Gallo Wineries

E&J Gallo Wineries

Concept to prototype

Project: Bottle Laner

Duration: 10.18.06-3.03.07

Sponsor: E&J Gallo Wineries and Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Synopsis: E&J Gallo Wineries has a standing relationship with WPI through Professor Holly K. Ault and Professor Henry W. Nowick. Mechnical engineering students work as engineering interns for Gallo as they fulfill a degree requirement working toward completion of the Major Qualifying Project (MQP), a senior thesis project. Gallo has several projects/problems to which the students are introduced and begin preliminary research work on campus, comprising half of the allotted project time. The second half of the project is spent at Gallo’s facility. The scope of work includes, but not limited to, conceptual design, a design report and recommendations.

Gallo had downtime issues with one of the mechanisms on several of their bottling lines. Because of the production bottling rate increases, the packaging process could not keep up. Gallo installed two packaging process machines, thus creating a need to divide the bottles into two streams. Gallo installed a system intended for bottle rejection which worked well, but was not designed for the high cyclic rates demanded. The ‘bottle laner’ system, though effective, experienced a short life span resulting in high maintenance costs.

Gallo requested a proposal for the redesign of the bottle laner that decreased downtown and thus maintenance costs. It was necessary that the system be integrated seamlessly into existing conveyance and system controls infrastructure. The redesign should not increase bottle breakage and be safe to use in an FDA regulated facility. The overall system cost must be less than the current system. Maintenance costs and downtown must be decreased. The new system should not impose a large learning curve for either line workers or maintenance personnel.

Goal Statement

Design a means of splitting one high-speed single-file line of bottles into two independent single-file lines that reduces downtime and maintenance costs of current installed system.

Project Specs

  1. NOT cost more than $20,000 in parts, or more than $10,000 in installation.
  2. Reduce maintenance costs for the current $10,000/year.
  3. NOT damage or scuff bottles or labels.
  4. Allow for either packer lane to be utilized independently.
  5. This would require the mechanism to remain in either the ‘on’ or ‘off’ position for extended time if necessary.
  6. Accommodate for variable line speeds.
  7. Be frequency adjustable.
  8. Follow food handling guidelines and regulations.
  9. Be actuated without interfering with bottles.
  10. Be able to redirect bottles moving with a kinetic energy of 0.5-1.0 Joules.
  11. Be sustainable with routine maintenance.
  12. Fit in the existing system’s footprint.
  13. NOT cause downed bottles.
  14. NOT present a safety hazard to employees during operation or maintenance.
  15. Click for full specs……


Full mathematical analysis is conducted on the system using MathCAD before the prototype is built. Click here to explore the mathematics behind the design.


Video of the final tests of the designed laner device. Click here for full sized video…

Jimboid Billaner – Front from William Caruso on Vimeo.

Jimboid Billaner – Overhead from William Caruso on Vimeo.

Explore the Design

Click the thumbnail at the left to begin the tour. This photo gallery provides a detailed walk through of the design and the process used to obtain the final product. Once inside, click on the first picture to start the tour from the beginning and navigate with the arrows. The captions will provide a detailed explanation of the design. You may leave the tour at any point by hitting escape. You may also start the tour at any point.

  1. #1 by Jimbo on 08/05/2009 - 10:26 pm

    This brings back some memories. That slideshow thing at the end is pretty slick I must say.

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