Viscosity Changes Can Affect Filling Machine Performance

Trick or Treating in the Liquid Packaging Solutions area last night including an unexpected visitor in the form of white falling flakes. While those in Northwest Indiana are used to snow, it typically does not start before the ghosts and goblins are put to bed on November 1st. With the first snowfall, LPS likes to annually remind packagers, albeit a little early this year, that temperature changes can have an effect on filling machine performance.

To be clear, where product and equipment are in a climate controlled environment that stays at a constant temperature, this effect should not be seen. It will also not be seen in every liquid product. However, if the temperature on the production floor or in a storage area fluctuates even a few degrees, some packagers may notice inconsistencies in their fills.

For example, oils - from motor oils to vegetable oils and even essential oils - will almost all change in viscosity as the temperature changes. When bottling any of these items, more times than not both the machinery and the oil will be kept in a space that has some type of temperature control, even if it is nothing more than the four walls of a building. However, even where product is stored in a warehouse or on a production floor, the inside temperature may change by a few degrees based on the season or the current weather.

In these situations, a filling machine that was consistent and reliable one day could start presenting various levels or differing volume from bottle to bottle or cycle to cycle. This situation can become even more frustrating when operators don't immediately realize that there has been a temperature change. By looking for other causes, other machine settings may be changed which can simply exacerbate the inconsistency of the liquid filler.

Unfortunately, there is no alarm on the filling machine that will alert an operator to a change in viscosity, and as noted above, not all products will be affected even when there is a change in temperature. Packagers must be aware of their own storage and production processes as well as the effect of temperature on their own product. With this information, the product itself should be checked for viscosity changes if inconsistent fills do occur. In most cases, a simple adjustment to fill times can bring back the consistency, and LPS representatives are always available to help remedy the situation and guide the operators through the process.

LPS technicians can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.