Five Things To Check When Fill Volumes Vary

On Friday we talked about possible causes for inconsistent fill levels on an overflow filler, keeping in mind that the overflow filler always fills to a level, that is, it is not a volumetric based fill principle. However, for those using a gravity filler, piston filler or other volumetric fill principle, inconsistent fill levels will not be the same as inconsistent volumes in each bottle. Below are a few of the most common issues when fill volumes vary from container to container.

1. Leveling the Machine

Just like the overflow filler and almost any other piece of packaging equipment, a volumetric filling machine must be level on the production floor to perform correctly. Each machine, from tabletop to fully automatic equipment, will come equipped with leveling legs of some type that will allow the machine to be adjusted quickly and easily. When working with automatic equipment, operators will also want to ensure that the power conveyor system is leveled on the production floor. Equipment that is not sitting level may not perform consistently or reliably.

2. Machine Fill Times

On many volumetric filling machines, the fill time for each individual fill head will be set separately. This may simply be the time that the nozzle is open on a gravity filler or the pump duration (either by time or by pulse) on a pump filling machine. For volumetric fillers, simple adjustments to individual fill heads can resolve the issue. Just remember that on these machines, setting the time for one head will not necessarily mean you can automatically enter the same time on each additional head.

3. Bottle Volumes

Remember that overflow fillers fill to a level, while gravity, pump and piston fillers fill to a specific volume. When working with a volumetric filler, varying levels in bottles does not necessarily mean volumes are off. First measure the volume of a set of bottles to ensure that the correct volumes are being met. If the volumes are correct but fill levels are unacceptable, it may be time to have a conversation with your bottle supplier or even look for a new bottle.

4. Product Connections

Also similar to the overflow filler, operators of a volumetric fill machine should check to ensure that product connections are not loose if experiencing inconsistent fills. Once again, loose connections do not always mean obvious product leaks, as air may be bleeding into the system or pathway without being readily noticeable. When using a volumetric filler that relies on a pump, make sure the pump is properly primed as well!

5. Fill Hold/Supply Hold

For automatic equipment experiencing inconsistent fills, the operator will also want to check the fill hold and supply hold under the Filler Set Up Screens. Turning both the Fill Hold and Supply Hold to the on position ensures that the machine will not begin a fill cycle while the tank is being supplied with product as well as ensuring the tank resupply will not begin will a fill is in progress. As head pressure changes, the fill itself can change, which means having these two settings off might lead to inconsistent fills. Turning these settings on and off are as simple as pressing the corresponding button on the operator interface.

As always, Liquid Packaging Solutions Packaging Specialists are available when the solution for inconsistent fills simple cannot be uncovered! Our Parts & Service Department can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693 or by email at david@liquidpackagingsolution.com.