Like many brewers, Redhook receives its bottles in reshippers, each holding four paperboard carriers of six bottles each. Smoothly removing empty bottles from their cases and returning them after filling are critical functions. The interplay of three machines makes it all happen at the Portsmouth plant. Decasing and casing are both handled by machines supplied by Hartness (Greenville, SC). The bottles are easily accessed by these machines because all four case flaps are secured to case sides by corner tabs. It¹s the responsibility of the case closer, supplied by Hertel (Santa Rosa, CA), to slit the tabs before applying hot melt and compressing them closed. ³When we installed our line in Woodinville, WA, it incorporated just the second machine Hertel ever built,² says Redhook¹s Al Triplett. ³Both have been extremely reliable. They require almost no attention.² Case inspection is performed twice on the line, both times by a Filtec inspector from Industrial Dynamics (Torrance, CA). The first time, right after the uncaser, is when cases are inspected for bottles that might have been left behind and for parts of broken bottles, like the heel for instance. Cases are again inspected by a Filtec unit after the case packer, this time to make sure the right count is in the case. There are two other Filtec inspectors in the line. One, right after the rinser/filler/crowner block, checks for the presence of crowns and checks foam levels to determine if ambient air has been properly removed during filling. The other, after the labeler, checks final fill height.
Redhook Ale sinks East Coast roots (sidebar)
Case handling and inspection
Oct 31st, 1997
Videos from ITW HartnessView all videos