When plastic bottles with caps are filled with hot liquids, the caps and empty space in the bottles need to be sterilized. The challenge was to design a system to upend the bottles to allow the hot liquid to flow to the cap. Then return the bottles to the upright position and transfer to a water bath chiller.
Wrabacon designed and manufactured a system that transported filled plastic bottles from a filling line, through a Wrabacon sterilizer, a cooler (manufactured by another company), a Wrabacon orientator, and then to an existing labeling and packing system.
The bottles sizes were; 24 oz. – 2 ½” dia. X 8” tall, 64 oz.- 4 ½” square x 9”tall, 128 oz.- 6” dia. X 11 ½” tall , 3 ½” dia x 9 ½” tall. Rates ranged from 12 BPM to 60BPM.
The bottles are transferred from a filling conveyor onto the Wrabacon conveyor. The bottles that need to be cooled are diverted to a 90 degree conveyor that transfers the bottles to the sterilizer system. At the infeed of the sterilizer, the bottles are laid down on their side and then tipped so that the liquid in the bottles will completely encompass the inside of the cap. This allowed the hot liquid to sterilize the inside of the cap. After sterilization, the bottles are stood up and transferred to a second 90 degree conveyor that transfers the bottles to an existing water bath cooling tunnel After cooling, the bottles are transferred to a bottle orientator for labeling. After orienting and labeling, the bottles are transferred downstream for further processing.
The bottles that did not need sterilizing are transferred directly onto the orientator and then to the labeling system for further processing
Wrabacon supplied the following for this project:
- Cooler bypass conveyor
- Manual product diverter
- 90 degree sterilizer feed conveyor
- Lay down sterilizer
- Cooler infeed conveyor
- Cooler discharge conveyor
- Bottle orientator
- Main control system