Though the subject has been broached on several occasions, we are once again at a time of the year when the temperature makes a noticeable change in our Midwestern U.S. location. For others, in the United States and elsewhere, who experience seasonal weather, it is important to remember that temperature changes have the potential to affect the performance of a filling machine!
This phenomenon will not affect every bottle filler in a changing climate. In fact, it probably does not even affect a majority of filling machines. However, the environment of the packaging line, the transportation of the product or even the storage of the product can lead to a change in filler performance. For those packagers that are affected by changes in the weather, however, the fix is fairly simple.
Changes in temperature can change the viscosity of a product. When packaging takes place in a temperature controlled environment, and product is stored in a temperature controlled environment, changes in the weather will typically not be a concern. However, if product comes to the production floor from an outside source, or if a storage area is not temperature controlled, changes in the weather may affect the product. If a product viscosity becomes even slightly higher in a warmer climate, it may not flow as freely, which in turn can affect fill times.
With most automatic liquid fillers, the solution is as easy as adjusting the fill times on the touchscreen operator interface. The key point is identifying the change in weather as the issue, which will usually present through inconsistent fills. The problem arises in assuming the issue stems from something other than a change in temperature. Before disassembling a machine, ordering new parts or setting up a service call, a packager should check the storage, delivery and production environments to see if there has been a weather or temperature related change. If so, recipes may need to be updated or added to include amended fill times based on the temperature of the product as it arrives on the production floor.
While this may not be a common problem, it is one that is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. Of course, NPACK technicians are always available to assist in troubleshooting with temperature changes or in identifying any other change in production performance!
The NPACK Service Department can be reached Toll Free, Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Time at +86-13501921030 x 310.