Basic Troubleshooting for the Overflow Filling Machine
Overflow filling machines are one of the most popular pieces of packaging equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc. Though simple to operate, there are times when issues arise and solutions are not immediately obvious. Over the years, technicians at LPS have seen a pattern to troubleshooting these machines. Typically, there exists a simple explanation and a quick fix for issues that arise with the liquid fillers. While the following issues do not cover every conceivable scenario, they do seem to be the most common.
FILLS NOT LEVEL
Given that the overflow filler is manufactured to fill each and every bottle to the same level, cycles that do not achieve this goal can become quickly frustrating for a packager. Luckily, when fills are not coming out level, LPS has found that some very simple adjustments will almost always correct the issue. To start from the beginning, the packager should always check the machine itself to ensure that it sits level on the production floor. If the bottle filler is not level, there is a danger that the fills themselves will not be level as well. Though not as common as some of the solutions to come, a machine that is not level has been the culprit on occasions where equipment has just been moved, modified or just had maintenance performed.
Along the same lines, when changeover occurs from one bottle to another on a packaging line, sometimes the spacers on each nozzle will also need to be switched as a part of the changeover. It is always a good idea to ensure the correct spacers are on each nozzle when fill levels are uneven. A quick check of fill times may also correct the problem, especially when moving to a larger container. If the fill times are not adjusted, there may not be enough overflow time to result in a level fill. Finally, operators should do a visual inspection of the nozzles and tubes to ensure there are no leaks or blockages that may be affected the flow of the liquid.
HEAD DIVE NOT WORKING
Another issue that will arise from time to time with the overflow filling machine is a head dive that will not raise or lower for some reason. While this can be a mechanical problem, more times than not the solution lies in one of two other areas. Air lines that control the dive may have a leak or even become disconnected, again most commonly after a changeover, move or maintenance. Check all airlines as well as the air compressor to ensure all connections are secure and that compressed air is supplied to the machine.
When working with an automatic bottle filler, operators will also want to check the touchscreen PLC for the correct settings. The manual toggle and filler set up screens will often include controls for the head dive, and should typically be set to On or Auto. If the settings are not correct - for example the head dive is set to the dive, or down, position for changeover - then the machine will not perform correctly. In these cases, the operator simply needs to touch a button to reach the correct setting and start again with production.
EXCESS FOAM IN BOTTLES
Finally, overflow fillers are often the best solution for products that foam. The overflow principle helps to control the foam while allowing for the level fill in each bottle. From time to time, packagers will run into a situation where foam remains in the bottles even after the fill cycle is complete. More often than not, this too can be corrected with one of two solutions. First, a simple increase in fill time may be necessary to allow for the foam to overflow out of the bottles. Packagers should first try a slight increase in fill times to see if this corrects the problem. If not, operators of the overflow filler may want to again check the spacers to ensure that the nozzles are hitting the correct or desired depth in the containers, also checking the final fill level in the bottle.
Of course, if any or all of these issues are not solved using the troubleshooting techniques above, LPS technicians are always on standby to assist in diagnosing the issue. Technicians can be reached during regular business hours by calling the toll-free number found at the top of the LPS website.