Increase of bottle line efficiency through zero pressure conveyor and bloc systems.
Combiner and buffer sections are the largest down time factors in high speed bottling lines and are often responsible for a 2-5% reduction in efficiency. Continuous bottle control can be maintained using 'zero pressure' conveyor systems and 'bloc' units (labeler, filler/crowner, bottle inspector etc. with common drive and controls). Bottles entering a multistrand conveyor section en masse are separated by chains running at progressively increasing speeds. The entire section is angled at <11o. This results in a gentle descent of the bottles against the conveyor rails. Pressure and therefore scuffing is minimised and noise levels reduced. Broken or fallen bottles are rejected without creating jams or gaps. By reversing the process 'zero pressure' conveyor units can be used to accumulate bottles from a single to multiple lines. In a high speed bottling line built for on-going evaluation noise levels were reduced from 95-100 dB to 77 dB by modifying equipment design and by carefully selecting materials used for its construction. To maximise the performance of high speed bottling lines it is important to maintain a continuous flow of bottles. Unnecessary changes of direction should be avoided. Directional problems can be minimised by using U-shaped and right angle feed and discharge equipment configuration.
Keywords: beer bottle bottling efficiency wine