THE PAINT INDUSTRY
There are dynamic changes in the marketing of paints taking place that are having an impact on the choices of packaging machinery for paint. Because paint is thick and contains abrasive particles and pigments, a piston filler has traditionally been the workhorse of the industry. Oftentimes the piston fillers are integrated into can handling systems and are not standalone units. This is because the paint industry has been generally packaged into metal cans. But times are changing; paints are now offered in plastic bottles and pails. Very small samples of paints are also offered in bottles to help sell the paint. Piston fillers are still very common for high production of a limited size range of paint cans and bottles but pump fillers are now solving some of the unique requirements of a changing industry..
Piston fillers configured with 64 oz pistons are able to handle the traditional size range of paints from 1 gallon to 8 oz as well as pints and quarts. Piston fillers for paint have no elastomers because the abrasive nature of paint will cause them to wear prematurely and contaminate the paint product. Hosing is also minimized and is normally stainless piping to enhance cleanability between batches. Many paint products use solvents or other flammable agents in their formulas this means the piston filling machine must be all pneumatic or built to Class I Division 1 hazardous location electrical standards.
Servo pump fillers with specialized gearpumps are able to solve the problem of multiple changeovers and cleanups particularly with the production of paint color samples. Producers of liquid pigments would also enjoy benefits from fast changeovers when many different color products are being produced. Because of the abrasive nature of paint, pumps are chosen with special seals and fluid paths are kept short like piston fillers above. Inline Filling Systems expects to see more paint producers abandoning piston fillers in favor of fast changeover/fast cleanup servo pump filling machines as increased competition among paint suppliers requires smaller and more flexible batch sizes.