Stephanie Eve visited Guinness’ UK packaging plant in Cheshire to discover how an A&E waterless rinser has improved the efficiency of its canning line.
Waterless container rinsers have become increasingly popular in recent years; not only because they eliminate the need to use water, but for their superior performance in cleaning empty cans and bottles compared with traditional water rinsers.
The UK’s first installation of a waterless container rinsing system from A&E Conveyor Systems recently took place at Guinness’s Runcorn, Cheshire, facility. The installation was handled by Elson Automation, European agent for US-based A&E.
The Pur Rinse system is suitable tor a variety of different can sizes —including the 330ml, 400ml. 500ml and 568ml sizes used at Guiness – and may be adapted for use with PET and PVC bottles.
One reason why Guinness chose A&E’s Pur Rinse ionised air rinser was the increased efficiency which it enabled in the pre-fill rinsing procedure, by eliminating water usage and effluent charges. Another reason was that A&E’s system operates in a sterile environment, which further reduces the chances of contaminating containers. The risk at microbiological contamination by water is not only reduced inside containers, but also in the surrounding conveying system and environment.
The Pur Rinse system uses neutralization equipment to remove dust and debris from empty containers immediately prior to filing. It has an eight-stage ionisation and vacuum system whereby Ionised air is blown into the container as it travels over the nozzles, ionised air is able to combat the static charge, which often makes particles difficult to dislodge from the container wall. This makes the ionised air superior to standard compressed air, while A&E says ionised air is the same and sometimes more effective than water, which may act as a glue, keeping the contaminants stuck to the container wall.
The Pur Rinse system also operates within an enclosed sterile environment whereas conventional rinsing system may even contribute to sanitation problems, for example compressed air can contain particles of water and oil. In comparison, ionised air is passed through three separate filtration stages before use.
David Eaglefield, project manager at Elson, spent six months at Guinness coordinating the project in order to ensure a smooth start up; “We think of waterless rinsing as a next generation technology.”