The Features of an Automatic Filling Machine
Overflow fillers, gravity fillers, piston filling machines and other liquid fillers all vary in the way that they move product into a bottle or container. However, the automatic versions of these machines almost always have certain features in common. These features are intended to add efficiency, consistency and reliability to the packaging equipment. Below are a few of the most common features of found on Liquid Packaging Solutions' bottle fillers.
Heavy Duty and Portable Stainless Steel Frame
For consistent and reliable fills, the machine must be stabile throughout the process. The heavy duty stainless steel frame protects against shifting, vibrating and other movement that might effect the volume or the level of the fill, while also avoiding splashes and spills. The stainless steel material is compatible with a vast majority of products, though there are exceptions. When corrosive liquids are run on the machinery, other construction materials may be used for the frame, including HDPE. Ultimately, the material used will be that material which will better extend the useful life of the equipment.
Easy Adjustments From Height to Heads
Many packagers fill more than a single product, or at the very least fill into bottles of multiple sizes and shapes. Changing over from one product or bottle to another means stopping production on the liquid filler. These machines include simple adjustments to minimize downtime and maximize production. Fill heads can typically be moved using simple fingertip adjustment knobs, while power height comes standard on automatic equipment, allowing up and down movement with the flip of a switch. Even auxillary equipment such as power conveyors include knob adjustments or other simple components for railing and other changes. Other adjustments, such as time and delay settings, can easily be made from the operator control panel, discussed in more detail below.
PLC with Touch Screen Controls
Along with easy adjustments to the components of the liquid filler, the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and operator interface allow the operators of the equipment to quickly and easily set up indexing times, fill times and other settings for the machinery. The panel allows controls to be centrally located and may also include controls for other equipment such as power conveyors, turntables and more. One of the best features of the PLC is the ability to record recipes for product and bottle combinations. Once all settings have been input for a combination, the combination can be saved and recalled at a later date, making changeover that much easier.
Automatic fillers are normally one of many machines on an automated packaging line. So in addition to performing efficiently and effectively, these machines must work with other equipment such as the conveyor system noted above, capping machines, labelers and any other machine on the system. An anti-bottle back up vision system helps the filling machine with communication. These vision systems are used to ensure jams and back ups downstream do not have a negative impact on the filler. If a jam is detected, the liquid filler will usually complete the current cycle and then cease cycles until the issue is cleared. In addition, automatic machines include a no bottle, no fill vision system to ensure that the cycle will only begin when the correct number of bottles have entered the fill zone. Depending on the filler, this vision system can help to avoid messy spills while also ensuring maximum efficiency. Other custom vision systems may be used with the filling equipment if the need arises.
Two to Sixteen Heads with an Upgradeable Design
Automatic liquid fillers will normally be manufactured with anywhere from two to sixteen fill heads, depending on the production demand for the product or products being run. The design of the two head filling machine, however, will usually include the ability to easily add heads in the future. In other words, the machines are upgradeable to up to sixteen fill heads, regardless of the number of heads on the equipment when delivered to the packager's production floor. This design allows the equipment to grow with the packager, extending the useful life of the machine and saving the packager from needing new equipment every time sales increase.
While there are many other features that may be added to a filling machine, the features noted above are normally standard on all equipment. To learn more about the different filling machines and custom equipment offered by Liquid Packaging Solutions, jump over and browse the filling machinery section our the website.