Vision Systems for Automatic Filling Machines

Vision Systems for Automatic Filling Machines

Automatic filling machines are manufactured and added to packaging lines to reduce the amount of necessary interaction by an operator or other manual labor.  When operating correctly, the automatic filler will only require an operator to replenish the bulk supply of product from time to time.  However, a tipped bottle on the conveyor, a broken container, a snagged bottle on the power conveyor or other unforeseen circumstances can still cause problems with the consistency and reliability of the filling process when using an automatic machine.  Some of the vision systems that can be added to automatic filling machines help to avoid, or minimize the damage that can be done in these circumstances.


Automatic bottle fillers will use a sensor to count the number of bottles or containers that are entering the fill area.  Only after the correct number of containers have been counted will the fill cycle begin.  This is a critical component of the filling machine in that by stopping the fill cycle, the sensor ensures that nozzles will not open and dispense product without a container present.  Without this vision system, the liquid filler would need to be shut down to clean up this spill, in turn delaying the functioning of every other packaging machine on the line.  Though a simple system, the no bottle, no fill vision system creates a more efficient packaging machine by ensuring that missing bottles will not create lengthy downtime or clean-up for the operators of the entire packaging line.


Even if the automatic filler is functioning properly, keep in mind that normally all of the automatic packaging equipment will be attached to a single power conveyor system.  When this is true, bottle jams or machine malfunctions downstream from the liquid filler can cause problems if the filling machine simply continues to do its job.  For instance, if a bad cap causes a jam on an automatic capping machine, this will stop the progress of all of the containers behind that machine.  However, if the filler continues to load bottles with product and eject them, the small problem of a bad cap suddenly becomes a larger problem of bottles jamming and spilling on the conveyor or even other machinery becoming jammed or even damaged due to the bottle back ups.  Instead, the anti-bottle back up vision system will use a sensor downstream to look for bottles that are not moving.  If a bottle sits in front of the sensor for a set period of time, a signal will be sent back to the filling machine to stop cycling bottles once the current cycle is complete.  Once the jam is cleared, the automatic filler can easily be restarted and the problem has not become compounded as described above.

Vision systems are not used exclusively for the filling machine, as other packaging machinery can also benefit from these preventative measures.  To learn more about the different vision systems used on fillers, capping machines, rinsing machines or other packaging equipment, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today.