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Method and system for handling containers

Image Number 9 for United States Patent #7926243.

Method and system for handling a plurality of hot-filled and capped containers having temporary deformations or distortions caused by vacuums induced in the containers. For each container, temporary deformations are confined or directed to a particular portion of the container. Annular hoop rings can be provided to confine the temporary deformations to a smooth sidewall portion of the container between the annular hoop rings. Alternatively, one or more supplemental vacuum panels can be provided to confine or direct the temporary deformation thereto. The annular hoop rings and the one or more supplemental vacuum panels can provide for substantially stable touch points for the container. The containers are conveyed with temporary deformations such that substantially stable contact points of each container are in contact with corresponding substantially stable contact points of other containers. After the conveying, a moveable element in a bottom end of each container is activated substantially permanently to remove the vacuum in the container.

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