced with two EO6 machines while increasing end production from 9,000 EPM up to 10,200 EPM. Featuring a completely new Minster ECH-140 press that’s specifically designed for high-speed EOE production, the E06 system can achieve speeds up to an unprecedented 850 strokes-per-minute (SPM).

Metal Savings

The 6-out tab die has several improved design features and can produce the latest generation X3 metal-saving tab design. Specifically, it offers a 3.4% better metal efficiency ($.04/1,000 metal savings). The additional lift springs provide better lift and control of tab the strip and the mechanical push feeder, with re-designed tab feed linkage, offers improved life and precision operation.

Fleetwood Responds with 6-Lane Automatic Counter Bagger Palletizer

In 2021, amidst Fleetwood’s 65th anniversary, BW Integrated Systems introduced the first ever 6-lane automatic counter bagger and palletizer for can ends. The Fleetwood ACBP 6110 Automatic Counter Bagger Palletizer is a single-machine solution for high-speed 6-lane conversion presses. It is easily integrated with the Stolle E06 press. Because Fleetwood’s solution was designed specifically for the 6-lane format, it includes greater efficiency and compatibility benefits than any other solution. 

6-Lane Compatability

Though other can end bagger and palletizer suppliers can cobble together two 3-lane solutions, Fleetwood’s ACBP 6110 is the only single-machine solution available on the market today. The result is a smoother integration from the press to the bagger and palletizer. A single machine also means reduced risk for the can manufacturer because there are few machines to operate, maintain and troubleshoot.

Performance Efficiency

The Fleetwood ACBP 6110 also features inherent performance improvements. For example, the 6-lane infeed with 12 accumulation lanes provides higher performance and efficiency. These features enable the solution to meet speeds up to 10 bags-per-minute (bpm).

How to Get Started

Interested in learning more about 6-lane can end manufacturing systems? Contact our sales team to learn more about Fleetwood ACBP 6110 Automatic Counter Bagger Palletizer and other solutions for can making machine suppliers.

More about BW Integrated Systems

BW Integrated Systems is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of end-of-line packaging equipment and robotic automation solutions, as well as the execution of integrated packaging systems. We work with fellow innovators in the can manufacturing industry – including our sister division Pneumatic Scale Angelus – to ensure seamless integration of all machinery throughout can manufacturing and packaging lines. For a comprehensive view of the Barry-Wehmiller Packaging portfolio, visit our BW Packaging website.

Tim Paprocki

Tim Paprocki

Tim is the Product Manager for Container Manufacturing and Filling at BW Integrated Systems. In 2001, he started his career in the manufacturing industry as an electrical engineer at Barry-Wehmiller Design Group. Since then, Tim has overseen complete line startups across the globe and led electrical teams, applications and most recently product management.

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