Filling Machine and Capping Machine Speeds

Filling Machine and Capping Machine Speeds

Bottles per minute is a term that is used for many different packaging machines when referring to the speed of the machines. While normally discussed in terms of an individual machine, those purchasing a new packaging line must always keep in mind that the speed of the line itself will only be as fast as the slowest individual packaging machine.  For example, a capping machine that will secure 200 bottles per minute is simply not reaching its true potential if it sits next to a one head liquid filler that completes 6 or 8 bottles per minute.  

While each and every packaging machine can affect the speed of the entire line, almost every automated system will include a filling machine and capping equipment.  Some facilities may only automate these processes along with labeling, leaving the packing chores to manual labor.  Other facilities may accumulate product after it has been filled and capped for quality control purposes.  For these reasons, it is especially important to take the time to understand how the speeds of the filling machine and capping machine interact.  

The manufacturer of a filling machine normally has a very simple method for increasing or decreasing the speed of the machine, at least within a certain range.  Once supplied with bottles, caps and actual product, the manufacturer can start with a given number of fill heads to determine a base speed.  For example, if an overflow filler with two fill heads runs five fill cycles with the customer product in a minute, this filling machine will fill 10 bottles per minute. By adding anywhere up to 14 additional fill heads to the overflow filler, the speed of the machine is easily increased, needing only to take into account slight time adjustments for indexing.

Depending on the type of capping machine that is being used (which, in turn, depends on the type of cap being used), the filling machine can be modified so that the performance of the line is optimized or not unduly slowed by one of the two machines.  However, there may be situations where the packager wants the capping machine to outperform the liquid filler.  Suppose a company has moderate production demands for a product that is just beginning to grab market share.  The filling machine may have two or four fill heads and handle 10-30 bottles per minute.  However, a fully automatic spindle capping machine may be capable of continuous capping on the packaging line of up to 200 bottles per minute.  

This may seem like overkill on the capping.  But keep in mind that the company is just beginning to grab market share, meaning that the company also expects growth in the future.  The current setup allows the company to increase the production capacity of their packaging line by simply adding additional fill heads as demand increases.  The packaging line is able to grow with the company.

So while providing the manufacturer of your packaging machinery with actual samples of your product, package and cap is essential to designing your unique packaging system, so is planning for the future.  Having a realistic five year plan can help to ensure that your packaging system is set up to handle not only your current production goals but, with simple modifications, your future production goals as well.

If you would like to discuss your packaging needs with an industry specialist, contact the offices of Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc., toll free at 1-888-393-3693.