Rinsing Machines - Air or Liquid?

Container cleaning equipment, and specifically bottle rinsers, can be manufactured to work in several different ways. One of the most obvious is the choice between an air rinse or a wet rinse when cleaning bottles. While Packaging Specialists will often be asked which is better, the truth is that the decision to use air or liquid is really one of personal preference, though there currently seems to be a trend toward air rinsing equipment.

For automatic bottle rinsing machines, both the air and the wet rinse models will typically be manufactured to invert bottles over a rinse basin before performing the actual cleaning of the bottles. Once taken from the conveyor and inverted, the nozzles will either blast the containers with clean air or use water, product or other cleaning solution to blast the inside of containers with liquid. In either case, the end result is to loosen and remove debris from inside of the containers before product is introduced.

The trend toward air rinsing machines likely stems from two main advantages over wet rinsers. First, after the rinse is completed with air, there is no waste product other than the debris removed from the bottles. Continuously rinsing bottles with water or other liquid for an eight hour production day can create a lot of excess waste on top of the dust and debris removed from the containers. Second, air leaves no moist residue in the bottles once the rinse is complete. For products that risk contamination if mixed with another liquid, a wet rinse can create an unacceptable possibility of contamination from the rinse medium, be it water or other cleaning liquid.

In some situations however, a wet rinse may be preferable to air for any number of reasons. In some cases, excess debris from storage or manufacture of the bottle may simply respond better to a liquid rinse versus the blast of clean air. Some packagers will also get around the contamination issue by first rinsing their containers with actual product, though this also has the possibility of creating excess waste in the form of losing product. In addition, in those rare situations where container weight or shape or size make inverting impractical, a third options exists as well. Bottle vacuums use a special nozzle to seal over the open container, blast clean air inside the bottle, then vacuum the debris into a easily cleanable waste reservoir.

As always, many different components of the packaging project will be analyzed before making the decision between an air rinse or a wet rinse, as well as an inverting or vaccum process. But in many cases, all of the choices will result in a thorough cleansing of containers and the decision will truly come down to personal preference. To learn more about rinsing machinery or any of the container cleaning equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today.