Bottling ‘Liquid Gold’ and Avoiding Costly Overfilling
A Scottish whiskey producer requires filling quantities of no more than +3 milliliters per bottle. Now the whisky maker optimizes its filling processes and restricts inspections to five bottles per hour without experiencing a drop in quality.
In its efforts to optimize costs, one of Scotland’s renowned whisky producers relies on statistical quality control in its filling processes. As a result, the company is achieving its goals for quality and accurate filling quantities.
The Scottish Highlands are the source for the raw materials that go into Glenmorangie, one of the most famous brands of Scotch whisky. A quintessential whisky product, Glenmorangie comes exclusively in single-malt varieties that are made from water and barley malt, and have been stored in oak casks for a 10- to 25-year period.
What makes Glenmorangie different from other whiskies is its unusual use of hard water and the use of the tallest stills in Scotland in which it is made. That results in only the very lightest and purest vapors making it to the top of the still, giving it a smoother taste
State-of-the-art filling technique
While production and cask storage take place in the Highlands, the individual bottles are filled at cutting-edge facilities located near Edinburgh. Two filling lines are responsible for filling more than 10 million bottles each year to unparalleled levels of quality.
Especially when whisky is concerned, reducing losses throughout the production process represents one of the most important key performance indicators. In modern whisky production, there are two ways producers “lose” product. One is through a phenomenon known as “The Angel’s Share,” in which about 2 percent of the whisky evaporates while aging in barrels. The second is from overfilling during bottling. While the angels will always take their share, METTLER TOLEDO helps Glenmorangie avoid overfilling while also ensuring they adhere to legal minimum quantities.
According to Martin Fletcher, quality systems adviser at Glenmorangie, the company constantly must optimize between net-content control fulfillment and reducing overfilling. Under-filling is illegal, but over-filling is not a profitable practice.
“This application software has allowed the settings to be optimized and has paid off extremely fast.”
A quick pay-off
To optimize its filling processes, Glenmorangie relies on the statistical quality control software FreeWeigh.Net, which connects multiple automatic or manual scales with ease. FreeWeigh.Net is also capable of delivering reliable data and reports whether it is dealing with straightforward manual sampling inspections or 100 percent control for each bottle
Glenmorangie is subject to internal filling quantity specifications of no more than +3 milliliters per bottle. Thanks to Free-Weigh.Net, it can pick up on any deviations quickly, allowing the operator to step in without delay. That has allowed the settings for the filling process to be optimized without the need to compromise on the exact quality specifications. It was an investment that Fletcher says has paid off quickly.