While you do not need to be a Sherlock Holmes level investigator to discover the best filling machine for your own project, there are some things to look at to ensure the machine will deliver the efficiency and reliability necessary. Below are five "clues" that will help a packager discover the ideal bottling equipment for any packaging project.
Different filling principles provide different ways of moving and measuring product as they make their way in to the bottle. Fillers may be built to fill liquid to a certain level or they may be manufactured to fill by a certain volume. In addition, a products viscosity can affect which principle will work best for a project. Free-flowing products typically work best with overflow fillers and gravity fillers. On the other hand, thick products benefit from the assistance of pumps or pistons when moving product through a bottle filler. Analyzing the product and the method of fill desired will help to determine which filling principle will provide the most efficient functioning of the machine.
RANGE OF BOTTLES AND CONTAINERS
More times than not, a packager will be filling multiple container sizes and shapes, versus a single container. To avoid unnecessary costs or the purchase of multiple pieces of equipment, a packager will want to make sure that the machine acquired can handle the entire range of container shapes and sizes being produced. Though it is rare to find a project where a standard filler will not handle the range of containers, conveyors, slide tracks, height adjustments, piston sizes and many other features of a filling machine can be modified or custom manufactured to handle unique ranges of shapes and/or sizes.
Machine automation levels will depend, in large part, on how much product must be produced in a given period of time. Anyone who has dealt with packaging equipment in the past know that "bottles per minute" is a statistic that comes up pretty routinely. In other words, how many bottles per minute can a machine produce? Semi-automatic equipment will depend on the operator of the machine, while the numbers for automatic equipment will depend more on the size of containers. Determining the number of bottles are needed per minute to meet production goals will help to determine what level of automation will be necessary for a given project.
Related to current production, a packager must also ask what type of growth is expected for the company in the future. Building a machine that can handle current production needs can be a huge mistake if production is expected to double within the first year. While growth cannot be predicted with certainty, estimating can save equipment from becoming obsolete. While a semi-automatic machine may produce enough product to handle current contracts, automatic equipment may be warranted if much higher speeds would be necessary with a few more contracts. Most bottle fillers are built to be upgradeable by adding extra fill heads or by automating semi-automatic equipment, allowing the liquid fillers to grow with the company.
Finally, filling equipment should be built to work with other packaging machinery. Whether placed into an existing system or procured as a first step toward a fully automated line, bottle fillers should be able to work with just about any system. Automatic filling machines from NPACK are built on a portable frame that allows the machine to roll up to just about any power conveyor system, or work as a stand alone machine. Ensuring that all packaging equipment acquired for a project will work together also ensures a long life for the equipment and efficient functioning for the process as a whole.
Of course there may exist other factors to look at when acquiring filling equipment, these five factors will put a packager on the right path to find the ideal solution for any project. To learn more about any of the filling equipment built by NPACK, call our offices to speak with a Packaging Specialist today.