DrinkMore Custom Water is proud to have been selected by Crystal Light to assist with their Water Way Challenge. To spread the word about the Water Way Challenge, Crystal Light cruised to major hot spots in several U.S. cities with colorful convertibles. In each city, Crystal Light offered people the chance to convert to a bottle of water and Crystal Light. The Crystal Light teams handed out over twenty-two thousand bottles of water produced by DrinkMore Custom Water along with Crystal Light samples as part of the Water Way Challenge. Learn more at www.DeliciousChange.com.Click images to enlarge
June 2007, DrinkMore Custom Water’s new plant featured in Packaging Digest Magazine
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
SIDEBAR: Producing labels for short runs
Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor
DrinkMore Custom Water (DCW), Gaithersburg, MD, produces and sells polyethylene terephthalate bottles of water ranging in size from 12 oz to 1.5 L under its DrinkMore brand, but the majority of its business is the design, production and delivery of custom-labeled bottles of water to a wide range of clients nationwide. It produces orders both large and small, with the majority of the customers being commercial businesses, but it has produced custom-label water for weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, retirement parties and many other events, as well as for retailers looking to gain new business via label promotion. "We may run fifty different labels in one day, so the key to this operation is that we designed our labeling operation so that we can run as little as one case [24 bottles] for a customer, we can switch between different labels quickly, and we can print the labels for those short runs in-house," says DCW president John Walsh.
Clients that have purchased custom-labeled bottles include the U.S. Senate, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, VA, for sale at the Presidents Cup golf tournament, Microsoft Corp. and Best Buy.
DCW's sister company, Drinkmore Water, opened its first water store in Rockville, MD, in 1993 to produce ultra-purified water for its customers to transport home for consumption. In 1996, DrinkMore Water began delivering its ultra-purified water to homes and offices in the Greater Washington and Baltimore region, and now it has more than 12,000 customers. In 2006, the company moved to a 40,000 sq-ft facility in Gaithersburg, where it moved its 3- and 5-gal water line (information about this line will follow in a later issue) and added the new PET bottling line owned by DCW. It also installed a new, state-of-the-art water purification facility in the plant.
Packaging the filled bottles was a major concern for DCW, so it installed a Series IL Model PH32HL intermittent-motion shrink wrapper with a custom-built infeed from Polypack, Inc. (www.polypack.com). "We wanted to eliminate paperboard from our packages, and this machine can run most of our bottles, even in twent-four-packs, without trays or pads," says Walsh. "I've worked with Polypack for a number of years, and they've always done an excellent job for me. Their service is great. One morning, my old shrink wrapper's main driveshaft broke, and Polypack machined a new shaft that day and shipped it to me overnight, and we were up and running the next day. In this business, you have to have confidence in your suppliers, so I never even thought about anyone but Polypack."
DCW runs three pack configurations-a 2x3, a 3x4 and a 4x6. During PD's visit, the machine was running a 4x6 24-pack of 0.5-L PET bottles, which were supplied by Plastipak Packaging, Inc. (www.plastipak.com). The bottles enter the PH32HL wrapper through four lane dividers, and when sensors above the lanes detect that the lanes are full, a gate releases six rows of bottles for packaging. A sensor triggers a motorized pusher assembly to push the bottles through the wrapping section of the machine, and the bottle-feeding process is repeated. A paperboard-pad dispenser from MGS Machine Corp. (www.mgsmachine.com) is mounted in front of the film curtain and will place a pad on a popup plate before each group of bottles enters the plate, if the plant is running a pack that requires the paperboard pad.
Two rolls of film are mounted on the end of the machine and enter the machine perpendicular to the direction of infeed-bottle travel. The 3-mil, high-clarity PE film is supplied by Film Source Intl. (www.filmsourceinternational.com), a Polypack affiliate. Each layer of film passes over a series of dancer bars that feed it into the wrapper. The bottles are pushed through the film curtain and travel on top of the bottom layer through the wrapping section, while the top layer travels concurrently above the bottles. The leading edges of the two pieces are heat-sealed together as the group leaves the wrapper. This simultaneously seals the back edges of the two layers of film on the leading group of bottles and the leading edges of the film on the following group. The seal bar also cuts the film apart between groups of bottles. Multiple sensors throughout the wrapper monitor the operation and shut down the machine and trigger an alarm if any problems occur. For example, if the bottle pusher takes too long to travel through the wrapping section, it will initiate the shutdown and alarm. The bottles then enter the shrink tunnel, which tightly shrinks the film around the bottles and creates a very tight bundle.
The wrapper incorporates a programmable-logic controller from Telemecanique (www.telemecanique.com), as well as a color-touchscreen operator interface with message display and self diagnostics. The unit includes preprogrammed settings for conveyor speeds, timing and temperature settings for fast, accurate setup when changing products.
To start the packaging operation, the PET bottles, which are delivered on pallets, are dumped into the floor hopper of an M-500 unscrambler from Pace Packaging Corp. (www.pacepkg.com). An elevator lifts the bottles into a rotating disc that discharges them into the standup unit in a horizontal position. If the bottles are oriented with the bottom end leading, they discharge in an upright position onto the next conveyor. If the bottles are oriented with the top, open end leading, a hook flips them over so the closed end is leading, and they are then stood up on the takeaway conveyor.
The bottles are delivered to a monobloc RFC24-24-8 rinser/filler/capper from Linker Equipment Corp. (www.linkercorp.com) that is installed inside a Class 100,000 clean room manufactured by Clean Air Products (www.cleanairproducts.com). The room includes five overhead, high-efficiency particulate air-filter units, which maintain a positive pressure in the room, and there is also controlled entry to optimize sanitation. The 24-24-8 designation means the rinser has 24 heads, the filler has 24 heads, and the capper has eight heads. The system incorporates Linker's neck-handling system, which includes a 20-ft infeed section of air conveyor and modifications to the rinser/filler/capper to handle PET bottles by the neck. This eliminates most change requirements for different bottle sizes, because the system only requires bottle-diameter changeparts for large variations in diameter. DCW takes advantage of this feature by being able to run 12-, 16.9- 20- and 24-oz bottles with the same set of changeparts in the machine.
Sensors on the infeed air conveyor change the speed of the system to accommodate the bottles entering the unit. If a bottle is missing on the conveyor, a shift register tracks the empty position through the system, stops product from dispensing and prevents the release of a cap at the relevant position. A sensor in the cap chute rejects an upside down cap in the chute. The system is equipped with a PLC and an operator panel from Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com).
Bottles leaving the cleanroom have their lot code and production date imprinted on their shoulders by an ink-jet printer from (BOD)Imaje (www.imaje.com) and travel past an accumulation table from Arrowhead Conveyor Corp. (www.arrowheadsystems.com), which also supplied the tabletop conveyors throughout the line. The bottles pass through a single-filing section and travel to the labeling area.
Immediately before the bottles enter the labeler, there is a photoeye counter and pneumatic gate. The operator enters the exact number of bottles required for an order into the counter, and the gate actuates and admits the set number of bottles. It stops the bottle flow once the desired count is reached. Once the gate closes, the operator switches labeling heads, resets the counter and resumes labeling operations with the new label in less than a minute. The labels are supplied by Discount Labels (www.discountlabels.com).
Bottles leaving the labeler are conveyed to the shrink wrapper as described previously, and the finished packs are manually palletized.
More information is available:
DrinkMore Custom Water to Provide Custom Water to Presidents Cup Golf Tournament.
September, 2005. DrinkMore Custom Water is proud to announce that it has been selected to provide all of the custom labeled bottled water for the prestigious Presidents Cup golf tournament to be held September 20-25 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, VA. The water will be used for concessions, as well as for the tee box coolers for consumption by the players. The order is in excess of 4,000 cases.
Congratulations to the United States Team.
September 25, 2005. DrinkMore Custom Water would like to congratulate the United States Team for their thrilling victory over the International Team in the Presidents Cup.
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DrinkMore Custom Water’s Senate Label Water on the World’s Stage.
September, 2005. DrinkMore Custom Water was pleased to see that the U.S. Senate labeled water we provide to the Senate was enjoyed during the confirmation hearings for Judge Roberts.
DrinkMore Custom Water Announces Second Project for Microsoft Corporation.
September, 2005. DrinkMore Custom Water is proud to announce their second contract to supply custom labeled Microsoft water. The two labels produced are displayed below.
DrinkMore Custom Water customizes its fleet of vehicles.
April, 2005. DrinkMore Custom Water had its fleet of vehicles wrapped in graphics, incorporating a design that included graphics on both the cab and body of the trucks as shown in the photo below:
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DrinkMore Custom Water assists Best Buy with the launch of its
new Government and Education Division.