Packaging Multiple Products - Machinery Options
While some packagers may simply prepare and sell a single product, or a single product in different sized bottles, a number of packagers are preparing a range of products. Even where the product is the same, different versions may be packaged on the same machinery. Paints, for example, may require the running of many different colors, or some beverages may require the packaging of several different flavors. For these companies, and any others running multiple products, cross-contamination can be a concern.
While there is no one way to deal with this concern across every packaging project, there are a few solutions that will solve the issue for a majority of packagers. Generally speaking, filling equipment can simply be disassembled and cleaned when moving from one color, flavor or product to another. However, this is rarely, if ever, an efficient packaging strategy. The time it would take to disassemble and clean is all time that product is not be prepared for the end user. For packagers with short runs of many different products, this solution simply is not feasible.
Instead, automatic filling machines can be manufactured with a Clean-In-Place (CIP) system to speed up the cleaning and changeover process. The CIP system can take on different forms depending on the equipment as well as the products being run. Tanks may include spray balls to wash residue from the inside of the holding vessel. In most cases, the product pathway will then be flushed with some type of cleaning solution to remove remnants of the product just run. The CIP will typically be controlled through the touchscreen operator interface, which allows the operator of the machine to simply hook up the cleaning solution and press a button to run one or more cleaning cycles to prepare for the new product.
In some cases, the filling machine itself may provide a solution for multiple products. Paints and inks, for example, will often be filled using a peristaltic pump filling machine. The peristaltic pump filler uses rollers to move product through tubing and in to waiting containers. The product moves from the bulk tank to the containers without contacting any other components, simply the tubing. In the case of paint, each time a new color is run on the machinery, the tubing is simply changed out, removing the possibility of cross contamination between colors.
Depending on the packaging process used and the products being filled, other solutions may definitely be identified to ensure running multiple products remains efficient. To discuss your own project and the possible solutions for running multiple colors, flavors or products, reach out to a Packaging Specialist at Liquid Packaging Solutions today for a free consultation!