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Choosing your filling machine; a handy guide
January 30, 2019
[:en]Whatever your filling needs, the Adelphi Group of Companies can help you find the solution that best matches your production requirements. Below are 5 key areas that must be considered before making a purchase…
- Product Viscosity & General Product Characteristics
Viscosity is the measure of a substance’s resistance to flow. Products such as rose water have a much lower viscosity than, for example, a cream or a paste, and finding the filling machine best suited to your product is essential. At Adelphi we offer a comprehensive range of filling machines, which can handle liquids, oils, creams, pastes and solids in suspension. Adelphi Manufacturing’s Response Benchtop Filler can be configured to suit most of these product types; a wider diameter nozzle is used in conjunction with a hopper feed for thicker products, while a lower viscosity product would be filled using a slimmer nozzle and a non-return valve feed pipe. A product’s fracture/stickiness is also essential to consider.
- Container Type
It stands to reason that a different machine will be suitable for filling tiny medical vials than would be used for filling what we might think of as ‘medium sized’ bottles of spirits, or ‘large’ IBC’s or drums. The size, style and material of the container you are filling is extremely important when looking for your perfect filling machine. Plastic or glass, cylindrical or square, long or short, small or large apertures, straight or tilted, stable or unstable bases and container volume are just a few of the factors that can impact the choice of your filler. Adelphi Manufacturing’s Response Monobloc Filler is capable of filling containers of anywhere between 3ml and 250ml volume, while Adelphi Masterfil’s Weigh Scale Boom Filler has been designed specifically for drums and IBC’s.
Dependent on your industry, you may have precise specification requirements for your filling accuracy. A good rate of filling accuracy also reduces costly product wasteage. Adelphi Manufacturing’s Response Benchtop Filler has an accuracy of +/- 0.25%, which is far superior to the industry average of +/- 1%. Adelphi Masterfil’s System F-600 filler has an exceptional fill accuracy of +/- 0.15%.
- Fill rate; Number of containers filled per minute
There are many variables at play when considering the fill rate of a machine, including all of the first three points mentioned above. One such example is that a cream or paste will fill very differently than a liquid or an oil, as lower viscosity products can sometimes produce splashback or foam. Another example is that a larger container will, of course, take more time to fill than a smaller container. Adelphi Manufacturing’s Response Monobloc Filler has a fill rate in the region of up to 30 per minute, dependent on product and container volume.
- Different Filling Systems
Volumetric/Piston filling – Volumetric/Piston Fillers measure and dispense free flowing products, such as thin and/or moderately dense liquids, into a container. Each fill/release cycle consists of an intake stroke, where the product is withdrawn from the container or hopper and taken into the product cylinder. The down stroke commences as soon as the product cylinder has reached its predetermined fill level. The piston pushes the product out of the cylinder and into the container.
Weigh scale filling – Your container is placed on a set of scales at the base of your machine, and the scales are zeroed before product filling begins. You pre-set a desired weight of the product you want in your container when full, and the scales identify when this weight has been reached, causing the machine to stop filling.
Flowmeter filling – This method measures the volume of product as it is travels along a tube, before it reaches the container, while Weigh Scale filling measures the volume once the product is in the container. Flowmeter machines calculate the volume of product which has been dispensed using the flow rate of the product and the internal dimensions of the tube, and stop once the pre-set volume of product has passed through the tube.
Peristaltic – This type of filling also calculates the product volume as it is flowing. It squeezes product along a feeder tube, measuring the volume using internal tube diameter, and stopping filling once the ‘distance’ of the required fill volume has been measured using a rotor.
Lastly, please don’t forget to let us know if you have any special requirements for your product or machine, some examples of which are listed below:
- Flammable products
ATEX is the name commonly given to the European Directive for controlling explosive atmospheres. Our Response Benchtop Filler can be adapted to comply with directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’) on the approximation of the laws of Members States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
We engineer-out any possible sources of static build up, and we ensure good earthing via an Earth Point included at the rear. Materials such as brass and stainless steel are used to replace some aluminium and plastic parts, and the machine is raised on conductive metal feet to allow grounding. Additionally, the hopper comes with a lid to reduce and contain fumes. Suitable for Zone 1 CAT II 2GC T4 (135 degrees Celsius)
- Upgrade options
As your business production needs increase, it can be difficult to guess what size of filling machine you will need in the future. Adelphi Masterfil’s System F range and Adelphi Manufacturing’s Response range have each been designed to incorporate the company’s semi-automatic filler, so that the initial filling investment doesn’t become obsolete as your production demands increase.
- Limited production space
Many companies including start-ups and craft producers are severely limited in their choice of filling machine by lack of space. The Response Monobloc Filler can incorporate the following elements to give a complete turnkey packaging line, in significantly less space: In-feed table, Bottle blower, Filler, Automatic cap placement, Capper, Labeller and Collection table. The starwheel design reduces the footprint of the machine, making it ideal for smaller spaces.