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Effective, adaptable can and bottle drying for Heineken

18 January 2012

The canning and bottling lines at the Heineken plant in Valencia (Spain) now operate more efficiently thanks to the drying systems that they have recently installed

This increased efficiency can be seen in line changes which are faster, simpler and safer for adapting to different products, more efficient drying which guarantees a codification of the product without smudging, and specific labelling to prevent the bottles from slipping.

Previously, they used blowing systems which needed to be boosted with compressed air to achieve the desired drying effect, but this system was less efficient and did not meet the quality demands of the user. In addition, the original systems were complicated and it took a long time to adjust them to the different products.

The new drying machine is installed in two canning lines and one bottling line and consists of ACI DRI-Line systems, powered by a blower, supplied by PYGSA Sistemas y Aplicaciones, ACI's Spanish distributor. The two canning lines operate at a speed of 33,000 cans/ hour and the bottling line at 44,000 bottles/ hour.

At the Heineken plant, the Can Tunnels are configured for single-line feeding, but the systems can be used for applications with multi-line feeding. In the bottle line, which is used for capacities of 33 cl, 25 cl and 28.5 cl, PYGSA has installed ACI's "JetPlates" to dry crown caps.

The JetPlates have facing plenums with grooved acrylic plates which can be placed near the moving bottles. These plates allow the air to be directed efficiently through grooves which are specially configured to achieve effective drying, at the same time as preventing the bottles from falling, as they act as guide rails.

The crown cap dryers, which are located after the JetPlates, are specially designed to eliminate the humidity which accumulates on the underside of the caps, and thereby also the risk of oxidation and contamination. For this application, the air reaches the cap dryers through ducts from the plenums of the JetPlates.

Both the bottle and can drying-lines use ACI's "EL" blower, with a 15kW ACI EP10 unit. The EL design has a dryer housed in an acoustic enclosure with legs. This is a flexible design as it allows the blower to be placed at one side of the canning and bottling lines, or on top of them. In addition, lifting the legs makes cleaning easier.

"In comparison with the old drying system, the ACI systems supplied by PYGSA are a great improvement", commented Juan Manuel García Romero, packaging supervisor at the Heineken plant. "With the new systems, their operation, cleaning and the change from one product format to another are very simple. The ACI machines have not required any maintenance work since we installed them."

The Heineken plant in Valencia is one of the company's four factories in Spain, where 30 different brands are canned, packaged and distributed. 4 million of these products are served every day in Spain.

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