Filling Machines for 2022 Packaging Projects
Each year at Liquid Packaging Solutions, the project floor will see numerous packaging projects that include filling machinery. For some packagers, a tabletop filling machine may be the extent of the project. For others, an automatic filling machine will be one part of a complete packaging solution that also rinses, caps, labels and otherwise prepares product for the consumer. In between these two examples lie thousands of other combinations of solutions for packagers that will include a liquid filler. Filling machinery is one of the, if not the, most popular equipment categories manufactured at LPS.
Though technology may improve year over year and components may change over time, the filling principles used for packaging have remained mostly the same through the existence of LPS. As we move into 2022, we offer a quick review of the three most popular filling principles used by the machines to be manufactured throughout the year.
FILLING BY VOLUME
Many products found on the shelf for consumers are filled by volume, meaning that the same volume of product will be found in every bottle or other container. There are several different machines that can achieve a volumetric fill, and the volumetric filler used in any given project will be matched to the needs and factors of that specific project. Though others exist, one of the main factors in choosing a machine is the viscosity of a product. Gravity filling, as the name suggests, relies on the force of gravity to move product to the containers. A tank over the top of the fill heads holds product, while valves are opened and closed for a set amount of time to allow product to flow. These machines are ideal for lower viscosity, free-flowing liquids. As viscosity gets higher, the product may need a little help to move from a tank or holding vessel to the waiting bottles. In these cases, pump and piston fillers can assist in the movement, making them a more likely solution for higher viscosity, thicker products. While other factors may very well come in to play when filling by volume, product viscosity will always help point in the direction of the best solution.
FILLING BY LEVEL
Not all products need to be filled to a specific volume. In some cases, a packager may not mind slight variations in volume as long as the bottles all appear to hold the same amount of product. Overflow fillers allow packagers to fill each and every bottle to the same level even where the interior volume might vary slightly. This type of filling machine is especially useful when products are packaged using clear or see-through bottles. Overflow fillers allow product to overflow back into a holding tank through a custom nozzle when the desired fill height is reached. This fill principle is also useful for products that foam, as the overflow process can help control the foam and ensure that product and foam will not settle after the fill leaving a different amount of product in each bottle.
It should be noted, however, that the uses for the above two filling machines are more like general rules. With a good bottle manufacturer, filling by volume may result in level fills on many different bottle and container types. And with overflow fillers, filling to a level will often result in nearly the same volume in each bottle. Variances in fill levels for gravity fillers and volumes for overflow fillers really come down to how well the bottles are manufactured as to how much their interior volume differs.
FILLING BY WEIGHT
Net weight filling machines disregard both volume and level to ensure that a specific weight of product reaches each bottle or container. While more likely to be seen in use by companies packaging dry or powdered products, there are some liquid products that will take advantage of this unique filling principle as well. Less popular than the two fillers discussed above for liquid products, net weight fillers may be more popular in specific industries, such as the Paint and the Food and Beverage Industries. These filling machines incorporate scales on the filling machine that allow product to be dispensed until the desired weight is reached.
CUSTOM FILLING MACHINES
A majority of the projects brought to LPS will use a filling machine discussed above under the three filling principles listed. However, not every product or project fits neatly into one of the above categories. LPS also manufactures custom packaging machinery for unique projects. In addition, the principles used above can be incorporated into explosion-proof filling machines, molten fillers and more. LPS works one-on-one with packagers to find the best solution for each packaging project, even if it turns out not to be a typical solution.
For more information on any of the filling machines offered by Liquid Packaging Solutions, contact a Packaging Specialist to discuss your own factors, needs and desires. Representatives can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Time or simply use the contact form found on the website to get the conversation started.