Filling machines are designed to speed up the production line, especially for liquid bottling operations. Filling systems come in a variety of designs, ranging from semi-automatic table top versions to extremely efficient automatic multi-head filling machines.
The size of your operations and the type of liquid you’re working with are among some of the factors that determine the best filling machine for the job. This guide will introduce you to different types of filling machines and help you decide which equipment is right for your business.
What is a Filling Machine?
Liquid filling machines play a vital part in the production of bottled products, including sports drinks and cleaning solutions. Some filling machines can also handle more viscous substances, like pastes, creams, and chunky products such as sauces or salsa.
Bottle filling machines are often stainless steel, and range in design from single head manual filling machines, like a tabletop piston filler, to much more elaborate configurations, like a fully-automatic multi-head filling machine with many heads for greater throughput.
Filling equipment must be selected based on key factors, like the desired speed of production, the type of liquid, and the size of the container being used.
How Does a Filling Machine Work?
The purpose of a filling machine is to efficiently deposit a precise amount of liquid into each container based on time, weight, volume, or a combination of these measurements. The exact way in which a filling machine functions depends on a few factors, like whether your production line is semi-automated or fully-automated.
With a semi-automated bottle filler, a human typically places each bottle under the machine, but a conveyor belt may assist in this step. A human may also be responsible for deciding when the machine starts and stops releasing liquid into the container.
Fully-automated filling machines control the entire process. Typically, a conveyor belt brings clean bottles into the filling area where a sensor identifies them. The machine then starts dispensing liquid before moving the containers to the capping and sealing station. More clean bottles are then moved into the filling area and the process repeats.
Can IFS Help Me Customize My Filling Machine?
At IFS, we understand that your operation is likely facing unique requirements, and we are happy to offer our engineering expertise to find the right solution for your production line.
We offer a wide range of machinery and we can accommodate foaming liquids, hazardous chemicals, food-grade products, and environments where cross-contamination is unacceptable. If you’re interested in speaking with our team of liquid packing experts, give us a call or visit our website.
How Many Kinds of Filling Machines Does IFS Offer?
IFS offers specialized filling machines suitable for a number of different products, including water, gels, creams, and sauces. Understanding the differences between our selection of bottle fillers is important in choosing the right machine for your operations.
While comparing your options, consider viscosity, efficiency, and maintenance requirements. If you don’t know the difference between a volumetric piston filler and a pump filler, the following overview will prove helpful and our team is always standing by to answer your questions.
Ideal for liquids with low to medium viscosity, these machines fill a container based on volume. An overflow filling machine is unique in that it uses a recirculation method to fill a container to a given level. The machine inserts a nozzle into each container and fills it to a specific level. During the filling process the machine returns any additional product from the container out to a holding tank for re-use.
Ideal for thin liquids with consistent flow characteristics, a time gravity filling machine keeps product in a holding tank positioned above the machine’s pneumatically operated valves. This method requires you to calculate how long it takes for your container to fill to the desired level. Containers pass under the valves at set intervals while the filling machine opens the valves to allow gravity to move the liquid from the tank and into the containers.
Ideal for items sold by weight and high-value products that demand accuracy, net weigh filling machines prevent over- or under-filling by weighing each container as it’s filled. This is ideal for bulk products sold by weight, like 5-gallon containers, and for high-value products that need to be accurately weighed to maintain profit margins.
Ideal for aqueous and light viscosity products in small volumes, these precision machines also avoid cross-contamination. Product is contained within a tube inside the pump and it is compressed by “rollers” on the rotor. The pressure exerted by each roller pinches the tube closed, forcing product down and out. As the rollers are applied and released, ambient pressure draws fluid into and out of the tube in a process known as peristalsis.
Ideal for high viscosity liquids and products with particulates, piston fillers accurately dispense product into a container based on volume. The amount of product dispensed can be easily adjusted by changing the stroke length of the piston. Because of their design, piston filling machines are excellent for thick and semi-solid products, like chunky condiments, cosmetic creams, waxes, heavy oils, gels, and adhesives.
Ideal for liquid and semi-liquid products, servo pump filling machines are an updated alternative to piston fillers. These machines use an encoded rotary pump that offers accuracy and clean dispensing, even for high viscosity products. Special nozzles can be added to manage specific product properties. Compared to traditional piston fillers, the servo pump fillers offer greater container size flexibility with faster changeovers in sizes with less air use and a Clean in Place (CIP) design capability.
Ideal for small and unstable containers, monoblock fill plug machines are explicitly designed to help secure containers in place while they are being filled. These machines are ideal for small containers that can be easily displaced by the movement or pressure of other filling machines and for oddly shaped containers that lack stability. These machines handle all of the needed functions (filling, plugging and capping)in one platform.
Ideal for brine and vinegar solutions with and without particulates the filler provides a consistent brine level in the container to cover the product. Because bring and vinegar solutions are corrosive to equipment overtime, brine filling machines are explicitly designed to handle these liquids effectively. They are also capable of processing various parictulates within the liquids without being susceptible to clogs and buildup in the nozzle.
Ideal for dispensing product into five-gallon pails based on weight or volume, the pail filling machines from IFS are a cost-effective solution to managing pails and lid sealing. The standard pail filler is designed for 5-gallon buckets, but can be customized to meet your needs.
Ideal for filling totes, 25-gallon barrels, 55-gallon drums, and similar large containers. Drum filling machines can be set up to fill based on weight, volume or a combination of these measures, allowing for accuracy even in large quantities. Configuration options include top-fill or bottom-fill, with top-fill being more economical but not suitable for foaming products. Bottom-fill machines are more expensive, but offer the most versatility.
Why Should I Choose a Filling Machine from IFS?
Inline Filling Systems has been in business for over 25 years and has the widest selection of filling equipment with more than 700 types of machinery in our extensive catalog. Our team manufactures and services all of our equipment from our factory in Florida.
When you choose a filling machine from IFS, you’ll benefit from expert service, advanced customization options, and superior machine maintenance. Whether you’re a small operation seeking a semi-automatic solution or a large operation in need of a fully-automatic process, we have the knowledge and equipment necessary to fulfill your needs.
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