When you need to choose which of the several filling machine options will be best for your company, you will find it helpful to consider the nature of the liquid you want to fill, your production needs, and the unique advantages of each filling method. In this post, we are looking at automatic gravity fillers.
How Gravity Filling Works
A gravity filler has a hopper placed up above a set of nozzles, which is then filled with the liquid to be bottled. Once the bottles are placed below the nozzles, the nozzle valves can open, and gravity works to draw the product down. The valve is timed to shut again after a precise amount of product has flowed into the containers, and then new containers can be set underneath the valves so the process can begin again.
The Best Liquids for This Method
These machines work best with low to medium viscosity or frothy liquids, such as water rather than mayonnaise. The product also should be free of any chunks or particles that could clog the nozzle, and it should have a uniform consistency throughout. The fill is volumetric based on time, with thicker liquids requiring a slightly longer fill time than the same volume of low viscosity liquids. The same volume of product will be dispensed each time.
This machine can be found in industries that include food and beverage, specialty chemical and cosmetics and personal care, provided the product is free-flowing and has a low viscosity. Most recently, many manufacturers have been using the gravity filling process to meet the high demand for hand sanitizer. Because hand sanitizer is flammable, the filler has to be customized with explosion-proof controls, and you can turn to our experts to guide you through the process.
Given the right set of conditions, gravity filling can be a good choice for a company looking for an economical and simple automatic process.
Level of Automation
Finding the right level of automation depends on knowing which balance of speed and cost is best for your company. Unlike manual filling machines, which are used by a single operator to fill one container at a time, or semi-automatic filling machines that still require some manual operation, automatic filling machines like automatic gravity fillers are the best choice for large-scale companies with high production requirements. They take up the most space, are usually connected to conveyance systems, and require the least manual operation.
When working out which system best fits your budget, factor in 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. The number of containers you can fill per hour depends on the viscosity of your product, the volume of your containers, and the number of fill heads used. When you have taken these variables into account, you can better project the cost savings of automation based on your own specific situation.
Ease of Use
Apex fillers are made in the United States. Our machines are designed to accommodate future upgrades, and all purchases are backed by our guarantee of quality and commitment to service. Some of the features of our gravity fillers include:
- Allen Bradley PLC (programmable logic controller) that brings the power of “smart” computers to a rugged industrial environment
- User friendly touch screen HMI (human machine interface), through which you can adjust and control the speed and volume of fill
- One to 16 fill heads available
- Adjustable throttling valve on each fill head
- A “no bottle/no fill” sensor to prevent loss and spills
- Bottle back-up sensor that delays filler operation until any jam is cleared
- Emergency stop for safety
- Bottle counter
- Tool-free adjustment, and more
In addition to our standard features, many customization options are available. The fillers are compatible with conveyance systems, capping solutions and labelers. Specific features include:
- Automatic drip tray
- Bottle grabbers and neck grabbers
- Star wheel or timing screw indexing
- Clean-in-place system
- Hazardous location/environment construction – Class I, Division II, Group
- All-pneumatic construction
- Corrosion resistant construction, including all contact parts
- Product agitation and mixing
- Diving heads
- Bottom up filling
- Sanitary style construction
- High temperature applications
- Positive shut off nozzles
- Various fill head and nozzle sizes
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.