Choosing the right filling equipment for your business depends on understanding the characteristics of your product and your production demands. Here are some factors to consider when narrowing down your options from the wide range of equipment available.
Method of Filling
The viscosity of your liquid is one key factor in choosing your filling method, although production and packaging factors can also play a role in the choice.
Gravity fillers are well-suited for low viscosity or frothy liquids that do not contain any particles. With this method, liquid flows down into the containers by the natural force of gravity. The product needs to be held in a storage tank above the container to work. This system dispenses the same amount of liquid each time using a timed fill.
Overflow fillers can fill bottles to the same level, regardless of any irregularities in the interior volume of the containers. For retail products that might be arranged side-by-side on a shelf, this method will create a professional-looking uniformity, and consumers won’t reject an individual container for appearing to contain less product. This filling method works best with thin to medium viscosity products, and it can fill bottles at a fast rate.
Piston fillers are suitable for thin to thick viscosities, and it can also handle semi-solids and liquids with particulates. Piston fillers dispense product in precise amounts with very little waste, making them well-suited for pharmaceutical use or expensive products.
Pump fillers can process substances of any viscosity, but they are especially suited for thick, chunky, stretchy or drippy products. They also permit easier changes between different-sized containers.
Level of Automation
To choose the best level of automation for your filling machinery, you will have to balance the convenience of automation against cost and space requirements. Manual filling machines can be used by a single operator to fill containers one at a time. They are an affordable and space-efficient option for companies that do not yet require high production speeds. Semi-automatic filling machines still require some manual operation, but they offer faster production speeds than manual machines. They have a mid-range price and are adaptable to many systems. Automatic filling machines are the best choice for large-scale companies with high production requirements. They take up the most space, are usually connected to conveyors, and require the least manual operation.
Keep in mind the level of growth you are expecting over the next few years so the equipment you purchase today will continue to meet your production demands over time.
Shape of Container
In general, most filling equipment can be adapted to handle all sorts of containers. However, you will make the best match if you consult with your manufacturer about the specific packaging you are using. For example, if your container is unusually wide, that will affect what types of machines can grip it. Or, if you are using shrink sleeve labels with a non-symmetrical bottle shape, you will need a system that can position the containers precisely on the conveyor.
Compatibility with Other Systems
Consult with your manufacturer to see how adaptable their equipment is to being incorporated into a larger packaging process, as well as how easy or complicated it will be to customize the machine. Try to imagine how your product offerings might expand in the future and prepare for it with flexible systems now.
Reliability and Ease of Use
The purchase cost of your equipment is just one factor of its total expense over the course of its life. You will save money over the long term by choosing high-quality and reliable equipment that is easy to operate and clean. Beware of a lower-priced machine that may cost more over the long term with more frequent repairs and other issues that interrupt operations.
The level of support available from the manufacturer also plays a role in the ease of use of your equipment. Before you make your purchase, ask them:
- How do they guarantee the quality of their equipment?
- What customer support do they offer, and for how long?
- How invested are they in the long-term success of your business?
- How long does it take for them to ship replacement parts? Do they usually have those parts in stock?
- How responsive are they to questions from clients?
Working through these questions before you make your purchase will help you choose equipment that is well-matched to your current needs and will grow with you over time.
Let Apex Help You
Apex offers all of our clients customized solutions to their filling needs. Call us at 219-575-7493 or visit our page here to discuss the best equipment choices for you.