Packaging Machinery for Molten Products and Hot Fills

Packaging Machinery for Molten Products and Hot Fills

Packaging a hot product obviously presents some unique challenges to packaging machinery manufacturers. While it may not be incorrect to say that building packaging equipment requires modifying standard machinery, it may be closer to the truth to say that molten products now have their own standard machines. From candles to food products like jams and jellies, even pastes and certain soaps, products that require a hot fill have been around long enough that packaging machines, and especially filling equipment, have been created specifically for these types of applications.


The key identifying trait of a molten product or hot fill product is, well, the temperature.  These products must be kept at a constant, high temperature.  From the filler tank, through the product pathway, through the fill heads and into the bottles, the temperature must remain constant.  Varying the temperature anywhere along this path through the filling machine can result in clogged tubing, clogged fill heads and extended downtime.  Therefore, a molten filling machine will include a heated tank, heated product pathway and heated fill heads.
In addition, molten filling machines will often take advantage of positive shut off nozzle or anti-drip nozzles. Molten products, of course, tend to solidify when they cool.  Not only can drips solidify and cause issues in future fill cycles, but drips that are spread and solidify on the power conveyor can shut down the whole system.  These special nozzles ensure that the product remains in the pathway and heated until being released into the container. 


In addition to the power conveyors that run the molten product through the packaging process, a molten packaging system may include a cooling conveyor.  Cooling conveyors can be manufactured in a number of different ways, but the purpose of each conveyor is to allow the heated product to cool and settle before moving it from the filling phase of the packaging system to the capping machine, labeling machine or other packaging equipment.  Cooling conveyors may be similar to the main conveyor on a packaging line, but simply running at a slower speed to allow the product time to cool.  These conveyor systems may also be extended in width or manufactured with a serpentine flow to accommodate space restrictions.  Some cooling conveyors will also be built in tiers, taking advantage of both horizontal and vertical space to allow for the product cooling.


Reheat stations may also be used on some molten products to ensure professional and aesthetically pleasing packaging for each individual product.  One a product is filled, it may settle or solidfy quickly and unevenly.  Using a reheat station, products such as candles and pastes can be liquified once again and settle evenly before the final packaging is performed and the product is sent to the consumer.


Once molten products have been filled and cooled, they are basically packaged just like any other product. Capping machines, including spindle cappers and chuck capping equipment, can be used to securely seal the container.  Depending on the container, labeling machines can apply labels in the same format as any other package, including wrap labels, front and back labels and many other variations.  If you would like to learn more about the process of packaging molten products, or any of the packaging equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc., call our offices toll free at 1-888-393-3693.