Liquid Filling Machines Operator Interface Screens - Adjust Pre-sets Screens

Liquid Filling Machines Operator Interface Screens - Adjust Pre-Sets Screens 

From the Main Menu of the Operator Interface of an automatic filling machine, the operator of the machine can reach the Adjust Pre-Sets Screens to set the parameters for the bottle to be filled.  While there will be some difference depending on the type of filling machine being used - overflow filler, gravity filler, piston filler, pump filler or custom filling machinery - the settings under these screens will still help determine how efficiently the liquid filler will run.  To help understand the Adjust Pre-Sets Screens, we will first look at some of the basic settings, then explain how they influence the performance of the filling machine.

Some of the basic delay and duration times found under Adjust Pre-Sets Screens on a filling machine using pin, or gate, indexing include:

  • Exit Gate Duration Timer - This setting allows the operator to set the amount of time that the exit pin will remain open to allow filled bottles or containers to exit the fill area.
  • Entry Gate Delay Open Timer - This setting lets the operator of the filling machine set the amount of time that the entry gate will delay after the opening of the exit gate, allowing a gap between the bottles exiting the fill area and those entering the filling machine.
  • Infeed Sensor NBNF Delay Timer - A sensor will be used to count containers as they enter the fill area.  This sensor also acts as the no bottle, no fill sensor.  If the sensor does not see another container for the set amount of time, the fill cycle will not begin. 
  • Infeed Container Count - Here, the operator simply enters the number of containers to be filled, and thus counted by the sensor, during each fill cycle.
  • Delay Head Dive Timer - This allows the operator to set a short delay in the time between the bottles being in position under the fill heads and the time at which the fill heads will dive.  This may not be used on all fillers, but will always be found on the settings for the popular overflow filling machine.

While there will usually be several additional delay and duration times to set on a filling machine, the basic settings are listed above.  Using these settings, we will now demonstrate how they affect the filler efficiency.

Assume a set of bottles has just been filled and we will start from the Exit Gate Duration Timer.  If this is set at five seconds, the exit gate will open and bottles will begin to move out of the fill area on the power conveyor system.  If the Entry Gate Delay Open Timer is set to three seconds, it will open three seconds after the exit gate opened.  Bottles now begin to enter the fill area.  These bottles are counted by the sensor until it reaches the number set in the Infeed Container Count.  The exit gate, having reached the end of the duration time, closes, keeping bottles in position under the filling machine heads.  Once the sensor sees the next bottle for the set amount of time, it is time for the heads to dive and fill the bottles.  If the Delay Head Dive Timer is set for two seconds, two seconds will elapse from the end fo the Infeed Sensor NBNF Delay Timer and the heads will descend into the waiting bottles.  The filling machine will fill the bottles and the process will start again.

In the above scenario, the importance of these settings becomes obvious.  Too much time on any of the settings results in an inefficient fill time, lowering production numbers for the filling machine.  Too little time can result in bottle jams, inconsistent fills and a number of other packaging issues.

If this all seems incredibly complicated, keep in mind that the manufacturer of the packaging machinery will usually pre-program all necessary settings for the bottles that they are provided.  In addition, almost all automatic filling machinery includes a recipe screen, which allows the operator to simply load a number into the liquid filler to retrieve all the settings for a given container.  However, it is important for the operator to understand these settings in teh event that a new container is introduced to the production floor.  Most machines will also include assistance for set up of the parameters in the form of automatic indexing set ups, allowing the operator to run bottles through the fill area to obtain ideal times for the entry and exit gate functions.  In general, automatic filling machines are set up to make operation as simple as possible while not sacrificing efficiency or productivity.