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Air Control Industries (ACI) has revealed how a bottle-drying system it supplied to Bitburger Braugruppe is helping the brewer minimise contamination risks on production-line machinery.

A speciality of Bitburger Braugruppe is the brewing of non-pasteurised Pils beer and this calls for the highest hygiene standards.

One precaution the company takes to achieve these standards is to minimise the presence of crevices and projections on machinery involved on the production line that could serve as catchment zones and create possible contamination risks.

ACI has supplied a bottle-drying system to Bitburger built specially to comply with these standards.

Essentially, the bottle dryer is one of ACI’s low-noise, high-throughput units that has been adapted to meet the demanding hygiene requirements.

All meeting surfaces, which are normally spot-welded or bolted together, have seamless welded joins in order to facilitate cleaning and eliminate bacteria build up.

There is also a special drainage facility for directing moisture to appropriate outlets.

In addition, the housing for the blower (ACI’s EP10) that delivers the air is mounted on top of the dryer instead of underneath.

This is to permit easy cleaning under the dryer.

Although the ACI drier is a low-noise unit, it does not contain any acoustic foam, which could absorb moisture and breed germs.

Instead, the machine is equipped with noise baffles at both the entry and exit points.

Noise levels are just below 85dBA.

The ACI bottle dryer is installed on a line that replaces two previous ones and handles a throughput of 50,000 bottles/hr.

The dryer provides a cost-effective solution compared to the options considered, which included manufacturing one in-house, as the previous machines had been.

Currently, the bottles passing through the ACI dryer are standard 330ml ones, but it is expected other sizes will be produced on the line.

The drying function is achieved by high volumes of air being delivered at close proximity to the bottles via the company’s Jetplate plenums and a pair of Airknives, all housed in a stainless-steel cabinet.

The unit has a footprint of 990 x 1680mm with an overall height of 2070mm.

In another application, faced with increasing demand from home and overseas, O’Hanlon’s Brewery of Devon needed to increase output.

Production of the company’s beers was not a problem but getting the product out of the door was.

The inhibiting factor was O’Hanlon’s bottling/labelling operation.

Condensation caused delays because frequently filled bottles had to be left to dry before labels could be applied.

This limited production to around 2,700 bottles/day.

Another issue arising from condensation and exacerbating time delays was double handling.

Bottles, once filled, were sometimes removed from the filling/labelling line and then reintroduced when dry for labelling.

However, the problems caused by condensation are no longer an issue for O’Hanlon’s Brewery.

They have been eliminated following the installation of a pair of ACI’s Airknives.

Air Control Industries

Air Control Industries (ACI) is a leading global provider of industrial air movement products.

We analyse the application and select or design the product with the right materials, performance and environmental characteristics to provide the most efficient and cost-effective solution.

ACI has the expertise to help satisfy all your air handling requirements, be it cooling drying or spreading.

Since 1969, ACI has been designing and manufacturing fans and blowers, both for general applications and for specific tasks that demand custom-engineered solutions. We have also been developing value-added products employing our fans and blowers.

These include Airknives, bottle/can-drying systems for the drinks industry and our extruded product/cable/wire drying unit. All are employed around the world by leading international companies.

Another ACI innovation for the health and hygiene market is our Jetblack personnel cleaning stations. Being blower powered, Jetblack provides a safe and economic method of de-dusting personnel. To extend options for our customers, we also offer EBM-Papst products, for which we are the exclusive distributor.

ACI has around 50 employees split between its UK headquarters in Chard, Somerset, and its US subsidiary in Maine, New England. There is a network of overseas distributors to provide international sales and support.

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