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New drying system gives Britvic a productivity boost

New drying system gives Britvic a productivity boost
On a poster in Britvic's premises in Leeds it says: "Our vision in production is to become the world leader in soft drink manufacture by 2012". It will involve Britvic evaluating every stage of the production process if this goal is to be achieved. One step in attaining this goal is the recent installation of a new bottle drying system that is helping to minimise downtimes to maximise production output whilst also reducing energy consumption.

Previously, there were two identical drying units installed in series on the 36,000 bottles/hr line in order to dry 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 causing line stoppages, lost production and product waste.  These 'qualities' resulted in moisture build-up inside the bottle dryers and product deposits on the bottles. The situation was made worse by the fact the units were not easy to clean.

These two units have now been replaced by a single 'LNL' unit from Air Control Industries (ACI) of Axminster.  This LNL features ACI's unique 'JetPlate' plenum air delivery system. This plenum system enables air to be delivered close to the bottles, whilst at the same time acting as guide rails to promote bottle stability during travel through the LNL, thereby 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 bottle dryer enclosure to permit the use of adjustable mounting legs to facilitate installation - even as a retrofit - and for easy all round cleaning. This version of ACI's LNL with JetPlates is also able to handle all the different bottle sizes handled at the Leeds Britvic plant, from the 125 ml size for mixers up to the 750 ml 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, halving energy costs. "The previous system was a nightmare," said Mick Wigham, Engineering Team Leader, Leeds. "Production hold-ups, ineffective drying, complicated set-up and 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's also easy to switch product runs."
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