Sample Packaging System for Distilled Spirits
As the industry continues to flourish, bringing new and unique tastes across the United States, Liquid Packaging Solutions continues to get inundated with requests for information on packaging machinery for distilled spirits. And we love it! The industry itself is more like a family than a competitive market and we are honored to be able to help so many individuals and companies add their own flavors to the mix. While there are a number of different ways to bottle distilled spirits, depending on the bottle, the closures, the production speeds and other factors, below we look at a fairly common set up for a medium sized distiller.
LOADING AND PACKING
Conveyors and turntables can both be used to load bottles onto the packaging system as well as prepare them for the shelf once they are filled, capped and labeled. On a typical line, both a loading and accumulating turntable will be used for distilled spirits. An operator can place empty bottles on the loading turntable and the bottle guide will simply push bottles to the outer edge of the turntable. From there, the bottles exit the turntable onto the power conveyor to be taken to the various packaging machines found on the line. Accumulating turntables will collect bottles once they have been filled, capped and labeled. From the accumulating turntable, operators or laborers can pack bottles into cases or otherwise prepare the end product for delivery to the customer.
Rinsing machinery is used on a distilled spirits line to ensure that the inside of the bottles are free from contamination before the spirits are introduced into the container. The inverting air rinsing machine has become popular in the distilled spirits industry. This machine clamps bottles before inverting them over a rinse basin. A blast of clean air then loosens dust, debris and other contaminants, allowing them to fall from the bottle into the basin, before bottles are returned to the power conveyor and sent to receive product.
While more than one way exists to fill distilled spirits, using an overflow filler seems to be the method of choice for most distillers. This is likely because most distillers use a clear bottle for their product. The overflow filling machine has the unique advantage of allowing each bottle to be filled to the same level regardless of minute differences in the interior volume of the bottles. Of course, there are volume requirements in the spirits industry, but as long as bottles do not vary greatly in interior volume, the overflow filler reaches the acceptable range of product while allowing the level fill, adding to the aesthetic value of the bottles when sitting on the shelf.
Again, not all distilled spirits will use a cork, T-cork or push in type closure, but a good number do just that. Bartop corking machines allow a quick and easy method of securely sealing the spirits with cork type closures. While these capping machines may stand alone, some distillers will also use a capsule spinner to apply and secure the capsule over the cork at the same time. While popular, capping and sealing machinery for distilled spirits, like any other industry, will depend first and foremost on the closure being used to seal the bottle. Spindle cappers, chuck cappers and ROPP cappers may also be seen in the industry.
With many distillers using standard 750 ml and 375 ml bottles, it is no surprise that many distillers also use a wrap labeler to apply the label around the body of the bottle. With that being said, many uniquely shaped bottles can also be found in the spirits industry, and these machines can be manufactured to apply labels in many different formats, including front and back, panel wraps and more.
So, to recap, a typical distilled spirits line will include a loading turntable, air rinser, overflow filler, bartop corker, wrap labeler and an accumulating turntable, with a power conveyor system connecting all of the machinery. But if this does not sound like the right configuration for you, don't fret! Each machine can be custom manufactured to meet the needs of the specific project for which it will be put to use. From simple tabletop systems, to upgradeable semi-automatic machinery to completely automated packaging lines, LPS can help each distiller find the best solution for their own needs to efficiently get the product to where it belongs - in the hands of the consumers who enjoy it!