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Automated cleaning line for returnable crates

The cleaning of the returnable plastic crates was a challenge for a large bakery company. Safeguarding of the cleanliness of crates while keeping the energy consumption at a minimum were obvious requirements. To manage the high number of crates and a variety of sizes within the limited space available required delicately designed automation. FlexLink delivered a turnkey installation that solved all issues.

To automate a complete cleaning process of different sized returnable plastic crates in limited space.

A turnkey, automated crate cleaning line, from de-stacking, washing and sorting to storage.

Efficient use of space, no heavy lifting for operators, increased capacity and savings in costs for power and water.

Energy saving cleaning process

At the beginning of the line, stacks of returned crates are fed to a de-stacker where each crate is placed upside down and emptied of remaining bread crumbs and other loose particles. Next step is the spiral box washer, a patented system operating without any chemicals, which efficiently cleans the crates with less than half the water and power consumption, compared to today’s standard solutions.

Automatically sorted by size

After cleaning, the crates pass through a drier and get sorted by size before being stacked and stored. The automated storage is then distributing crate sacks in accordance to demand.

Turnkey solution

FlexLink has delivered a system that uses the space available with a smart layout using overhead conveyors and compact handling functions. At the same time, the automated handling releases operators entirely from manual lifting and radically improves the working environment.
  • A destacker separates and empties the crates.
  • In the spiral washer the crates pass through a washing line 38 metres long. The washing output is up to 3,000 crates/hour.
  • The cleaned crates are sorted by height on the distribution switch.