There are a few questions to ask yourself when determining which liquid filling machine is right for your project. As each machine is unique in its filling techniques and performance abilities, certain questions that are asked will help to narrow down the choices and select a machine that will best suit your application.
The first questions to ask are, “What is the nature of my product and how will this affect the machine’s filling technique?” Each product has a different viscosity, or consistency. Some products might be water-thin, some might be semi-viscous, and others might be viscous. An example of a water-thin product is perfume, while an example of a viscous product is shampoo or oil. Once you understand the consistency of your product, you must next determine how that will affect the machine’s filling technique. If your product tends to be foamy, you might consider a machine that handles bottom-up filling. Bottom-up filling is used to reduce splashing by making sure the nozzles of each pump rise above the liquid as the container is being filled. If your product needs to be heated before the container is filled, your machine must accommodate the hot-fill technique. With this technique, your product is heated to a liquid consistency before the container is filled. Types of products that might need this technique are deodorant, lipstick, and mascara. If your product has a flashpoint of 100°F or less, you would need an XP, or explosion resistant machine that is air operated. Some examples of this type of product are perfume and alcohol.
The next questions to ask are, “What kind of container will I be using and what is its fill volume?” The more information you can give on what kind of container you will be using, the better. Your container could be glass, plastic, large, or small. If your container is small and unsteady, you might need to use what is called a puck which holds the unstable container and assures that the liquid filling process is clean and accurate. Do you have a cap? Do you need to insert a pump spray, nail polish brush, eye dropper, etc.? Will you need to label or seal the container? All of these container attributes play a part in what kind of machine you will need. You will also need to know what the fill volume is of your container. The fill volume will help indicate what kind of nozzle to use as well as if an automatic or semi-automatic machine is needed.
The last question that needs to be asked is, “What is my production rate?” The production rate is a crucial factor in determining what machine will be used in your liquid filling project. There are two types of filling machines: semi-automatic or automatic. A semi-automatic machine, or Benchtop Filler, is a cost effective machine that is used mainly in laboratories, R&D, start-up companies or small production runs. The Benchtop needs some assistance in operation and can fill up to 30 containers per minute depending on the product and fill volume. The automatic filling machines have conveyors that carry the containers to the filling station, can accommodate many upstream and downstream packaging functions, and provide a turnkey packaging system. These machines can be more complex and have a higher production rate.
By answering these questions, you will be able to provide enough information to determine what filling machine is the best solution for your production needs.