Faster Filling Machines – Design and Operation

One of the goals of upgrading to a filling machine is to increase the production output while also decreasing the amount of time it takes to fill bottles and other containers. The design and operation of various liquid fillers at NPACK allows for increased speed and efficiency, without sacrificing consistency and accuracy. There are several components to the speed and efficiency of the machinery that also allows the machine to adapt to the output desired by the packager.

First and foremost, filling machines can be designed to operate in an automatic or semi-automatic manner. Semi-automatic bottle fillers will produce filled containers only as fast as the operator can work, as the operator will interact with the bottles every cycle, placing the containers under the nozzles and activating the fill cycle. For packagers will low to medium production deman, the semi-automatic filler can be a good place to start. Fully automatic filling machines, on the other hand, can be set up to run multiple cycles - or daily cycles - without operator interaction on every cycle. Once set up, an operator will only need to monitor the system to ensure a smooth process, as automatic filling machines are typically one component of an entire packaging system. For packagers with medium to high production output, the automatic filler may be necessary to keep up with demand.

Automatic filling machines will use one of several types of indexing to correctly position containers for the fill. The most common method employed is pin indexing, which generally involves a gate to allow bottles to enter the fill area and a gate to hold bottles in and release them upon the completion of the fill. However, where additional speed is necessary, in some cases alternative indexing, such as screw indexing, can be used to increase output slightly. This is done by slightly decreasing the cycle time of the fill, which includes indexing times, fill times and other components such as head dives, delays and more, depending on the type of filling machine used on the packaging line.

Output can also be increased on both semi-automatic and automatic liquid fillers by designing the machine to allow for additional heads to be added in the future. A two head semi-automatic machine may be able to accommodate up to six heads as production grows. Automatic machines can also start from two heads, but can increase to up to sixteen heads in the future. The initial design of the machine will usually allow such upgrades by simply adding ports to the manifold. These ports can be opened and the upgrade will entail the simple addition of the fill head and tubing.

Of course, other factors can play a part in the speed of the filling machine, including bottle size and shape, which can affect both fill time and the handling of the containers. Where the initial design of the bottle filler does not allow for increased output in the future due to these restraints, custom designs or solutions may be created to allow the desired production demand to be met. To learn more about filling machines, speeds and the different options available to meet production demand, call to speak with a Packaging Specialist at NPACK today.