Bottle Fillers for Dressings and Sauces
From time to time we talk about certain packaging machines that tend to recur in an industry or for a certain type of product. For example, an automatic bottled water line will almost always include an overflow filling machine and a spindle capper. Though there will always be exceptions to the rule, most line designs for bottled water will start with these machines, and change based only on unique components or circumstances. However, when products of the same type can range in viscosity and ingredients, there will not always be such an obvious starting point.
Unlike water, food dressings and sauces fall in to the category of products that can range from thin, free-flowing liquids to thicker sauces with vegetable chunks, spices or other particulates. As such, it is important to understand the product that is being packaged before choosing the best filling machine to complete the task. Certain salad dressings do have water like consistencies, and as such can be handled by the same overflow filling machine that would be used on a bottled water line. This machine works well for many salad dressings as the overflow principle fills bottles to a certain level, and many salad dressings are packaged in transparent containers. For low viscosity dressings with small particulates, the overflow may still work.
As viscosity increases or particulates get larger, the overflow filler may not be efficient or effective in filling containers. For instance, a tomato or spaghetti sauce may not only be thicker, but may also include chunks of meat, tomato or other vegetables. These chunks would not be able to pass through the unique nozzles used on an overflow filling machine. More often than not, a piston filler would be used to provide a volumetric fill while also allowing larger particulates to flow into the bottle or jar. This type of filling machine uses a cylinder and piston to complete the filling process. Product enters the cylinder as the piston retracts to open up space and flows into the bottles when the piston returns to the cylinder, forcing product out through the nozzles. Since the cylinder volume does not change from cycle to cycle, volume will change very little from cycle to cycle, and the wide open space of the cylinder, combined with certain types of nozzles, allows the particulates to pass through as well.
Between the free-flowing salad dressings and the thicker tomato sauces and pastes there are a number of other food dressings to be found. Overflow fillers and piston fillers, though common, will not be the only bottle fillers used for these products. When it comes to dressings and sauces, each packaging project and product will be analyzed to determine the best filling solution. For those that wish to discuss there own project, LPS Packaging Specialists are simply a phone call away.