Chivas gets a whisky boost

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Chivas Brothers, the scotch whisky and gin company of Pernod Ricard, has increased production efficiency at its Kilmalid bottling facility in Dumbarton near Glasgow in a bid to achieve its aim of becoming the global leader in the premium scotch sector.

The facility, which plays a key role in the distribution of brands including Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Beefeater Gin, has undergone an upgrade to its line 15 bottling line.

The company originally installed eight automatic case palletisers three years ago, and the upgrade of bottling line 12 to include an automatic bottle de-palletiser.

Chivas enlisted Pro Handling Solutions, the agent for Lita Srl of Turin, Italy, to undertake the work.

PHS is based in Worcestershire and overlooked Chivas’ requirements of high speed tapered bottles and a very light envelope before choosing a Lita Metro de-palletiser, which allows the operator to pit a pallet of glass on the in-feed conveyor by forklift truck, then key the glass type and pallet code into the HMI. The pallet is then automatically conveyed into the de-palletiser.

The layer trays are automatically removed by a pneumatic robotic arm which lifts the tray and drops it in a discharge chute to be collated by the operator for recycling.

The layers of bottles are swept onto the discharge table, which can run at a rate of up to 250 bottles per minute if required.

On some premium glass the bottle dividers are removed manually by the operator. Bottles are powered through 90 degrees and transferred in single file on to the line bottling conveyors.

When all the layers are swept off the empty pallets are automatically stacked ten high and removed by fork lift truck.

PHS project manager Geoff Hunt chose to do as much commissioning and product trials in Turin as physically possible to minimise the installation and commissioning time at Kilmalid.

Pallet loads of glass were shipped to Turin and extensive trials with Chivas’ project team were completed prior to delivery of the system to Scotland.

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