Bottle dryer boosts productivity and cuts energy costs

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Air Control Industries has supplied an LNL bottle dryer with JetPlates to Britvic, enabling the company to reduce downtime, raise throughput and reduce energy costs.

Bottle dryer boosts productivity and cuts energy costsA poster in Britvic's premises in Leeds reads Our vision in Production is to become the World Leader in soft drink manufacture by 2012. To achieve this goal requires Britvic to evaluate every stage of the production process. One step towards this goal is the recent installation of a bottle drying system that is helping to minimise downtime and maximise production output - while also reducing energy consumption.

Previously there were two identical drying units installed in series on the 36,000 bottles/hr line for drying the bottles to ensure effective label adhesion. As well as not fulfilling this requirement effectively, the machines did not incorporate bottle guide rails so there was a recurrent problem of bottles falling over and causing line stoppages, lost production and product waste. These problems resulted in moisture build-up inside the bottle dryers and product deposits on the bottles. The situation was made worse by the fact that the units were not easy to clean.

These two units have now been replaced by a single LNL unit from Air Control Industries (ACI). This features ACI's innovative JetPlate plenum air delivery system that enables air to be delivered close to the bottles, while at the same time acting as guide rails to promote bottle stability during travel through the LNL and helping to maximise throughput.

The LNL is a totally enclosed stainless steel unit with polycarbonate inspection windows. The blower unit is mounted on top of the enclosure to permit the use of adjustable mounting legs for ease of installation – even as a retrofit - and cleaning.

This version of ACI's LNL with JetPlates is also able to handle all the different bottle sizes handled at Britvic's Leeds plant, from the 125ml size for mixers up to the 750ml bottle for J2O, without requiring adjustment.

With this installation, all these benefits are complemented by significant energy savings; this is because one blower-powered unit is replacing two, which halves the energy costs.

Mick Wigham, the engineering team leader at Leeds, comments: "The previous system was a nightmare. Production hold-ups, ineffective drying, complicated set-up and a fiddly-to-clean design all combined to undermine efficiency. In contrast, the ACI bottle dryer enables us maximise throughput with no issues relating to the bottle drying function and it is also easy to switch product runs."

16 March 2010

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