Talking Piston and Pump Fillers on Ranch Dressing Day
March 10th is, for reasons unknown to Liquid Packaging Solutions, Ranch Dressing Day! Though unfamiliar with the reasoning behind the date, LPS is familiar with helping packagers prepare salad dressings for their consumers! Specifically, LPS has manufactured a number of different liquid fillers for salad dressings over the life of the company with certain factors recurring across the products.
For anyone who enjoys salad, it is a known fact that there are many different choices for dressings to top their greens. From oils and vinegars to creamy and cooked dressings, the viscosity of the products can vary. As we have noted before, different filling machines work better for different viscosity products. While packaging lines for dressings could theoretically include just about any filling machine were the analysis based just on viscosity, there are a couple of factors that make piston and pump filling machines the best choice.
First and foremost, even some lower viscosity products can change viscosity as temperature changes. While LPS often discusses piston and pump filling machines as equipment for high viscosity products, these machines can actually handle a wider range of viscosities, and handle changing viscosities more easily. For packagers dealing with more than one dressing type, or multiple products with varying viscosity, both pump and piston fillers will be the better choice to handle a range of products and viscosities.
Second, many different dressings will contain particulates - from herbs and spices to pieces of vegetable. For a couple of different reasons, pump and piston filling machines are better equipped to handle these particulates. A piston filler, for example, contains a large cylinder that can hold the product and particulates without an issue. Cylinders come in different sizes, and even large particulates can be brought into the cylinder to be passed on to the bottles. The open cylinder can help larger particulates pass through without clogging or blocking product pathways. Pump fillers can work in much the same way, allowing particulates to pass through gears or cavities without the danger of blockages.
Different dressings and particulates can settle during the fill process, while packagers want these particulates to be suspended throughout the bottle. Think about shaking a bottle of dressing before using the same. The herbs and spices will settle to the bottom of the bottle and shaking it allows the particulates to be temporarily suspended in the liquid, allowing the herbs, spices or other particulates to make it to the salad. This issue must also be considered when packaging the product. While often a mixer will be used in the bulk tank, pumps can help to keep particulates suspended during the fill as well, helping to get the herbs, spices and other items into each bottle that is filled.
There are many different factors that will go into deciding which type of filling machine will work for any given product, and each project will be analyzed individually. But when working with Ranch or other types of salad dressings, pump and piston fillers will often be the best solution.
For assistance analyzing your own project, and identifying the best equipment solutions, contact an LPS Packaging Specialist today!