Piston Filler Good Choice For Honey Producers Large and Small
From backyard beekeeping to large, mass production commercial projects, getting the product into a container can be a challenge when dealing with a highly viscous treat like honey. At Liquid Packaging Solutions, we produce piston filling machines to work with both small and large beekeepers to prepare their product for the consumer!
Piston filling machines provide a highly accurate volumetric fill for honey products while also easily handling the viscous nature of the product. Where some filling machines will use gravity or pumps to push product through a pathway and into waiting containers, the piston filling machine uses, quite appropriately, a cylinder and piston to move product. Viscous, or thick, products simply do not flow as easily as products like water or even oil. Therefore, using a filling machine based on timed flow of product can lead to inaccurate results. Instead, the piston filler will pull honey into the cylinder with each stroke of the piston. Since the volume of the cylinder never changes, the amount of honey pulled into the cylinder with each stroke will never change. Similarly, the piston will push the same amount of product out of the cylinder each cycle as it re-enters the cylinder.
As we noted above, piston filling machines can be used by anyone keeping bees in teh backyard as a hobby or by commercial beekeepers producing mass product. Different models of the machines can be manufactured based on the wants and needs of the individual packager. For example, someone with small production demands, or producing honey just for themselves, may be able to use a simple tabletop piston filler. This simple machine will typically consist of a single fill head and will be used to fill one container at a time. Semi-automatic machines require more operator interaction than their automatic counterparts, and tabletop machinery is no different. Operators will typically place the container under the nozzle, and then activate the fill cycle by either stepping on a foot switch or activating via a finger switch. However, semi-automatic or tabletop piston fillers still offer the highly accurate fill common with piston fillers.
On the other hand, automatic piston filling machines require very little operator interaction. These machines usually include multiple fill heads for increased speed and efficiency in preparing the honey for market. Automatic machinery comes equipped with a power conveyor and an indexing system that automatically moves the correct number of containers under the fill heads each cycle. In addition, almost all controls, times and adjustments can be made from a simple operator touchscreen interface. In other words, set up is quick and easy on a computer screen, allowing for decreased downtime and changeover times and increased production! In fact, most settings will be input at LPS during testing and saved on what is known as a recipe screen for each bottle and product combination. Thus, once on the production floor, the operator really only needs to input the correct recipe and begin production (though some physical adjustment may be necessary to nozzles and conveyor guiderails).
For those beekeepers looking for equipment to add efficiency to the end of the production cycle (the part WITHOUT the bees!), we encourage you to browse the Liquid Packaging Solutions website and visit the page on piston fillers. Or in the alternative, contact our offices today to speak with a Packaging Specialist about your specific project.