Automatic Liquid Fillers - Control Via Interface Screens
Almost all automatic filling machines will include an operator interface, a screen found on the control panel that allows the operator of the filler to set up all the filler parameters using a touchscreen. In other words, though the machine fills automatically, the interface allows the human to it how to fill! Though every project is different, almost every filling machine will many of the same screens, though the options on these screens may vary. Below are the most common screens and a brief description of the purpose of each screen.
The Main Screen provides navigation for the operator of the filler. Each of the subscreens can be reached from the Main Screen, and it may be thought of as a Home Screen. In addition to navigation, the Main Screen will also typically include general information such as total production, infeed count for each cycle and more.
MANUAL TOGGLE SCREEN
THe Manual Toggle Screen allows an operator to take manual control of certain components of an automatic filling machine. These components, or functions, might include opening and closing indexing gates, starting and stopping a pump, lowering or raising fill heads or many other controls depending on the project at hand. The Manual Toggle Screen is normally used for troubleshooting, replacing parts or set up and changeover of the machine and will not come in to play during production when the machine is running automatically.
FILLER SET UP SCREEN
The Filler Set Up Screen lets an operator turn different components of the filling machine on or off during production. For example, a drip tray or bottle neck grabbers may be turned on and off for different products or bottles. This screen also allows choices for certain functions as well. The indexing type for the machine must be selected, and machines will usually only use one type of indexing, so a number of these settings may not change over the life of the machine.
ADJUST PRE-SETS SCREEN
The Adjust Pre-Sets Screen is the means to set all of the delay and duration times that make up a fill cycle on the automatic machine. While the fill times are one aspect of the fill cycle, the Adjust Pre-Sets Screen will include settings for the duration of an indexing pin in the open or close position or a delay in the diving or retracting of a fill head. Generally speaking, this screen allows the user to fine-tune the operation of the screen.
ADJUST FILL HEADS/TIMES SCREEN
Somewhat self-explanatory, the Adjust Fill Heads/Times Screen allows the operator to set the amount of time for the actual release of product in to the bottles or containers. Depending on the machine type, the fill times may be set for each head individually or the fill time may control the opening of a single valve or the start and stop of a pump. This screen ensures that the fills are both consistent and reliable while the machine is running in automatic mode.
The Recipe Screen is used to save all of the settings that have been mentioned above, as well as any others that may need to be put in place for a given liquid filler. Finding the correct times and settings can be a time-consuming and tedious process, especially for those not used to working with automatic packaging machinery. This screen allows the operator to recall all settings for a given bottle and product combination with the push of a button, and multiple recipes can be saved. In many cases, the machine will come from Liquid Packaging Solutions factory pre-set with recipes when customer bottles and product are provided to LPS for testing, making the operation of the machine as simple as possible when it reaches the production floor.
Most automatic bottle fillers will also include an alarm screen to assist in troubleshooting should a issue occur. If production ceases for any reason, the alarm screen will flash a message in an attempt to help the operator locate the origin of the alarm. Once the alarm screen is set off, the operator will need to clear the issue and reset the machine to begin production once again, adding a component of safety to the equipment as well.
All filler screens will also include certain main controls for the automatic liquid filler, as well as some On or Off settings for components such as conveyors, turntables and other auxiallary equipment. The operator interface brings all of the controls for the filling process to a centralized location to help to assist in quick, efficient and consistent performance.