JBT has announced the commercial launch of the Hybrid Layer Pad, a unique, innovative solution for improved handling of delicate glass containers in baskets during sterilization. Developed for agitating retorts, the Hybrid Layer Pad has been specifically designed to securely hold irregularly shaped glass containers during rocking or end-over-end agitation, meaning containers look as good after the process as when they first enter the retort.
As JBT’s Global Product Line Director for Retort & Rotary, Rick Wilson, explains, the system has been designed to better handle layers of – typically uneven sized – glass containers when they go through the sterilization process. “Certain products, such as coffee drinks in a glass bottle, can vary in height, while also having lids with lithograph prints that can rub off on contact with a hard surface,” says Wilson.
To overcome this challenge, the Hybrid Layer Pad has a spongy rubber material on one side combined with a stiff metal base on the other side. The rubber both protects the sensitive lithograph cap from damage, and also – when the layer pad is compressed on top of all the bottles – will take the variability of the bottle height and hold them securely. The stiff metal base allows layers of containers to be swept off during unloading and prevents container sagging at the edges of the basket.
“This is a very unique layer pad, which has taken years to develop,” says Wilson. “It increases the quality of the product on the shelf and potentially eliminates the risk of breakage or damaged packaging that can’t be sold.
“We’ve taken a metal sheet and bonded it with a rubber material; a bond which is not compromised by the 250°F steam water spray retort application, so we’ve got a proprietary solution which is unique.”