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Hygienic conveyor reduces cleaning times

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article image FlexLink’s new hygienic conveyor system for Yakult.

FLEXLINK has completed final commissioning of a new hygienic conveyor system for handling empty plastic bottles at major dairy producer Yakult Australia, in Dandenong, Victoria.

Following its decision to launch 'Yakult Light' onto the Australian market, the company needed to extend their conveyor system to accommodate differences in packaging between their products.

This involved bypassing the existing printing station, by constructing a new line to transport the bottles from storage to the filling line via the new packaging machine.

Due to the nature of the product, strict hygiene standards must be met in production. These standards require all equipment is cleaned and sanitised prior to operation. The system therefore had to be resistant to liquid and chemicals and allow accessibility for cleaning and inspection purposes.

As factory tours are an integral part of Yakult's marketing strategy, the cleanliness and appearance of the equipment was also important for maintaining its reputation as a high quality, nutritious product.

The FlexLink system initially involves a bi-directional conveyor, which transfers the bottles to the existing line or the new labeling line for Yakult Light.

Once on the new line, bottles are transported in bulk on a FlexLink purpose-built, 115mm wide chain XB conveyor, which feeds the wrapping machine.

After the wrapping machine, bottles are elevated at 60° on a FlexLink XM cleated elevator and transported to the filling line on two high level conveyors.

The cleated elevator reduced the footprint of the installation, ensuring the necessary extensions were achieved without compromising the accessibility and operating of the line.

The system is equipped with a number of innovative solutions to ensure suitability for the demanding dairy industry according to FlexLink Systems, which has 25 years of experience in dairy applications.

The conveyor is based on stainless steel and has an open structure that can be effectively washed from underneath. It also employs protective covers and side plates to prevent contamination with the outside environment. This dramatically reduces the cleaning time required for the system.

Another advantage of the system is the chain is gentle on the product, which enabled Yakult to handle up to 2,000 bottles per minute, with minimal maintenance and no need for additional lubrication.

In addition to meeting stringent cleanliness demands, the installation presents an uncluttered and streamlined external appearance.

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