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Hygienic conveyor system commissioned

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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 its conveyor system to accommodate differences in packaging between the company’s 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 that 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 labelling line for Yakult Light.

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

After the wrapping machine, bottles are elevated at 60° on a cleated elevator, and transported to the filling line on two high level conveyors. The cleated elevator reduced the footprint of the installation, ensuring that the necessary extensions were achieved without compromising the accessibility and operating of the line.

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 reduces the cleaning time required for the system.

Another advantage of the system is that 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.

FlexLink 03 9542 4402.

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