A bottle conveyor is a type of manufacturing equipment used to transport bottles through a factory or bottling plant. While it shares many features with a standard conveyor belt, the bottle conveyor requires a specialized design to hold the bottles upright and prevent spills. These conveyors are often incorporated into an assembly line system, which includes filling, labeling and packing equipment used to complete the bottling process. Different types of bottle conveyors can be used to move bottles in a variety of sizes and shapes, and some are even adjustable to hold a variety of bottle designs. A bottle conveyor can be found at facilities that produce beverages and soft drinks, as well as non-potable liquids like chemicals and household cleaners.
Bottle conveying systems often use a standard belt or chain, similar to those found on any conveyor belt. A motor is used to rotate a series of axles, which then move the belt on a chain to transport materials. On a bottle conveyor, the top of the belt area must be customized to hold bottles securely, and to keep them aligned with filling and labeling equipment. This may be accomplished through the use of adjustable side rails along the edges of the belt, or with fixed compartments arranged on the surface of the belt.
A single bottle conveyor can be used to carry bottles all the way through an assembly line, or multiple belts may be used independently, depending on the system. In a large bottling plant, for example, workers unload empty bottles onto the start of the belt. From here, the belt carries the bottles on through a sanitation or vacuum area, where machines clean the bottles or vacuum them to create a negative pressure. The belt then transports the bottles to an in-line or rotary filling machine. From here, the belt moves the bottles on to another machine, where they are capped, labeled, and packaged for shipping.
Bottle conveyors must be carefully monitored to ensure that bottles don't tip over and jam the machinery. Some feature manual sensors that automatically stop the belt and all related equipment if a bottle tips over. Others incorporate an ejection system that discards misshapen or fallen bottles through openings along the sides of the conveyor. In a small bottling plant, employees may be required to monitor the conveyor to prevent jams, particularly along areas where problems are likely to occur.
These types of conveyors can be found in many types of manufacturing facilities, including those that bottle soft drinks or spring water. Breweries and wineries also rely on bottle conveyors to package these beverages. Companies that produce chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other liquids may also use a bottle conveyor to transport goods throughout a factory.