Liquid Filling Machines - Options to Optimize

Liquid Filling Machines - Options to Optimize

Liquid filling machines are an integral part of any packaging process.  As we have discussed before, the product itself will often have some bearing on the filling principle used for any given project.  Overflow fillers and gravity filling machines are often used for thin, free-flowing products.  Pump and piston fillers will most often be seen handling thicker, more viscous products.  There are, of course, exceptions to these general rules.  Many options, outside of just the filling principle used, are available on filling equipment to ensure that the packaging machines are matched specifically to the project for which they are being used.


Sometimes the product itself will call for more than just a certain type of filling principle.  For example, corrosive products, such as acids, bleaches and other harsh chemicals may have a negative effect on the stainless steel used for the frame of a filling machine.  In such cases, the filling machine can be built using HDPE to avoid excess wear and tear from these chemicals.  In other cases, products have a tendency to drip from nozzles or even create strings once the fill is complete.  Filling machines can come equipped with a drip tray to avoid messes on the power conveyor or other packaging machinery.  Rather than dripping on bottles or on the conveyor, creating a mess at the filling machine or even farther down the packaging line, the drip tray catches excess product for quick and easy clean up.  Product characteristics can play havoc with the efficiency and productivity of a filling machine, but with the right options, production can return to the desired level in almost any case.


In addition to the product, the package chosen for that project can create unique challenges for a liquid filler.  Automatic filling machines must line bottles up under the fill heads in a consistent and reliable manner to avoid spills, jams or non-filled bottles.  Sometimes, the bottle or other container chosen for a product simply does not want to cooperate.  Bottles that are unstable may tend to get off center as they move along a power conveyor, or may have a tendency to wiggle or shake during a fill.  In these cases, a filling machine can be manufactured to include neck grabbers that help to stabilize and locate bottles for the packaging process.  As containers move into the fill area, the neck grabbers, or locators, will extend to hold the package in place until the fill is complete.  Once complete, the neck grabbers retract and the bottles or other containers continue down the power conveyor to the next packaging machine.  In some cases, containers are unstable enough on the conveyor system that down line jams can be a concern.  Anti-back up sensors can then be used on the packaging line to warn the filling machine when bottles or containers may be backed up, pausing the filling process at the end of the cycle to avoid compounding a possible packaging line issue.  


Other filling machine options do not focus on the product or the package, but rather the entire process, the environment and a variety of other factors when packaging a product.  Remote controls for automatic filling machines can remove operators from a dangerous environment or simply offer a centralized control location for all of the packaging machinery on a line.  CIP systems allow product pathways and certain other components of a liquid filler to be cleaned without completely disassembling the machine.  Such a cleaning system simply means more time running product and less time setting up for the runs.  

These are only a few of the options that can be put into place to individualize a filling machine for a specific packaging project.  As a manufacturer of packaging machinery, each of these options, and many others, will be considered to build the most efficient, productive and cost-effective filling machine for the project at hand.