Friday, March 11, 2011

Bottled Water Tip #8

Bottled Water Tip #8


The task of setting up a bottled water plant that will run smoothly and efficiently is critical if you want to ensure long-term profitability, and maintain a clean and updated operation. You'll want to organize your workflow to make optimal use of your available floor space and minimize production time, from pretreatment to packing.

You can set up your production line in a variety of ways to make the best use of your space and to place equipment that will maximize employee efficiencies.

The following is a suggested arrangement that works well in most operational settings, whether you're bottling large 3-to-5-gallon bottles for home and office delivery or the small PET bottles for retail distribution or private label applications.

Pretreatment

Depending on your water source, you may need to pre-treat with an activated carbon filter to remove tastes, odors and chlorine. An ion-exchange water softener will remove minerals that can cause "hard" water, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can create scale residues in distillation systems and impair their operation.

Purification system

There are several methods for purifying the water before it enters the bottling line, including reverse osmosis, which runs the water through a membrane system; and distillation, which uses heat to turn the water to steam, and cold to condense steam back to water.

With either system, activated carbon, post-filtration, will further improve the purified water by filtering out any remaining volatile gas contaminants that may not have been totally removed by the purification process.

Product water storage tanks

The resulting "product water" then goes to storage tanks that feature ultra-smooth inside walls to eliminate rough surfaces that can harbor bacteria and contaminate the source of water used to fill bottles.

Ozone treatment

Post-treatment of the water prior to bottling with ozone injection helps maintain water freshness and taste, ultimately ensuring that the water remains bacteria-free.

Washer/rinser

Next in line is a bottle washer/rinser, which is critical to the sanitation process of large bottles used in home and office delivery business that may have been exposed to many undesirable elements. It's also important with new bottles, whether manufactured in-house with a blow-molder, or shipped from a bottle manufacturer. Either way, bottles must be rinsed.

Bottle filler/capper/labeler

Bottle fillers are manufactured with stainless steel and other food-grade materials to ensure that the treated and purified water remains sanitized during the bottling process. Once filled, capped and labeled, bottles are ready for packaging.

While a production line as described here can be assembled component-by-component from a variety of equipment manufacturers, the most efficient is a turnkey plant from a single source. This guarantees component compatibility and single-source solutions to any operational or maintenance problems that may occur.