Water bottled in Kuwait has U.S. flavor

A portable bottling line housed in a 20’x8’x81¼2’ container is quenching the thirst of troops and personnel in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Started up in fall 2003, the 25 bpm self-contained line provides 1.5-L bottled water on-demand for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) troops and support personnel, according to AAFES Food and Theatre program manager Tom Wilson.

The portable operation can be moved as needed.

“It’s like a U.S. water bottling plant that just happens to be located outside the U.S.,” says Wilson. The line operators are International Bottled Water Assn.-trained civilians, Wilson points out.

The operation comprises two cargo containers, one from Culligan Intl., United Kingdom, containing a reverse-osmosis water purification system piped to the second container. It’s a HEPA filtered, Class 10ꯠ cleanroom that houses the bottling line. The straight-line bottling operation was assembled by Filler Specialties using its Model GWFS-63 filler-capper, a six-station volumetric filler and three-station capper that fills the bottles and applies the 28-mm screw cap. Upstream of the filler-capper is an Auto Labe Model 110 labeler with a 4’’ wrap station and infeed metering device that applies a pressure-sensitive label printed with the Culligan label. After labeling, the bottles go through a rinser.

Bottles are hand-fed onto a 3’’-wide conveyor that leads inside the bottling line container. Filled bottles exit the container and are hand-packed into boxes that are sealed on a semi-automatic taper. Boxes are then manually palletized.

“The line was intentionally made to be simple,” Wilson says. “There’s not a lot of maintenance available over there. So far it’s worked slick.”

Nightly, the systems are secured against bioterrorism, Wilson says: “Since it’s containerized, we can lock and seal everything up including steel plates over openings.

“The concept is a good one,” adds Wilson, “and we are considering a second, duplicate system.” —RL

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