Integrating Rinsing Machinery Into an Existing Packaging Line
As we have stated in the past, not every company will move immediately to an automated packaging system. In many cases, different processes will be automated and the completely automated system will be accumulated over time. Furthermore, not every packaging line will use container cleaning equipment as a part of a packaging system. However, bottle rinsers are becoming more popular to remove dust and debris from containers prior to introducing product, and in some industries the removal of contaminants is necessary to keep product pure. Bottle rinsing machines can be added to existing systems as semi-automatic and automatic processes.
SEMI-AUTOMATIC RINSING MACHINES
Semi-automatic machines can be integrated into operator based packaging systems or even some otherwise automatic systems. These machines require the operator to place bottles, typically inverted, onto rinse nozzles. Once in place, the operator activates the rinse cycle by stepping on a foot switch or pressing a finger switch. Either air, water or other cleaning liquid will be used to remove the debris and at the end of the cycle, the operator will move the bottles to the next packaging station.
The next station may be a tabletop or semi-automatic filling machine, requiring the operator or another manual labor to assist in filling the bottles. However, some packagers may clean containers with the assistance of an operator, who then delivers the bottles to a turntable or power conveyor. In some situations, manual or semi-automatic bottle rinsing will be able to keep up with the other automatic machinery. Of course, at some point automatic filling, capping and labeling may move too fast for operators to keep up. At this point, a company may want to consider an automatic rinsing machine.
AUTOMATIC RINSING MACHINES
Like the semi-automatic equipment, automatic bottle rinsers may use clean air, water or some other liquid solution to remove dust and debris from containers. However, no operator will be required to move bottles in to position under the rinse nozzles. Instead, bottles will be indexed into the rinse area on a power conveyor. From here, most bottles will be clamped and inverted over a rinse basin. While inverted, the rinse media is introduced to wash contaminants out of the bottle. Once completed, the bottles are returned to the power conveyor, released from the bottle rinser and sent to the next packaging machine, most commonly a bottle filler.
Operator controls for an automatic rinser will be found on a simple touchscreen interface. From here, the operator can set indexing times, rinse times and all other controls necessary for consistent and reliable cleaning. Once the settings are in place, the machine will do the work, leaving the operator only to monitor the machine along with any other equipment being used on the packaging line. In addition to inverting rinsing equipment, bottle vacuums are also available for heavy containers, oddly shaped containers or bottles that are simply difficult to invert. These machines use a special nozzle to seal over the container opening and loosen debris before vacuuming the debris into an easily removable waste container.
To learn more about container cleaning options, browse the LPS website or call our offices to speak with a Packaging Specialist today.