Although the non-returnable bottles are virtually sterile when received by the manufacturer, they must undergo a relatively simple rinsing. The bottles often contain particles called "case dust," which cause foaming problems during filling since the dust particles act as nucleation sites. The cleaning is accomplished by turning the bottles upside down and spraying inside and outside several times before returning the bottles to the upright position for filling. Steam is usually jetted into the bottle followed by a purge of sterile air to ensure sterility by killing microorganisms.
Types of Bottle Rinsers
Bottle rinsers are used to sanitize and remove warehouse dust from bottles prior to filling. There are three types of bottle rinsers-twist, gripper, and rotary.
Most craft breweries use twist rinsers. These use a set of belt drives to feed the bottles into a set of rails which twist and invert the bottle as it passes over a set of spray nozzles which spray into it.
Gripper style rinsers can handle various bottle sizes and shapes without parts having to be changed and are generally used in larger lines.
Rotary rinsers are compact as well, and are known for their smooth bottle handling.
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