Different Cylinder Sizes for Piston Filling Machines
Piston fillers can handle a wide range of bottle and container sizes, from ounces all the way up to gallons, but choosing the right piston size for any given project will help to achieve maximum efficiency from the liquid filler. Pistons can range from as small as a couple of ounces all the way up to a gallon in size, but the fills performed by each of the sizes are not necessarily limited by the amount of liquid the cylinder can hold.
Piston filling machines will typically be put to use when higher viscosity products are being filled, such as honey, gels, pastes and other thick products, though exceptions do exist. Just like non-viscous products, the packaging for thick products can range from tiny containers to large bottles, so the size of the piston and cylinder used on a filling machine must match the container or containers being run on any given project. Where a small range of container sizes are being used, such as two three and four ounces, the fills can be completed fairly easily with a single piston and cylinder size. Where the containers being filled for a single project range from tiny to very large, it becomes more difficult to use a single piston and cylinder effectively and efficiently. For some projects, a little added time may solve the issue, for others, using multiple pistons or cylinders and adding changeover time may be the better path.
First, a packager must understand that a sixteen ounce piston and cylinder is not limited to filling containers of sixteen ounces, or even containers sixteen ounces or less. Using a machine with a sixteen ounce capacity could still allow for the packager to fill thirty-two ounce containers, the piston would simply have to perform two strokes to complete the task. The obvious drawback to such a design would be the additional time added to filling each container. However, in a sample project where a majority of the containers are sixteen ounces and the thirty-two ounce sizes represent a small portion of production, allowing for two strokes on the larger bottles may still represent the best solution.
In other cases, production may consist of equal amounts of several different containers. Let's imagine a project with four containers of four, eight, sixteen and one gallon containers, all run in equal amounts each week of production. It might be possible to fill the first three containers - four, eight and sixteen - using the sixteen ounce piston and cylinder. In order to do the smaller containers, the machine would be set up to perform fractional strokes, filling four containers with each stroke for the smallest bottle, two containers for the eight ounce bottle and of course one container per stroke on the sixteen ounce bottle. However, filling the gallon containers would require eight strokes of the piston to fill a single container! In this case, the better solution for the packager may require two different pistons. Though some time will be required to changeover from one piston to the other, that time will still be less than that required when eight strokes are needed to fill the gallon containers.
Of course, these examples are made simplistic to help understand the concept of the piston filler as it works with different size containers. Almost every project will present these and other complex issues or unique challenges for packaging products into specific container sizes, shapes and materials. For more information on piston fillers and all of the other bottle fillers manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, call and speak with a Packaging Specialist today.