Drying beverage containers such as bottles and cans in the production line is necessary for safety and aesthetics. For instance, it helps to protect the integrity of the container, maintain the quality of its contents, and promote operational efficiency during labelling, filling, and wet and dry inspections. This helps to keep the product and brand integrity and promote consumer perception.
Drying applications in the beverage industry are typically used before labelling, adding laser date codes, inspection, and packaging. Additionally, it helps to prevent the premature corrosion of cans and bottles and the formation of discolouration streaks on the product.
Secomak’s range of drying machines offer an ideal solution for beverage container production lines. Our drying machines are our company’s flagship solutions and are backed by 70 years of excellence, efficiency, and ingenuity. Let’s explore in greater detail how bottle- and can-drying solutions aid in perfecting your food and beverage production line.
Why Drying Before Labelling and Packaging is Essential
Drying beverage bottles and cans before labelling and packaging is pivotal in ensuring secure label placement and adherence and maintaining product quality. Examples of labels best suited to dry surfaces include shrink sleeve labels, self-adhesive labels, cold glue labels, hot melt labels, and pressure-sensitive labels.
Here’s how drying helps with labelling beverage containers:
- Dry containers provide a clean and smooth surface for labels to adhere to securely. In contrast, wet surfaces can lead to label misalignment, peeling, and insufficient adhesion that is worsened by handling and transportation. Misaligned labels have a negative impact on appearance and result in potential information loss, e.g., expiration dates and branding.
- Proper labelling is integral to product quality and compliance. Accurate labelling communicates essential information to consumers and is glued or lasered onto the product. Examples include laser date codes and batch numbers, ingredients, nutritional facts, and usage instructions.
- Improved reliability. Hi speed labelling machines are high sophisticated with many moving parts. It is critical to reduce water build up within labelling machines, excess water can negatively impact performance, production speed, quality of application whilst also increase maintenance schedules.
Damp or wrinkled labels can obscure this vital information or cause laser misprints, which could cause confusion and affect consumer safety.
Ultimately, the drying process upholds a product’s integrity and brand reputation. Pre-drying containers before labelling facilitates secure and precise label placement, providing product information clarity, regulatory adherence, and a positive consumer experience.
Container-Drying Prevents Microbial Growth & Promotes Safety
Drying bottles and cans is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and quality of consumer beverages. While some drying methods use heat or infrared radiation to remove moisture and destroy microbes, Secomak’s drying technology primarily relies on the force of air. Here’s how this process contributes to the safety and quality of the production line:
- Air-Force Drying to Eliminate Moisture: Unlike methods that use hot air or infrared radiation, Secomak’s drying machines utilise a powerful flow of air to remove moisture. This method disrupts the environment needed for microorganisms, including bacteria and moulds, to grow and reproduce. By efficiently stripping away residual moisture and water from beverage containers, the drying process helps to reduce microbial activity on the production line.
- Preventing Biofilm Formation: Biofilms are communities of microorganisms that form protective matrices on surfaces, which can be challenging to eliminate once established. Secomak’s air-force drying effectively removes the moisture that facilitates biofilm formation. While it doesn’t apply heat to denature microbial cells, removing moisture through powerful air streams plays a vital role in inhibiting the initial attachment of microbial cells and the subsequent development of biofilms.
- Complementing Sterilisation Processes: It’s important to note that while Secomak’s drying technology is highly effective in removing moisture, it is not a sterilisation process that uses heat or steam. In many production lines, drying is a step that complements sterilisation processes. These processes often involve the application of heat or steam to containers before they enter the drying phase. Thus, Secomak’s drying machines are a crucial part of a broader system aimed at ensuring the highest standards of hygiene and quality in beverage production.
Through the innovative use of powerful air streams, Secomak’s drying machines provide an essential step in maintaining product quality and safety, reducing the likelihood of microbial contamination, and ensuring that beverage containers are adequately prepared for subsequent stages like labelling and packaging.
How Can Drying Systems Improve Production Line Efficiency
By drying these containers, they can move seamlessly through the production line and reduce downtime associated with misfires or equipment jams.
- Effective drying systems contribute to more streamlined labelling and packaging processes, helping to accelerate the packaging line and allowing for higher throughput and increased productivity. This is because dry surfaces facilitate precise and fast label application and prevent delays caused by misaligned or loosely adhered labels.
- Drying beverage containers also helps preserve the production line by minimising the chances of corrosion in the equipment’s metal components. This reduces the need for system maintenance and replacement from rust-related damage and promotes uninterrupted production.
- Drying beverage containers is crucial not primarily for preserving the production line equipment, as these are typically designed using materials resistant to rust and corrosion—instead, the critical benefit of drying lies in maintaining the integrity of the containers themselves. Moisture on bottle caps, cans, and containers can lead to corrosion, which is detrimental to both the container’s quality and the safety of the product it holds. Additionally, thoroughly drying containers help maintain a safer production environment by reducing the risk of water spillage on the floor, which could create slip hazards. Thus, while drying does not directly prevent equipment corrosion, it is essential for preserving the quality of the containers and ensuring a safer working environment.
- Finally, the absence of moisture affords the accurate functioning of quality control mechanisms, e.g., sensors and cameras. Dry containers allow for seamless quality control by enabling the swift identification and removal of defective products that could impact the production line later.
Drying Aids in Prolonged Shelf Life and Product Protection
The role of drying beverage containers in prolonging shelf life is crucial. When beverage containers are effectively dried before filling, it helps extend the shelf life of the packaged products. This is primarily due to the drying and sterilisation process that destroys and inhibits mould and bacterial growth and the development of biofilms.
Another advantage of eliminating moisture with can drying systems is to prevent oxidisation and the development of off-flavours in the contents. Oxidisation relies on the presence of water and can alter the taste, colour, and aroma of a product, degrading its quality. Therefore, dry containers protect the beverage’s freshness and allow it to maintain its intended characteristics for longer.
Effective Drying Aids Cost-Saving Through Reduced Spoilage
Drying beverage cans and bottles helps to significantly reduce waste and spoilage in many ways. Here are four examples:
- As mentioned, we know that eliminating moisture renders the container an inhospitable environment for microbes. Through drying and sanitisation, products in dry containers are less likely to spoil due to microbial growth, reducing the likelihood of expired and unsellable beverages.
- Proper drying ensures the secure adhesion and accurate placement of labels. In contrast, labels applied to wet surfaces are likelier to peel off or become illegible, resulting in misidentified or wasted products. Dry containers increase more accurate labelling procedures and reduce the chances of waste in the form of unsellable, misbranded and mislabelled items.
- Drying containers also helps to prevent corrosion in metal components of packaging and ensure its integrity. Corrosion compromises the structural integrity of packaging, leading to leakage and spoilage of the contents. Stress corrosion also weakens parts of cans – especially on the ring pull area of beverage cans – which could lead to exploding under pressure.
Reducing the chances of corrosion and impaired integrity, therefore, helps to reduce waste as a result of damaged or leaking products.
4. Efficient can drying systems optimise production speed and accuracy, reducing the likelihood of contamination, spoilage, errors, and defects. By lowering the chances of defects in the production process, fewer products are classified as waste and discarded, reducing overall waste generation.
Proper drying of bottles and cans in production is an essential part of the production process. Aside from ensuring product presentation, drying systems safeguard the products’ integrity, ensure consumer safety, minimise waste, and optimise the production process.
By investing in Secomak’s efficient can drying systems, you can anticipate long-term benefits that promote a healthy brand reputation. These benefits include cost-saving aspects, improved product quality, and enhanced consumer satisfaction.