SPICES EXTRACTS & ESSENTIAL OILS
Extracts, essential oils and flavors are typically high value products that are sold in small container sizes. However, there are also firms in this industry that produce liquid extracts and flavors in larger bulk sizes. The type of filling machine needed in this industry would depend on the range of fill volumes. The flavor producers selling larger bulk containers typically use a Net Weigh Filling Machine or a Servo Pump Filling Machine because of the ability to deliver larger volumes of expensive liquids at relatively high accuracy. The choice of volumetric or net weigh oftentimes is dictated by the marketplace. Although piston fillers can also be used for these types of products in the larger volumetric fill sizes, it is generally not as practical because of the changeover and cleanup requirements on a piston filler. It can be noted that companies filling in larger bulk containers make up a smaller number of suppliers in this industry.
Net Weigh Filling Machine for Flavors and Extracts in Larger Volumes.
Flavors in bulk are produced in metal cans, small totes and drums of various sizes. Many producers fill their products in all the formats described above. Since net weigh fillers use an open scale and also accurately account for the tare weight of all these different container types, there is often no concern for the shape or volume of the containers; the quantity of product delivered is always precise. This also means that a Weigh Filling Machine is very flexible for the range of products it can produce but it is a fairly low speed machine except for extremely expensive rotary systems that are rare and beyond the scope of this description. Generally speaking, net weigh systems have a fairly low container per minute output and a higher capital cost.
Because the process side of the flavor production is typically direct coupled to the Net Weigh Filling Machine, there is little to no “extra” fluid path to clean. Therefore, cross contamination can be easily controlled.
Servo Pump Filling Machine for Flavors and Extracts
Some flavor companies fill their products volumetrically in plastic totes and larger bottles. As long as their products’ bulk density does not change drastically from batch to batch (or as long as this is not important to their customers) the Servo Pump Filling Machine is an extremely accurate volumetric filler that is flexible, easy to use and easy to clean. Because a programmable servo controlled pump is used on each nozzle, there is no practical limitation to the size of the containers being filled. This means a flavor producer could fill both 5 gallon totes as well as quart containers of a product on the same machine quickly and efficiently.
Although this machine is easy to clean, it does have substantial amount of fluid path which may cause an unacceptable amount of residual product to be wasted in the cleaning process. If the product value is very high, the servo pump machine may not be appropriate for this reason. But since flavor production is generally not a very high output, the number of filling heads on this type of system and therefore the amount of residual fluid path would be limited. This observation is also important because each servo controlled pump/nozzle combination on this system is expensive and typically costs over $10,000 per nozzle.
Peristaltic Filling Machine for Extracts and Essential Oils
Essential oils and extracts are high value, low viscosity products typically sold in small size glass vials. The peristaltic machine is Ideal for these products because of accuracy of small fill sizes, ease of cleanup, and because there can be no cross contamination of different products run on the same filling machine.
Cross contamination is avoided because the only thing that touches the liquid is the peristaltic tubing itself which is composed of silicone or other inert specialty polymer materials. This tubing is inexpensive and can be easily cleaned, dedicated to a particular liquid, or simply thrown away after use. The size of tubing chosen in this machine depends on the fill size and accuracy required. The smaller diameter of tubing used, the higher the accuracy but the slower the fill rate. This explains why this machine is best utilized on small fills where high accuracy is needed. Large fill sizes greater than 1 liter are typically not filled on this type of machine because the fill cycle time can be lengthy. But for a typical fill size of 5 to 10 ml, again this is the ideal machine. The peristaltic filling machine dominates this industry because there is little to no waste of an expensive product.