Liquid Filling Machines to Match Projects Large and Small
While there are any number of factors to consider when searching for the best filling solution for a given packaging project, there are two main factors that will be taken into account for just about every project.
Liquid products can range from thick to thin, from free-flowing, water-like beverages to pastes, gels and even some products that are filled as liquids but solidify in their final state. Different filling machines are manufactured for different liquids, with certain machines made to handle certain viscosities. When looking for a filling machine for a specific project or product, the viscosity of the liquid will always be a factor. Machines such as overflow fillers and gravity fillers are built specifically for more free-flowing products. Gravity fillers, as the name suggests, rely on gravity to feed the liquid from a tank to the waiting containers. Thick, or high viscosity, products simply do not fill efficiently in this manner. Overflow fillers use a special nozzle to fill each container to a specific level. While some medium viscosity products may work on an overflow filler, as viscosity increases, the fill and overflow also become inefficient.
Thicker products just need a little more help to move from the bulk tanks or containers to the final bottles. Piston and pump fillers add a little push to the process to help move product efficiently through the product pathway. Pump fillers typically use one pump for each fill head, and the pumps will be matched to the products being filled. Piston fillers bring product into a cylinder and then uses the cylinder to push product out of the cylinder and into bottles. Of course, some packagers will fill a combination of thin and thick products, and in most cases one of these filling machines will be able to handle the range of products filled by the packager. Determining the viscosity of the products to be filled will help a packager move toward the best filling machine for their project.
Filling machines also come in different automation levels, with both semi-automatic and automatic models available for each type of machine. Determining the demand and necessary output for a project will help to determine the ideal automation level as well. For some smaller packagers, or those with craft products, a simple tabletop filler may meet the necessary demand. These machines, as the name suggests, have a small footprint and can be placed on a tabletop to complete the fill. Operators place bottles under the fill heads and initiate the fill cycle. The operator will need to start each cycle of bottles that are run, but the machines allow for consistent, reliable fills based on the desired fill principle, be it volume or level.
Fully automatic filling machines are typically used as a part of a complete, automated filling system. These machines can be combined with rinsing machinery, capping machines, labelers, and other equipment to fully prepare product as it moves down a power conveyor. Operators will set up the machine to run a specific product and bottle, and once the process is started, they will only monitor the filler to ensure proper functioning and replace product as needed.
However, meeting current production is often only one concern. For growing companies, demand can quickly change the amount of product that must be prepared in a given amount of time. In between tabletop and fully automatic machines there are other levels of semi-automatic equipment that may be right for any given project. Full-frame semi-automatic filling machines can allow a packager to transform to automated equipment at a later date, and many filling machines manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions will have room for growth, either by adding fill heads as production requires or adding automation to an existing system.
By looking at the viscosity of the products to be filled and determining the number of bottles to be filled in a given amount of time, LPS can help packagers find the ideal filling solution. For help in determining the best machine for your own project, give LPS a call today!