A Liquid Packaging Overview
A Liquid Packaging Overview
For those of us that manufacture packaging machinery, setting up a system for a liquid product is almost second nature. We know what questions to ask, which machines will work best and where custom designs may be necessary. For someone just entering the field of packaging liquids, setting up a packaging line can be daunting, to say the least. This is why, at Liquid Packaging Solutions, we don't just build the machinery, but we walk through the process with our customers so they understand what they are getting and why it is the best option for their packaging process. Below is a quick overview of some of the main packaging machinery as well as some of the factors in choosing between the different options.
1. Filling Machines
For liquid products, the filling machine may be the most important piece of packaging equipment, though arguments can be made for every other machine as well. The liquid filler is the one machine that moves the product from a holding tank to the bottles or other containers. Product viscosity is an important factor in choosing the correct filling principle for a packaging line. In other words, thin products may use a different filling machine than thick products. The production demands and space available for the packaging line will also help a packager choose from fully automatic, semi-automatic or even tabletop versions of bottle fillers.
2. Capping Machines
Of course, once the product is in the bottle or other container, it must be secured. This can be done in a number of ways, though the most common is with some type of screw on cap or lid. Capping machines for screw on closures will take the form of a spindle capper or a chuck capper. This equipment can also be manufactured as a fully automated machine or, for lower demand packaging needs, as semi-automatic or tabletop equipment. Of course, other closures do exist, and different bottle cappers will be used for non-screw on type caps. The type of cap will determine the machine and the speed necessary will determine the automation level.
3. Labeling Equipment
Labeling equipment is important in that it allows a packager to introduce his or her product to the consumer. From logos and photos to expiration dates, nutritional information and more, the label can inform and catch the eye. Probably the most popular type of labeling machine is the pressure sensitive labeler, which in general terms is a sticker on backing paper. Pressure sensitive labelers can apply labels to bottles and other containers in a number of different formats, including wrapping them around a bottle, placing them on the front or back or a bottle or even sticking labels on three panels of a square bottle. Obviously the type of container being used will have a direct bearing on the type of label applied.
4. Container Cleaning Equipment
While not everyone will use bottle rinsing machines, for some industries they are a must. Container cleaning equipment is used to remove contaminants from bottles before the introduction of the product. As you might guess, foods, beverages, medicine and other products that are ingested will almost always include some type of bottle cleaner on the packaging line. Water, air and other cleaning solutions can be used to rinse bottles and prepare them for the product being filled. Container cleaning equipment is also available in semi-automatic models for those facilities with low to medium production demands.
5. Conveyor Systems
Any automated packaging system will need a power conveyor system to move containers from one packaging machine to the next, or the efficiency of the individual machines is all for naught. Power conveyors can be made with several different materials, though stainless steel is the norm. Of course, some products and environments do not interact well with stainless, and aluminum or even HDPE may be used for these situations. Conveyor styles vary from low profile and simple C-frame designs to sanitary designs and custom conveyors for special projects. These systems can be designed to move product in a straight line or can incorporate curved sections or turntables to maneuver around obstructions or objects when necessary. Conveyor belting may also vary for different projects or products and can include anti-static belt, heat resistant belt and more.
Of course, this information only scratches the surface of the considerations to be taken into account when setting up a packaging line. This may also be old news for packaging veterans, but we understand that not everyone using our equipment is a veteran! If you would like more information on our products and services, feel free to give our Packaging Specialists a call at our toll free number: