The Basics of Liquid Filling Machines

Browsing the NPACK website for filling machinery can leave those new to the packaging industry scratching their head. Overflow? Gravity? Piston or pump? Which one is best for my project? The answer, of course, depends on a number of different factors, including what the packager wants to accomplish! The types of filling machines, as well as the different options available, are too numerous to list in a single post. However, below are some basic questions regarding filling machines, the answers to these questions will help to guide NPACK Packaging Specialists as they lead packagers to the best filling solution for their unique packaging project.

What Product Is Being Filled?

When discussing filling machines, one of the first questions will be what product or products are being bottled. Different types of filling machines can handle different liquid viscosities. For example, a thick product may be more suited for a piston filler than an overflow filling machine. While thin products may fill better with a gravity filler versus that same piston filling machine. While the viscosity levels for each type of machine may overlap, filling certain products may quickly eliminate specific types of machinery from the equation.

Does Your Product Have Any Unique Characteristics?

Some products may change viscosity as the temperature changes. Other liquid products might contain particulates, such as salad dressings or some liquid soaps. Any unique product characteristics can have some bearing on which liquid filler would be best for any given project. A spaghetti sauce with chunks of vegetables, for example, might require a piston filling machine to move these chunks through the product pathway. Using an overflow filler or gravity filler could cause nozzles or hoses to become blocked or jammed, resulting in a rather inefficient filling process. Identifying the unique product characteristics can also eliminate some filling machines in the search for the ideal equipment.

What Type of Bottle Or Container Is Being Used to Packaging The Product?

Sometimes, more than one machine may work well for a given product. However, considering the bottle or container being used can also help to make the ideal choice for some projects. For example, a packager using a clear container may want to take advantage of the overflow filler, which will fill each container to the same level regardless of small inconsistencies in the interior volume of the container. This provides an attractive presence when the product reaches the shelf. Other products may use large containers or small containers, which in turn can have an effect on the machine or the nozzles that will be used for packaging. So in addition to the product itself, the package being used can help to determine which filler will best suit any given project.

How Many Bottles Per Hour Do You Want To Fill?

The production requirements will help to determine the automation level of the filling machine. Each type of filling machine can be manufactured as a tabletop filler, a semi-automatic machine or a fully automated piece of equipment. Semi-automatic equipment requires manual labor to place bottles, activate the fill process and remove the filled containers. This can slow down the rate at which the process is completed. Automated machines will require less operator interaction and the rate of filling can increase dramatically. Therefore, the number of bottles per minute required to reach production demands will also assist in finding the perfect machine for any project.

These are, of course, not an exhaustive list of the questions that need to be answered. But the general questions can lead to more specific questions regarding any given project. Future growth, current budget, the likelihood of additional products and many other factors will help to identify the ideal solution for any individual project. If you need additional information on filling machines or assistance in locating the best machine for your own needs, feel free to contact a Packaging Specialist at NPACK today.

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