Located in Proctorsville, VT, The Woodchuck® Cidery (dba of Vermont Hard Cider Company, LLC) picked a bottle drying system supplied by ACI Inc. The drying line is based upon ACI’s ‘JetPLate’ system.
ACI’s JetPlate system comprises facing air-delivery plenums that can be positioned close to the travelling bottles, thus ensuring maximum drying efficiency while simultaneously acting as guide rails to prevent bottles from falling over and causing line hold-ups.
The JetPlates are complemented by pairs of airknives and adjustable air delivery nozzles to provide detail cap and neck drying to prevent moisture retention under the crown tops and ensure secure adhesion of neck labels. Air for these systems is provided by an ACI ‘EL’ semi-enclosed blower unit. This is leg-mounted, so it can be installed alongside bottle/can lines or even straddle them.
The ability of the ACI system to handle the company’s increased throughput of 600 bottles/min is illustrated by reduced instances of coding illegibility from 30% down to 3% and more accurate label placing, with no defects jumping from 50% up to 99.9%.
In addition, the JetPlates require minimal adjustment for different bottle sizes permitting rapid line change overs from one product to another. They can handle bottles ranging in size up to 3 litres. At the Woodchuck Cidery the bottle sizes are standard 12oz and 22oz bottles varying in colour from green, brown and clear bottles.
“We needed a new bottle drying system that could cope with our increased production,” said Russ Beatty, Quality Manager. “As well as coping with our higher production levels, the ACI system is more effective than our previous systems because coding and labelling standards have improved significantly.”