Packaging Machinery and Bottles Per Minute

Of the many questions packagers ask about packaging equipment, one of the most frequent pertains to the speed of the equipment. Another way to discuss the speed of packaging machinery is to discuss the number of bottles per minute (or BPM) the machine is capable of producing, whether referring to bottles filled, capped, labeled or otherwise preparing the product for the shelf.

While the bottles per minute seems like a simple way to talk about the speed of a machine, that magic number can depend on a lot of different factors. Let's first look at a liquid filling machine to understand how the number can vary per project, even if the equipment being used is exactly the same. Imagine two overflow fillers, designed and manufactured in the same manner. The first packager using the bottle filler has a bleach type product that will be placed in gallon bottles. Now imagine a second packager using the other bottle filler for a beverage that is packaged in sixteen ounce bottles. Assuming each has the same number of fill heads, the second packager will run more bottles per minute than the first simply because each container requires less product, and thus less time, to fill. Of course, this is a simplified example, as the number of fill heads, the product and many other factors may influence how many bottles per minute a liquid filler can run.

Other times, the bottles per minute may not be as important to a piece of machinery as the consistency or reliability. As an example, let's examine an automatic spindle capping machine. Again, the type of bottle and cap will have some affect on the number of bottles that can be sealed by the machine. However, typically a spindle capper can produce about 100 to 120 bottles per minute. While this may excite some packagers, assume that the two packagers above are also using this same spindle capper with the maximum speed achieved by either packager at about 60 bottles per minute. The spindle capper will never reach its maximum output when the bottle filler is only providing the capping machine with 60 bottles each minute. In this case, the consistency and reliability of the seals is much more important than the maximum number of bottles that the machine can produce per minute.

While asking about BPM is definitely a smart move by any packager, to assure that the machinery will meet present and future demands of the business, it is only one factor that a packager should analyze when setting up a packaging system. For assistance in finding the ideal equipment for any project, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions to speak with a Packaging Specialist.