FerrarelleSpA deals with the bottling and distribution of mineral waters, both nationally and internationally. This industrial production process requires relative humidity to remain above a certain threshold, so as to prevent evaporation of the water contained in the lubricant used to run the bottles along the conveyor belts. If humidity is too low, the water evaporates causing the bottles to fall off the lines. This means machine downtime and a consequent decline in efficiency.
At its DarfoBoario Terme plant, in northern Italy, problems were found in the production lines due to excessively low relative humidity. The chosen solution was an in-room humidification system, which both meets the requirements and achieves the desired objectives.
From collection to delivery of the water
The various stages in the process include the production of plastic bottles using PET (polyethylene terephthalate) preforms, bottling and closing, labelling, packaging and storage. Special conveyor belts move the products between the different stations on the production line; these are constantly lubricated so as to ensure correct flow of the bottles, placed upright and close to each other. If humidity is low, the properties of the lubricant degrade and the bottles overturn; the machinery then needs to be stopped so as to return them to the correct position. Consequently, it is essential to maintain relative humidity above 35 per cent, to avoid production line stoppages.
In-room adiabatic humidification
The plant covers an area of about 50 x 70 m. The AHUs installed for air change have fabric distribution ducts, and therefore a ducted humidification system was not possible. CAREL thus proposed an in-room system, comprising a pumping station with a capacity of 80 l/h, and five blowers, divided into two zones. The required set point is around 45 per cent for relative humidity and between 15-18C for the temperature. The winter months are the most critical, as outside temperatures are low and relative humidity falls significantly due to the air being heated before entering the production area.
Complete and efficient solution
As humidification is direct, correct design of the installation is essential, and was carefully evaluated by CAREL personnel. The humidification system was installed in the most critical area of the plant, where the main production lines are located. The pumping station, on the other hand, was installed close to the equipment compartment for convenience in terms of installation, wiring and maintenance.