New bottling line at Fosters brewery

New branding for the company’s ‘Carlton Cold’ beer involving a new distinctive label has resulted in Foster’s Australia Yatala Brewery (QLD) and Abbotsford Brewery (VIC) upgrading their bottling lines to handle pressure sensitive labels.

The new labels are self-adhesive and made from printed clear plastic, so the Carlton Cold bottles have to be 100% dry when they are applied to avoid the risk of moisture entrapment and the formation of unsightly bubbles that would disfigure the visually appealing label design.

Yet the high drying efficiency required must not reduce the original production speed of 1000 bottles/minute with wet glue labels.

Indeed, the ultimate goal was to increase capacity.

Initially, Foster’s Australia was going to opt for a bottle drying system based upon conventional air nozzle drying technology but to achieve the higher efficiency demanded, an array of multiple air nozzles totalling a length of six metres would be required.

The cost and footprint of this option, plus the inherent ongoing maintenance demands and high noise levels, caused Foster’s Australia to look for an alternative solution.

The ‘JetPlate’ system produced by Air Control Industries of Chard, UK, was supplied by the company’s Australian distributor Dynamic Engineering Australia, based in Perth.

It cost a third less than the original option considered and occupies around a third of the footprint, yet meets Foster’s Australia drying and throughput requirements.

Benefits of JetPlate

ACI’s JetPlate features delivers twice the volume of air than conventional air nozzles and from a closer position.

Also, the entrained air ensures all water and spray is directed downwards to prevent possible recontamination.

Further, JetPlates are simple to adjust to suit different bottle sizes with no risk of incorrect positioning which can lead to inefficient drying.

How it works

Essentially, the JetPlate arrangement comprises facing plenums each with a face plate with stepped air delivery slots.

This configuration ensures the air delivery pattern effectively pushes liquid down and off the product as it is conveyed between the plenums.

The close proximity of the plenums also ensures there is no risk of bottles falling over.

The JetPlate is both simple to install and maintain because the plenum face plates act as bottle guides thereby eliminating the need for rails.

Also, there is no call for pitch adjustment which might be required to achieve optimum drying with conventional air nozzle systems.

Foster’s JetPlate also includes the company’s optional cap drying system to ensure there is no risk of moisture being trapped under the crown tops.

Performance, safety, space, cost and maintenance are something all manufacturers consider when installing new equipment and the JetPlate excels in all four areas.

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