At NPACK, we often receive requests for information regarding the price for a "standard" machine, such as an overflow filler or a gravity filler. As we have stated before, however, the idea of a standard filling machine is a little bit misleading. The standard filler really just creates a starting point for the ideal custom configuration of the machine for the project at hand. Different options and designs will then be used to create the machine based on the product, the containers, the production demands and other traits of each individual project. To give some insight on how this process works, several options are listed below that may or may not be found on a filling machine or may vary from machine to machine, based on the traits of the project.
Drip trays can be added to liquid fillers when products tend to string, splash or, simply put, drip. The tray slides into position after the fill is complete to catch any excess liquid. Using a drip tray can speed up the cleaning of the machine at the end of the day or when changing over from one bottle or product to another. In addition, it can help protect the machine from unnecessary wear and tear by keeping product strings, splashes or drips off of the conveyor. This simple addition to the machine will not always be necessary, but can be beneifical in some applications.
Rather than the product, bottle grabbers may be added to equipment when the bottle or other container proves to be a challenge. Bottle grabbers, or neck grabbers, add a little more support to help stabilize containers to ensure they get and stay in position during the fill cycle. Once bottles are indexed into the fill area, the bottle grabbers will slide into position, usually on the neck, to avoid slipping, sliding or repositioning during the fill. Again, these bottle grabbers are an items that may or may not be used on a filling machine, depending on the type of containers being used by an individual packager.
More times than not, a pin indexing system will be used to move bottles into and out of the fill area. However, there are some applications that will switch out pin indexing for a starwheel, screw or some other system. At times, speed may be an issue and higher production may warrant a different indexing system. In some other cases, the bottle or container types may again be more suited to a different type of indexing. Automatic machinery will include an indexing system, but the type of system will also depend on the individual project.
CIP, or Clean In Place, systems can be ideal additions to a filling machine that uses a multitude of products. This option is set up in the control panel and allows the product pathway, tank and any other components to be quickly and easily cleaned using a variety of media. Using a CIP system, in some situations, avoids dismantling different components every time a product changeover occurs, saving both time and money created during the downtime. CIP systems may also be used by packagers running only a single product simply for the convenience provided in clean up.
Many other options are available, from the nozzle size and type used on a liquid filler to the type of pump pushing product through the plumbing. Even the plumbing itself and the connections may vary for certain projects. So when looking for pricing on a "standard" filling machine, do not be surprised if you are first asked a few questions about your product and process! Gathering information to find the ideal solution for any filling project is the best way for the continued success of our company as well as those packagers that we serve. To discuss your filling project with a Packaging Professional at NPACK, simply give our offices a call.