Getting the Right Answers Before Choosing a Bottle Filler
For first time packagers, the meaning of different terms used to describe filling machines and their features, such as overflow, piston, automatic, semi-automatic, operator interface, fill cycle and more, may not be completely clear. So how does a first time packager know that they are getting the best filling solution when shopping for equipment? At Liquid Packaging Solutions, we will ask lots of questions to help determine the best solution, as well as request sample products and containers to verify that determination. Below are a few of the most common and important answers a packager should look for regarding liquid fillers.
Filling machines are unique in that they are the one piece of packaging equipment that will interact directly and come in to contact with the product. For this reason, the product or products to be packaged will have some bearing on which type of machine is best suited for the project. Different products have different viscosities with different filling principles better at handling thin or thick products. The principle used for a thick, slow-flowing product like honey would likely not be the same principle used for a water-like liquid. So the packager would first want an answer to which filling principle best suits the product or products being packaged.
Next, filling machinery comes in all shapes and sizes, with different components used for different projects. Some bottle fillers will use diving heads, while others will remain stationary. The components used can lead to limitations on height adjustments and the fill space available will be restricted by the width of the nozzle bars. While seldom an issue, the packager should have some idea of the range of bottles that will be used for the project (if not, ideally, samples of all bottles) to ensure that the filler built for the project will accommodate the smallest and largest container, as well as everything in between.
The third answer a packager should make sure to acquire is the production output of the filling machine in question. Bottle fillers come in many different levels of automation, though normally broken down in to automatic and semi-automatic. Production is normally referred to as bottles per minute (or BPM) in the packaging world, which refers to the number of bottles a filling machine will produce every sixty seconds. While this number can be fairly accurate on automatic equipment, semi-automatic machines will always require some operator interaction. This manual aspect of semi-automatic equipment means the BPM for the machine will depend on the operator. Knowing the number of bottles per minute, or close to the number, will allow the packager to ensure the machine will produce enough filled bottles to meet demand.
Finally, the packager should understand how the filling machinery will interact with other packaging equipment, either from the beginning or in the future. For example, will a stand alone liquid filler be able to keep up with a fully automatic line if such an upgrade is made in the future, or will the machine be obsolete? Knowing the limits of the liquid filler will not only help choose the best machine for the project, but it will help to ensure that the filler has a long and useful life as well. Find out if upgrades and integration are possible to find the best machine for now and the future.
Many other questions exist that can assist in identifying the ideal filling solution for any packaging project. Asking these questions and identifying the right solution is one of many services offered by Liquid Packaging Solutions in addition to the manufacture of high quality, affordable packaging machinery.