Adjustments for Filling Large and Small Bottles
More often than not, packagers will fill more than one size of bottle or other container. From sample size to family size, the range of packages for a single product can vary greatly. Of course, this means that filling machines need to be manufactured to handle a range of container sizes as well, for products both thick and thin. Using a number of different components and techniques, filling machines can handle bottles both large and small. While some ranges may be too great for one machine to handle, in almost all cases, the filler can be built to run all of a packager's bottles.
First, the fill bar on the filler can be manufactured in different lengths to allow for both narrow and wide bottles to be filled. Fill heads are easily adjustable using a simple hand knob in most cases, allowing the packager to re-position heads close together or at wider distances. The simple changeover typically requires no tools and can be completed in a matter of minutes.
In some cases, fill heads themselves may be larger than the width of smaller bottles, making it difficult to align bottles under the heads. The simple technique of filling every other bottle will still allow for smaller bottles to be filled in these situations. Some simple changes to indexing may also be necessary when every other bottle is filled, but this change will normally be easily achieved on the touchscreen interface on an automatic machine. Indexing on semi-automatic machines is usually done manually, meaning no changes would be necessary on a semi-automatic or tabletop machine.
Different bottle heights will also require adjustments to the fill heads as well. On automatic machines, power height adjustments let the operator hold a switch to move heads up and down to accommodate tall or short bottles allowing for quick and easy adjustments. Semi-automatic machines that do not include a power height adjustment require an operator to make hand adjustments, such as a crank wheel, to move heads up and down.
Rail adjustments may also be necessary when changing bottle sizes as well. Most systems using a conveyor allow an operator to loosen hand knobs, adjust rails and re-tighten the knob. This quick adjustment ensures smooth movement of bottles into and out of the fill area without rattling, breaking, splashing or other issues.
Finally, fill times will obviously vary when working with ounces versus gallons. Automatic machines let the operator change fill times and other settings on the touchscreen interface. Once the correct times are entered, a recipe can be saved, meaning fill cycle settings can be recalled with the touch of a button. These recipes may be set prior to delivery to the production floor when bottles and product are supplied to Liquid Packaging Solutions for testing.
Overall, adjustments to filling machines for small or large bottles are all made to be quick and easy, reducing downtime and allowing for a more efficient filling process. To questions about bottles ranges and adjustments, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today to discuss your own filling project.