Overflow Filling Machine - Nozzle Adjustments

The overflow filling machine allows packagers to fill bottles to a specific level regardless of the interior volume of each individual bottle. The unique nozzle dives in to the bottle and creates a seal that recirculates the liquid product once the desired level has been reached. One of the benefits of the overflow filler is the ease with which nozzles can be adjusted to handle different containers and fill levels.

Adjusting the Height of the Nozzles

Height adjustment of overflow nozzles is simple whether the machine is manufactured to perform automatically or semi-automatically. On automatic machinery, power height adjustment will always be used unless a packager desires something different. Semi-automatic machines may use a simple hand crank rather than power or electric height adjustment. The power height switch is located on the control panel of the machine and allows all nozzles to be raised or lowered by moving the switch to the left or to the right. Hand cranks will be located on the frame of the machine, though the location may differ based on the design.

The height adjustment is important to obtain the correct compression of the nozzle springs and ensure consistent level fills. When setting up for a bottle or changing from one bottle to another, the height adjustment can be used to raise the position of the heads to a height where the nozzles will not fully dive in to the bottles. Bottles can then be placed under the nozzles and the operator can manually dive the heads on both automatic and semi-automatic overflow fillers. Once the heads have reached the lowest point of the dive, the operator can use the power height adjustment to slowly lower the position of the nozzles until the springs become compressed. A good starting point for the compression is lowering the heads until a fingernail can be placed between the springs. From this point, slight adjustments may be necessary to achieve ideal fill levels and efficiency, but the process is both quick and simple.

Adjusting the Spacing of Overflow Fill Heads

Often a packager runs more than one bottle size, shape or type, and for this reason the overflow nozzles will often need to be adjusted on the fill bar to accommodate the different bottles for any given project. The simple process of spacing the fill heads on the nozzle bar is the same for both semi-automatic and automatic machinery. Each nozzle is attached to the fill bar using a hand knob that can be loosened to allow for adjustment. The knob need not be removed, simply loosened to allow the nozzle to slide left and right on the nozzle bar.

If using a four-head overflow filling machine, with any level of automation, the operator can simply use the height adjustment to raise the nozzles, then line up bottles in the fill area. Indexing pins or gates may be used for reference if an indexing system exists. For slide tracks, center the bottles in the fill area. Once the four bottles are in place, the hand knobs can be loosened to position the four fill heads over the bottle openings. The height adjustment can again be used to ensure the nozzle seals cover the opening to create the seal on the bottle (nozzle seals ensure product overflows through the nozzle and back to the holding tank rather than overflowing out of the bottle!). Again, the process of adjusting fill heads is both quick and simple.

Adjusting the Fill Level in the Bottle

Overflow nozzle components include spacers that dictate how far in to the bottle the nozzles will dive. How far the nozzles dive in turn dictates the level at which the product will begin to overflow, thus setting the fill level for the containers. To change the spacers on a nozzle, operators simply remove the nozzle seals and washers, which in addition to creating the seal mentioned above help to hold the spacers in place. Spacers can then be removed or added to adjust the fill level. Removing spacers allows the nozzle to dive deeper into the bottle, resulting in a lower fill level. Adding spacers obviously does the opposite, creating a lesser dive and raising the final fill level in the bottle.

Returning to the four-head filling machine mentioned above, and in order to keep fills consistent, all four nozzles on the machine must matching spacer sets when production begins. Different spacers on the different nozzles will not only result in inconsistent fills from one bottle to the next, but could cause product to spray, damage to the bottles or even damage to the machine itself.

For questions about adjusting fill heads, or the overflow filling machine in general, browse the Overflow Filling Machinery section of the LPS website or contact a representative today.