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Bottle and Can Processes

Can Washing

The can washing industry is a large user of spray nozzles within their production process. This is where the outside and inside of the can is cleaned to make sure the coating applied attires to the surface. The washing of cans is very similar to the cleaning process used in an automotive plant, as it usually consists of a six stage process commencing with a high volume cold water rinse.

The standard washer is a tunnel type construction, in which the cans are moved through by means of a conveyor system. The cans are introduced to the washer upside down on a mesh conveyor at a speed that can vary from 5 – 7.5m / min. The cleaning process is broken down into six stages / zones each having a different number or type of nozzles, for example in some plants they will select their nozzle quantity and type specifically in relation to the can size. The typical working pressure is from 0.5 – 3 bar.

The six step process

The washer has six stages in which different processes are performed;

  1. Pre-rinse stage - this can is then inverted for cleaning and is held down the for the first two stages of the process by a top mat
  2. Pre-rinse stage - General dirt removal
  3. Chemical Clean to remove grit and dirt
  4. Chemical Clean to remove grit and dirt
  5. Chemical Clean to remove grit and dirt
  6. Final rinse - wash with de-mineralised water

Bottle Washing:

Bottle washing is very similar to can washing, however instead of a six stage process it is normally three or four.

- The number of stages depends on twhether the bottle is  a returned one, or is newly manufactured. For a newly manufactured bottle the stages are:

1) Cold water rinse

2) Chemical Hot Wash

3) Hot or cold water rinse

For a returned bottle the stages are:

1) Cold water rinse

2) Hot water rinse

3) Chemical hot wash

4) Hot or Cold Water rinse

The bottle goes through the process standing on its base. After cleaning it is flipped over to drain away excess liquid and then, in some plants, goes through an air knife and a pre-heated oven for drying.

Most bottling plants will have a conveyor which takes between 20 and 30 bottles side by side

A spray manifold will spray the bottles as they pass under it and along the conveyor. Each bottle will be sprayed internally by a nozzle with a zero degree spray angle. In this case, the nozzle sprays directly down onto the bottle's internal base and then squirts back up onto the internal sides of the bottle. This means that if there are 20/30 bottles side by wide on the conveyor, each one has its own nozzle, at each stage.

The types of nozzles used for bottling are:

1) ACM 0 degree angle

2) AM 40-65 degrees


Conveying systems need to be lubricated in two different areas.

1)    The bearings and sprockets which help keep the conveyor moving - must be kept lubricated

2) The surface of the conveyor must be lubricated especially at stages where the conveyor changes. This is done to keep products moving and to reduce wear

3)  These change stages are known as transfer points. Up to 20 different transfer points will form part of a conveying systems although the actial number will depend on the type or process and the plant.

4)  Nozzles are used to provide either intermittent or continuous spraying of the lubricant

5)  Breweries are one example of the type of plant which uses a lot these types of systems.

6)  The types of nozzles used for the application are:

7)  - LF tip with body and cap

8)  - 1505 metering disc with body and cap