Whether you already have a full production system in operation, or whether you are starting off with a blank slate, learning about all the filling equipment options available can help you make the best purchasing decisions for your company at every stage of its development.
The very foundation of the filling process is the basic operation of putting a liquid or semi-solid substance into a container. There are a number of different methods for this, and the right choice for you depends on what you are filling, how quickly you need to fill your containers, and other marketing and production factors. This article looks at piston fillers.
How Piston Fillers Operate
Piston filling machines work by measuring a set amount of volume precisely. When the piston draws back, it lets a precise amount of product from a supply system into the piston chamber. This product is then pushed out through the fill head into the individual container.
What Sets Piston Fillers Apart
Unlike some fillers that are designed to fill to a set level in a container, piston fillers premeasure an exact quantity of liquid by volume. Their precision makes them a good choice for fluids that must be packaged in precise amounts, such as single-dose medications, or that are too costly to risk any waste or excess filling, such as certain essential oils.
Because piston fillers do not rely on gravity to fill containers, the supply container that feeds the machine does not necessarily have to be located directly above automatic fillers, which can be more convenient for large quantities. These containers can be configured using either a buffer tank with a level-sensing float, a manifold with direct draw or a recirculation method.
What Liquids They Handle
Piston fillers work with anything from thin, watery liquids to heavier, high-viscosity substances like car wax. In addition, they can process any liquid or semi-solid with particulates, from orange juice with pulp to chunky salsa.
Matching the correct fill head to the correct liquid is important, and many companies would benefit by getting an expert opinion on how to make the right choice.
Different Levels of Automation
Semi-Automatic Tabletop Piston Fillers are ideal for a company that is just beginning to move from hand-filling, assisting a single operator who fills one container at a time. The lower cost of the equipment also allows business owners to grow in stages without having to invest too much to get started. The filler operates with the depression of a foot pedal and will stand by until the pedal is pressed again, giving the operator a chance to position a new container. It has a small footprint and can be disassembled and cleaned in a few minutes without tools. These machines can fill up to 30 bpm, depending on the operator, container and product characteristics.
Automatic Piston Fillers are highly flexible to a wide variety of filling needs, and are ideal for high-volume, industrial production goals. They are available with one to twelve fill heads, work with a user-friendly, touch screen HMI, incorporate a conveyor belt for speedy filling, and have sensors to alert you to missing bottles or downstream jams. Contact parts are stainless steel, sanitary, Teflon, Viton and hoses, depending on your needs. Automatic piston fillers can also be adapted to work with sanitary, hazardous, flammable, and corrosive products and environments.
The Economy Two-Head Automatic Piston Filler is a scaled-down version of the automatic filler. It has a recommended fill volume of 25 ml to 60 ml, and it can be operated with a foot pedal or in auto mode. Its hopper holds 3.1 gallons, and it also suspends operation if a container is missing or if a jam occurs further down the line.
Our team at Apex is committed to helping you create the filling system that will best support the success of your business. For example, we can customize your equipment by adding a heated hopper to warm up thicker liquids so they flow more easily, as is the case with something like coconut oil, which turns solid when cold.
Some other options for customizing our piston fillers include automatic drip trays, bottle and neck grabbers, hazardous location/environment construction (Class I, Division II, Group C&D), product agitation and mixing, bottom up filling and more.
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.