Packaging Equipment for Distilled Spirits
While certain packaging machines may be seen more in specific industries, certain industries have more repetition than others when it comes to equipment. The packaging machinery used in the distilled spirits industry will often be very similar from project to project for a number of different reasons.
First, the products themselves are usually very comparable from a packaging perspective. Most spirits are a water-like consistency, or free-flowing, which means the same type of equipment will work across many different projects. Second, many of the products are packaged in a similar manner, with 750 ml and 375 ml bottles being the norm among those that distill spirits. In addition, many of the bottles are closed and sealed in the same manner as well, a sort of classical, historical take on the industry. For these and other reasons, the following equipment will often be found on a packaging line for distilled spirits.
Rinsing machines can be used to clean bottles of debris from the creation, transportation or storage of the containers and before the introduction of the spirits during the fill phase. These machines can be manufactured to rinse automatically or semi-automatically using air, water or even product to keep the spirits pure during the process of packaging. While automatic rinsers will likely be a part of a fully automated line, moving bottles along a conveyor to the rinse area, semi-automatic rinsing machines require an operator to place and remove bottles from the rinse nozzles but allow lower production distilleries the ability to clean containers as well.
Most distillers will use either an overflow filler or a gravity filler to get the liquid into the containers. These machines, both automatic and semi-automatic, fill to a level or by volume, respectively. Given that many distillers use a clear glass bottle for their products, the overflow fillers ability to fill each bottle to the same level can greatly increase the aesthetics of the product on the shelf, with each bottle at the same fill level next to one another. Gravity filling machines can ensure that an accurate volumetric fill can be achieved for each bottle as well. For those worried about tolerance levels or variations in fills, Liquid Packaging Solutions has found that the overflow filler will typically keep liquids within the acceptable range, absent extreme variation in the manufacture of bottles. Of course, testing on bottles or a discussion with a distiller's bottle producer can verify this fairly easily.
More than any other closure, the distilled spirits industry will use corks or T-corks to seal a bottle. The typical equipment will include a bottle corking machine and a capsule spinner to cover the bottle neck and cork. This aspect of packaging will see a little more variation than the filling machines, as different closures may be used in the distilled spirits industry, including ROPP caps and screw-on or continuous thread caps. Just like rinsers and fillers, the bottle capping equipment used by distillers can be built for both automatic and semi-automatic projects.
Other equipment, such as labelers, are similar to the capping machines, in that one item may be more popular, but several may be seen in the industry. Most distillers will use a front and back label, though wrap can also be an option. Though much of the equipment mentioned above will typically be seen in any packaging line for distilled spirits, just like any other industry, there are exceptions. For assistance in identifying the best equipment for packaging your spirit, contact an LPS representative today.