Choosing a Filling Machine Based on Product Output
When looking for filling machines, or any packaging machine, a key concern among almost all packagers is the speed of the machine. Packagers want to ensure that the equipment put on the production floor will meet the demand goals for all of their products. In most cases, a number of different factors will be considered to come to an estimated bottles per minute for any given liquid filler, with testing done at LPS to ensure this estimate is reached.
For example, the bottles per minute on an automatic machine will depend in part on the size of the bottles, the viscosity of the product, the speed of the indexing and several other factors. A product being filled into a sixteen-ounce bottle on an automatic machine with 10 heads may complete six fill cycles per minute. Ten heads times six cycles would give that packager sixty bottles per minute. The bottles per minute number allows the packager a realistic number to gauge their total production, ensuring that demand for the product can be met.
While the experience of packaging specialists at Liquid Packaging Solutions will usually be enough to accurately estimate bottles per minute after collecting the relevant information, LPS always tests machinery prior to shipping to ensure the rate will be met. This, of course, is dependent upon LPS receiving enough bottle and product samples to test the filling machine with the liquid and containers that will be run at the packager's facility.
There are a couple factors to keep in mind when looking for a filling machine to meet production needs. First, not everyone will fully automate their packaging process. LPS manufactures automatic filling machines for higher speed packaging, but tabletop and semi-automatic equipment are also available for low to medium production facilities. While a similar calculation can be done to estimate bottles per minute for semi-automatic machinery, there exists a factor which is not present when working with automatic equipment.
Semi-automatic machines use an operator for each cycle. In most cases, the operator will place bottles and activate the fill cycle. After each cycle is complete, the operator will remove the filled bottles and replace them with empty bottles. Therefore, semi-automatic machinery will only work as fast as the operator of the equipment. For this reason, bottles per minute can be estimated, but not with as much accuracy as the same calculation done for automatic bottle fillers.
Secondly, packagers should keep in mind that production demand seldom stays static. If contracts or sales require a machine that bottles fifty pieces every minute for an eight-hour day, most packagers would consider a filling machine that has a slightly higher output rate. Routine maintenance, replacement of parts and other unforeseen circumstances may keep the filling machine, or packaging line as a whole, from running exactly eight hours every production day. New contracts may add to the demand for products as well.
At LPS, almost all filling machines are manufactured in a way that allows for upgrades in the future. For example, a four head filling machine may be able to accommodate up to sixteen heads in the future by adding nozzles and tubing. While a packager can begin with a little extra room by choosing a machine that exceeds their current demand, LPS engineering can make it easy to add to that capacity in the future. Of course, there are limits to upgrading, and a filling machine will eventually reach a maximum output, but whenever possible, LPS liquid fillers are built to grow with a packaging company.
To learn more about the different filling machines available, browse the Liquid Fillers section of the LPS website, or call an LPS representative for assistance in finding the best filling solution for your own project.