Drying system for bottles exiting a steam tunnel on a shrink sleeve process.
In 2018, SolvAir worked with a French culinary herb producer to design, build and install a fully-bespoke dual-use Air Knife drying system. This new system meant that our client could now process different products on the same production line, which saved them considerable time, space and money when compared to using multiple drying systems.
“This system presented a unique design challenge – we needed to come up with something new, something that could successfully manage a mixture of different bottles and bags without lengthy downtime or modifications. Our 3-in-1 successfully achieved this, culminating in an effective drying system with an operator-friendly easy changeover feature.”
We worked with a French culinary herb producer who is also a well-established, leading international brand. They specialise in a variety of produce, including frozen herbs, dehydrated herbs, herb pastes, aromatic herbs and fresh dry herbs.
Our client wanted to be able to process different products on the same production line. With large differences in the product sizes that the client wanted to manage, with bulk bag dimensions of 400mm x 560mm x 60mm high and bottle heights ranging from 146mm upto 290mm.
A conveyor belt for bottles is normally different in design to a conveyor belt used for a bulk bag – and the choice of belt design would be usually different also. Normally, this problem would be addressed by the inclusion of an additional production line with two distinct Air Knife systems, which would mean significant financial commitment for the client. We approached this wanting to find a solution that would eliminate the downtime and cost that comes from having multiple drying systems.
Working with our client, we designed a single system that could be easily modified to deal with different products with different requirements.
Our proposed system included a Paxton AT700 5.5kW High Speed Centrifugal blower located within an acoustically lined enclosure above the process line.
High impact linear Air Knives were used, produced from 304 grade stainless steel. Air knives were positioned to deliver a constant stream of air, directed onto the product, and shearing the moisture from the product surface.
For the bottle drying we used two 500mm long side knives, and to deal with the bulk bags we used 494mm Air Knives, one positioned above the bag and one below. The lower air knife was installed into the conveyor so its airstream would be directed through the conveyor belt.
A wire mesh belt was included to support the moving products, whilst having a large free area to provide the least resistance to the drying airstream. This type of wire mesh belt also enables effective drainage. Water removed by the system is collected in the lower drip tray and discharged via drain pipework.
Our final system, as well as giving our client the ability to process different objects on the same line, also came with additional benefits, such as:
SolvAir were delighted to be able to come up with a system that was able to effectively deal with multiple products on a single line. In this case, the system we built was able to manage quick and simple changes between one product and the next via a simple set of step by step adjustments requiring no tools.