Which Liquid Filler For My Product?

Before your great new product can even hit the shelves, you must first find a way to get it into the container. Liquid filling equipment is manufactured to handle low and high viscosity products as well as products with particulates. Choosing the correct filler for your product will make the packaging process more efficient and cost-effective.

Filling Equipment for Thin Products

Water, Other Beverages, Glass Cleaner

Typically, two types of detergent filling machine will be used to fill low viscosity, free-flowing products. The first is known in the packaging industry as an overflow filler. As overflow nozzles seal on a bottle, product is pulled from a supply tank and released into the bottle. As the liquid reaches a certain level, it “overflows” through a return port in the nozzle back to the supply tank where it is recirculated and eventually used again. The main advantage of the overflow filler is the level fill that is provided by the unique nozzles. This is especially useful for products that are packaged in clear containers, like bottled water.

The second type of filling machine used for lower viscosity products is a gravity filling machine. Gravity fillers use a time based fill principle which basically opens and closes fill nozzles for a pre-set amount of time. Gravity fillers can also be manufactured with positive shut off nozzles to stop drips, bottom up filling to avoid air pockets and other options to optimize the fill.

Filling Equipment for Thick Products

Toothpaste, Hair Gels, Ketchup

Thick products will also often be filled by one of two different types of filling equipment. Pump filling machines are ideal for pushing thicker products along the product pathway and into containers. One pump will be used for each fill head on these machines and the type of pump used will always be matched to the product itself. Pump fillers may be time based, meaning the pump will turn on for a set amount of time each filling cycle, or pulse based, meaning a pump component (such as a gear) will move a specified distance each cycle. (For example, a “pulse” may be equal to a half turn of a gear in a gear pump).

Piston fillers can handle a wide range of product types, including highly viscous products. The basic operation of the piston filler consists of the piston retracting and pulling product into the cylinder. The piston then pushes product out of the cylinder and into the waiting container. Given that the cylinder size and shape does not change and the stroke of the piston will remain the same, piston fillers are highly accurate volumetric filling equipment.

Filling Equipment for Unique Products

Salsas, Candles, Glue

Some products require extra consideration during the filling phase of packaging. Salsas, jams and jellies may all contain chunks of food that can make filling difficult. While a piston filler will normally handle products with large particulates or chunks, the packager must consider how to keep the particulates from settling. A filling machine may be set up with a mixer or agitator in the product supply tank to avoid the settling of particulates and keep product fills consistent. Other products, such as candles and glue, may need to change consistencies during the fill process. Product may be heated, requiring special tubing, nozzles and supply tanks, to attain a liquid form for filling. The timing of the fill and the product temperature also become crucial in such a situation, as even a slight change in viscosity can change the fill parameters. In addition, some products need to be filled not by height or volume, but by net weight. A scale system can also be incorporated into a filling machine to obtain such goals.

Whether bottling a free-flowing product like water or a thick, viscous product like paste, a filling machine exists to assist you in packaging your product. Choosing the correct filler for your product will do nothing less than save you both time and money.


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