Packaging In a Winter Wonderland in MAY
You may be experiencing a little deja vu if you follow the Liquid Packaging Solutions news section, as we also talked about packaging in a winter wonderland in April. Well, we've reached the fifth month of the year and once again, in the Chicagoland and Northern Indiana area, that white stuff is in the forecast this weekend! But instead of talking about the changes you may experience in cold weather, let's end the week on a positive note and talk about packaging hot products and maybe the hot weather will follow!
When we visited the topic of weather in April, we discussed how temperature can influence the viscosity of certain products. When viscosity changes, the flow of the product changes and the accuracy of a filling machine may also change. In other words, times and fill levels may be off and adjustments to recipes may be necessary. A similar concept applies to filling hot products, or even molten products, though this temperature will be controlled at the filling machine.
Some products will be heated or even melted for the filling process, as they flow better at the higher temperature. However, the temperature must remain constant, or near constant, to ensure an accurate and reliable fill. Allowing a hot fill product to cool in the product pathway could actually change the flow of that product during the fill process, making it very difficult to repeatedly fill in an accurate manner. Allowing a molten product to cool as it moves through the product pathway might not only slow the flow of the product, but it could cause product to solidify and block the pathway as it cools.
To avoid such cooling during the process, temperature controls will be used on the filling machine, though the different controls or the method of control may differ from product to product. For some products, the tank may simply keep the product at a constant temperature as the change from tank to bottle will not be significant enough to affect the flow. For other projects, the entire product pathway may be heated, from the tank right down to the nozzles, to ensure no viscosity changes occur during the process.
The method used to fill a hot or molten product will always be determined by taking in to account the characteristics of the specific product or products being filled. Other components, such as positive shut off fill nozzles, may also be employed to protect against viscosity changes and solidifying product. To discuss filling your own hot or molten product with a Packaging Specialist, simply reach out to LPS via the Toll-Free Number (1-888-393-3693) or use the contact request forms found on each page of the LPS website.
And for those packagers in the Midwest, like us, stay warm, June is right around the corner!