Liquid Packaging and Protecting Product: Rinsing & Purging
For many packagers of liquid products, keeping the liquid free from dust, debris and other liquids is important to protect the integrity of the product itself. Chemicals cannot be effective when watered down, foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals must be free from contaminants and many other products would suffer from cross-contamination with other liquids or debris. Two of the most popular pieces of packaging equipment to help protect products are bottle rinsing machines and nitrogen purge systems.
Bottle Rinsing Machines
In order to keep the product clean, the bottles or other containers that hold the product must be clean when the liquid is introduced. Dust, debris and other contaminants can be left over from the bottle manufacturing process. It may also accumulate during shipping or even storage of the bottles. Placing a rinsing machine prior to the liquid filler on a packaging line can help to reduce or eliminate such debris build up right before the bottle receives the liquid.
Wet rinsing machines can use water, product or other cleaning solution to remove such debris from containers. However, for those worried about cross-contamination, a more popular solution of late is using an air rinse to achieve the same goal. Air rinsers blast the inside of bottles with clean air to loosen and remove contaminants, either by inverting bottles for the rinse or vacuuming loose debris after the rinse. The air rinsing machine creates less waste than the wet rinsing counterpart and removes the possibility of residue prior to the fill.
Nitrogen Purge Equipment
When placing a liquid into a bottle or other container, there will almost always be a headspace that will fill with oxygen. Unfortunately, oxygen can have a detrimental effect on a wide range of products. Certain foods, for example, will break down faster when in contact with oxygen, which can lead to discoloration, effect taste and ultimately reduce the shelf life of a product. Nitrogen purge systems work to replace the oxygen in the headspace with nitrogen, a gas that will not negatively impact products in the same way as oxygen.
With nitrogen purge systems, it is important to perform the purge right before capping or otherwise sealing the containers. The longer the wait time, the more opportunity for oxygen to seep back into the headspace, thus rendering the purge ineffective. While nitrogen may have other uses on a packaging line, any packager looking to extend shelf life and protect the liquid should set the purge equipment immediately before the capping or sealing machine. Custom purging equipment may also be manufactured for unique packaging projects as well.
To learn more about rinsing equipment or purging machinery, visit the corresponding category of products on the Liquid Packaging Solutions website or contact LPS today to speak with a Packaging Specialist.