Using the Right Rinse Media To Clean Bottles
Bottle cleaning machines are not always a necessity on a packaging line, though some industries would be foolish not to use them. Those typically requiring some type of pre-fill rinse are packagers with edibles, pharmaceuticals or other items that are ingested or eaten in some manner. But even where a rinsing machine is necessary, there exist different types of rinses based on the media used to do the cleaning. Many times the choice will be one of personal preference, but each of the different types offers advantages that may be appealing for any given project.
INVERTING AIR RINSE
Arguably the most popular rinsing machine produced by Liquid Packaging Solutions, the inverting air rinser clamps and lifts bottles off of the conveyor, inverting them over a rinse basin and blasting them with air to remove dust and debris from the inside of containers. Bottle rinsers that use water or other liquids, like some of those described below, will normally require that the liquid used for rinsing be disposed of eventually. One of the biggest motivating factors in using an air rinse is the lack of waste outside of the contaminants that are rinsed from the containers, as the air will not need to be collected as the liquid would. In addition, rinsing with air should remove debris without leaving a residue in the bottle, which can happen with a liquid rinse.
INVERTING WATER RINSE
Working in the same manner as the inverting air rinser, the inverting water rinser, as the name suggests, uses water rather than air to remove dust and debris from the interior of containers. While this rinsing machine will obviously create more waste than a machine using air, sometimes the type of debris inside the bottle will make the water rinse a better option. Through the manufacturing, or even the storage, of the bottles, bigger pieces of debris, heavier pieces of debris or some other characteristic may make water the better option for ensuring all contamination is removed.
INVERTING PRODUCT RINSE
The inverting product rinse simply replaces water with the product being filled to complete the cleaning of the bottles. Obviously, this will not work with all products, such as thick products that would flow slowly and likely not achieve the goal of cleaning bottles. Rinsing with the product ensures that bottles get clean and that there is no contamination when product is introduced. For example, if filling a distilled spirit, a packager may choose to rinse bottles with the spirit to ensure that there is no watering down of the final product.
INVERTING RINSE WITH OTHER LIQUID
Another version of the inverting rinser will use an alternative rinse media other than water or product. In these somewhat rare cases, packagers are typically looking to do more than just rinse containers. Other rinse media may be used to rinse bottles while also sanitizing or disinfecting the bottles before they receive product. The alternative media used will depend on the specific project and products being used, but the machine itself will work just like the inverting bottle rinsers using water or product.
COMBINATION AIR AND VACUUM RINSE
When rinsing heavy bottles, oddly shaped bottles or other custom containers, inverting can become a chore, if not downright impossible. An alternative to inverting bottles can be found in the bottle vacuum, which also uses air to clean containers. However, because bottles cannot be inverted, the air rinse is combined with a special vacuum nozzle that allows debris to be removed from inside the container. The blast of air will loosen debris and once the nozzle is sealed over the opening, the debris will be vacuumed in to a waste reservoir.
In many cases, any or all of these machines may work for a given project and the decision will come down to the personal preference of the packager. However, in some cases, one type of rinse media may offer advantages when taking in to account the product, the bottles and the process. All of the machinery described above refers to automatic bottle rinsers, but each of those described above can also be manufactured to function semi-automatically as well, offering smaller packagers a more cost-efficient manner of cleaning containers before introducing product. As always, LPS Packaging Specialists are available to offer more information on bottle rinsers, rinse media or packaging machinery in general.