Filling Machines for Large or Small Production
Packaging processes can take many different forms, based on just as many different factors. One of those many factors is production demand. Some packagers may be producing thousands of finished product per day, while others may not reach one thousand in a single week. Production demand will depend on the product itself, the area served and of course, the popularity of the product, among other things. This is one of the reasons that a variety of different filling machines exist. Bottle fillers can be manufactured as automatic machines capable of filling a hundred bottles a minute, or they may be designed and built as semi-automatic equipment to handle less of a load.
AUTOMATIC FILLING MACHINES
Automatic filling machines will require an operator only for set up, changeover and maintenance. Though set up will vary based on the type of liquid filler being used (overflow, gravity, piston, etc.), the operator will typically need to adjust conveyor rails, nozzles and the indexing system to ensure all are set up properly for the bottles that will be run. Other machine settings, such as power, height adjustment, fill times, indexing times, pump speeds, head dive and more, are all controlled via control panel knobs or touchscreen interface at a centralized control panel. And to make things even easier, this panel will include a recipe screen that will allow almost all settings to be recalled by simply pulling up the numbered recipe for the product and container combination. Change over from one bottle to another will generally require the same set up as the initial set up, with the recipe screen again assisting to save time. The touchscreen control panel also includes an alarm screen as well as a manual toggle menu to control different components of the equipment and assist in troubleshooting and maintenance. Automatic bottle fillers are manufactured to require as little operator interaction as possible and instead focus on meeting higher end production demands for a wide variety of products.
SEMI-AUTOMATIC AND TABLETOP FILLING MACHINES
Semi-automatic filling machines, both full frame and tabletop versions, will require a little more work on the part of the operator of the filler. The operator will need to position bottles under the fill nozzles and activate the fill cycle. In other words, once manually placing the bottles, the typical semi-automatic machine will require the operator to step on a foot switch or press down a finger switch to start the filling process. Once filled, the operator will also need to remove the bottles and transport them to the next packaging phase, which will usually be capping. Different designs are available, and semi-automatic fillers will often be combined with capping and labeling equipment to create a system that allows complete packaging with one or two operators. Semi-automatic machines will still add speed, as well as consistency and reliability, to the filling process, but at the end of the day the number of bottles produced will also depend on the speed and stamina of the operator of the machine.
One of the best things about the filling equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions is the ability to upgrade almost every machine. The most common way to upgrade both automatic and semi-automatic machines is to add more fill heads to existing machines. Though a machine may start with one or two fill heads, the manifold on the machine can be manufactured to allow the addition of more heads in the future. Most tabletop machines can accommodate up to six fill heads, while full-frame semi-automatic and automatic machines can carry up to sixteen, though there are exceptions to this rule. Some semi-automatic machinery can also be upgraded to automatic equipment in the future with the addition of indexing systems and a PLC, should the company grow faster than expected. These upgrades allow companies to purchase filling equipment knowing that they will not outgrow their equipment with the slightest increase in demand for their product. To learn more about any of the filling equipment manufactured by LPS, call toll free at 1-888-393-3693 to speak with a Packaging Specialist.