Author: Jörg Roeder
In our blog article “Various marking options on 100% steel kegs”, we described the great range of possibilities BLEFA can offer for customizing stainless steel kegs and giving them a unique appearance. After all, for owners, the visual effect this achieves makes a stainless steel keg an effective brand ambassador.
Besides all these options, there are a number of different keg markings which, though not as eye-catching, are still quite significant and, in some cases, actually required by law.
The manufacturer details are one of the stainless steel keg markings that are absolutely mandatory. On almost all kegs, they can be found on the top chime and indicate both the company and the country where the keg was manufactured. The latter is a legal requirement in some countries, such as the USA, where all imported products have to carry an indication of which country the particular import was manufactured in. The manufacturer details also contain information on the maximum filling volume, the material used, the year of manufacture and the maximum operating pressure.
Glass and fork symbol
In addition to the manufacturer details, a further marking is the “glass and fork symbol”, which is a mandatory marking for all packaging that comes into contact with food.
The calibration marking guarantees that the nominal volume specified in the manufacturer details, including any possible tolerance, is actually maintained and must be very close to the volume indicated. Calibration is a legal requirement in certain countries and in Germany, for example, it is a task carried out by the “Ladeseichamt”, the office for weights and measures, and state-recognised testing institutions, under the supervision of the PTB, the National Metrology Institute of Germany.
There are a great number of international standards and customer specifications defining how a keg should be constructed, what safety regulations must be observed and how the kegs have to be tested. This is intended to make sure that pressurized containers, which is what kegs are, can perform the daily task they were made for, without endangering the people working in the filling plant or in the logistics chain or, of course, the final consumers.
As a rule, kegs can then be circulated without any further regulations. However, there are also countries that require an approval before beverage packaging can be put on the market. One such country is the Czech Republic and this particular regulation is based on the national calibration law. It concerns a special marking for containers between 15 and 30 litres. According to this particular national approval, these containers are only allowed to have very slight volume tolerances. The approval itself (see image) must be positioned separately on the keg and also specifies that the manufacturer details must be in the national language.
DataMatrix Code ECC 200
For quality assurance and as a serial number, BLEFA uses a DataMatrix code ECC 200. In standard procedure, this 25 x 25 mm code is usually applied to the keg both by laser and as a sticker. This is relevant for kegs which are newly manufactured or which go through the BLEFA Keg Service processes.
The DataMatrix code ECC 200 is read at all inspection points within the manufacturing process and stored. This makes it much easier for to achieve unambiguous traceability and quality assurance for every production process. With the appropriate hard and software, the DataMatrix code ECC 200 enables us to store our own data.