Nozzle Adjustments for the Overflow Filling Machine
The overflow filling machine provides packagers a unique way to fill containers, focusing on a fill level rather than volume. This machine benefits packagers that use clear bottles by creating a pleasing look once the products reach the shelf, allowing the consumer to see consistent fill levels on all bottles, even if the interior volume varies slightly.
The filler uses nozzles that dive into the bottle, creating a seal over the bottle opening. As the liquid level rises to the desired fill level, extra product and foam is pushed through a return port, usually back to a holding tank, allowing each bottle to be filled to the same level. Operators of an overflow filler will generally focus on two areas to ensure consistent and reliable filling to a specific, desired level.
Proper Compression for Consistent Filling
To ensure that the nozzles seal properly over the bottle opening, the springs on an overflow nozzle must be properly compressed when the fill begins to protect against leaks and bottle damage during the fill process. A simple four step process helps to ensure proper compression each time a new bottle is run on the filling machine.
First, the operator will raise the fill head assembly high enough that nozzles will not smash or break bottles when the dive occurs. Nozzles can simply be raised to full height if unsure about the height necessary to avoid crashing. The power height adjustment switch on the control panel controls the assembly, and the operator can just flip a switch to raise the assembly to the desired or necessary height.
Once the nozzles are raised, the touchscreen operator interface on an automatic machine will allow the operator to manually lower the fill heads. Use the dive button to lower the heads to the bottom of their dive. Once at the bottom of the dive, bottles can be placed under the nozzles and the power height switch can be used once again to lower the nozzles into the bottles. Nozzles should be lowered until the springs on the fill heads are compressed to the point that a dime, or a fingernail, can be placed between two coils on the springs.
Finally, the operator will return to the manual toggle screen and press the dive button once again to return the function to AUTO, allowing fill heads to dive and retract during automatic production. For semi-automatic overflow fillers, the procedure remains much the same, but operators will need to use a hand crank to raise and lower the assembly as well as a finger or foot switch to activate the dive. This procedure ensures that fill nozzles will seal and enter the bottles correctly with each fill cycle run.
Correct Spacers for Desired Fill Level
While the four step procedure above protects against bottle damage and leaks during the fill, a second step will allow operators to set the desired fill level in the bottles for every cycle or bottle size run. Each overflow nozzle will use spacers to set the fill level. Spacers can be added to raise the level of the fill or taken off of the nozzles to lower the level. Though spacers may change for different bottle sizes, each nozzle should have the same spacers for each specific bottle run. For example, on an eight head filler running a sixteen ounce bottle, all eight nozzles should have the same spacers. Spacers may then be changed if an eight ounce bottle is later run on the machine. Having different spacers on each fill head would result in different fill levels in each of the bottles.
Proper compression rate and correct spacers will allow packagers the aesthetic fill that the overflow filler is manufactured to provide. Overflow filling machines can fill a range of products, working well with low to medium viscosity liquids. For more information on the Overflow Filler, or for help finding the best filling machine for your own project, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions today.