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Infrared heating offers rinsing process savings

09 July 2017

A purpose-built carbon infra-red oven has been instrumental in allowing a jam manufacturer to make some impressive savings in its water consumption costs for the rinsing of jars prior to filling. 

Changing from a hot water rinse system to a cold air rinse system at its Wythenshawe jam-making site has allowed Duerr’s of Manchester to reduce its water-usage and water-heating bills. The company now also has more effective control over its jar heating and rinsing process.
 
Duerr's is believed to be the oldest, family-owned jam-maker in England and has been making preserves for over 135 years. It uses jam jars which can be recycled after use to create items ranging from light fittings to cocktail glasses. However, the prime purpose of the jars is to carry the jam and they are filled in a continuous process with hot jam on a bottling line.
 
Before filling, the jars need to be rinsed. Traditionally this task has been carried out by a hot water rinsing process. Heat was necessary to prevent thermal shock and possible breakage of the glass, as jars are stored at temperatures as low as -5°C and jam is at temperatures up to 97°C during filling. The glass manufacturer recommends a maximum temperature difference of 84°C. With the hot water rinse, the jars were pre-heated by the hot water. However, the hot water rinsing plant, which had been in use for many years, was becoming increasingly inefficient, resulting in high water usages and costs. In addition, production slowed down whenever there was change-over in jar sizes.
 
This led to a decision being made to replace the aging water-rinsing plant with a modern air-rinsing plant, bearing in mind that this would require a separate jar-heating system. After rejecting steam heating for this task, as it would have involved further water consumption, it was decided to investigate the potential of infra-red heating and David Costello, project manager at Duerr's, asked Heraeus Noblelight to carry out tests at its Applications Centre. These proved successful and led to the installation of a 50.4kW carbon medium wave oven at the Wythenshawe site.
 
This has been designed to fit over an existing conveyor belt and comprises two 25.2kW zones, each fitted with three carbon medium wave emitters, which offer the highest efficiency for heating glass. The emitters can be switched on according to the height of the jars being heated, with two emitters per zone switched on for jars up to 100mm high and three emitters per zone for jars higher than 100mm. An optical pyrometer measures the temperature of the jars as they leave the oven this temperature is displayed on the control panel. 

The oven can be operated manually or automatically. In manual operation, operators can manually adjust the delivered power of the oven via a potentiometer to achieve the required temperature. In automatic operation, the measured exit temperature of the bottles is fed back to a PID controller and the emitters are then automatically regulated to maintain the set temperature. In the event of a line stoppage, the emitters are automatically switched to a stand-by level at an on/off speed of response of around one second.
 
Costello is pleased with the installation. He said: "We are now saving over £8,000 per annum on water consumption costs. In addition, we have a rinsing and heating plant which is more flexible, easier to control and which offers a better working environment to the workforce."


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