In modern life, household products ranging from groceries, cooking oil, margarine, and dairy products to spices are packaged and sold in different packaging containers or sachets. In most commercial products, entrepreneurs use filling machines to pack them in vessels, containers, bags, bottles, and sachets. Many production lines and manufacturing plants, such as chemical, cement, petroleum products, and food processing factories, use filling machines to help them pack their products in precise amounts rapidly and efficiently. Filling machines come in different types, sizes, and different applications. Typically, the classification of filling machines depends on various aspects/factors, including the level/degree of automation, types of filling product, method of filling measurement/calibration, filling container, and filling direction.
Depending on the filling products, there are various filling machines, such as liquids, pastes, granules, and capsule filling machines. Regarding the filling automation level, different filling machines include manual, semi-automatic, and entirely/fully automatic filling equipment. The various machines have linear, rotary, and vertical liquid filling machines depending on the filling direction. Filling machines come in different types depending on the type of filling container, such as bottle, jar, can, tube, bag/pouch, and barrel filling machines. Arguably, various filling machines offer different applications, qualities, and capabilities.
Advantages of using filling machines
- Enhances packaging efficiency: machines minimize manual jobs, especially semi-automatic filling machines, which require minimal human intervention, and fully automatic filling machines that can handle several filling processes like filling, casing, capping, and packing. Minimizing manual tasks saves time, ultimately increasing productivity efficiency.
- Minimize waste and product rejection: Human mistakes inevitably lead to more waste due to damaged goods, overfilled packaging containers, and “wasteful” material application for packaging. As time passes, this accumulates and can have a significant impact on profitability. On the contrary, most filling machines are highly accurate, reducing unnecessary overstaffing or underfilling that may result in rejected goods or even regulatory implications.
- Better quality assurance: –Today, there is increasingly outstanding development in automation in virtually all dimensions. Automation in mechanization produces consistent outcomes. Since human aspects such as boredom and fatigue do not affect the performance of the machines, quality assurance is guaranteed.
- Safety/Reduce Injuries: Mental fatigue from repetitive tasks can result in mishaps and repetitive strain accidents/injuries since individuals often get distracted. In addition to the moral concerns, this may necessitate time off work, the payment of sick wages, and compensation should a tribunal find a corporation at fault. Filling machines increases productivity while lowering injuries and accidents by relieving employees from repetitive jobs.
Types of filling machines
1. Degree/Level/technique of Filling Automation
- Manual filling machines: Manual filling machines require users to manually fill the containers, sachets, vessels, or packaging bags with a predetermined amount of product. While some manual filling equipment has a reasonably simple design, others might be more complex.
- Semi-automatic filling machines: As the name suggests, these filling machines amalgamate manual and automated functions. Although they feature an autonomous filling system, these machines demand human operators to load and unload the packaging containers and control the filling operation. They also come in a wide range of designs and setups.
- Automatic filling machines: Automatic filling machines are entirely automated and do not require human operators for loading and unloading containers or controlling the filling procedure. These machines automatically identify a container, sachet, can, or bottle that requires filling, pour the required/specified quantity of product, and forward the filled containers to the next phase in the manufacturing process.
2. Types of filling products
- Powder filling machines: It is designed solely for packing powder-based products into tins, sachets, bags, etc. These machines employ different filling techniques, including volumetric, gravimetric, and net weight filling. These machines come in various designs and sizes depending on product type, container type, and method of filling.
- Granule filling machines: these equipment are suitable for filling/measuring items with good fluidity, including sugar, grains, French fries, candies, cereal mix, coffee, and nuts, among others.
- Liquid filling machines: these filling equipment pour liquid and semi-liquid (of varied viscosity) products in various containers of different forms (dimensions, materials) and sizes. Small and medium-sized businesses use this equipment to increase filling effectiveness.
3. Filling container
- Can filling machines: fill cans with a predetermined amount/weight of products like liquid, semi-liquid, or powder products? Food and beverage processing plants, chemical industries, and pharmaceutical production use these machines to pour products into different forms and sizes of cans.
- Barrel filling machines: these machines pour predetermined amounts of products into relatively larger containers called barrels. Ideal use cases of barrel filling machines include food and beverage processing plants and chemical industries.
- Capsule filling machines: these machines fill capsules, particularly pharmaceutical capsules, with drug materials and ingredients. Large-scale pharmaceutical productions use industrial capsule-filling machines to enhance efficiency and guarantee the precision of the drug poured into each capsule.
- Bottle-filling machines fill bottle-type containers (of different shapes and sizes) with liquid, semi-liquid, and powder-form products. These machines are compatible with other industrial systems, including conveyor belts and labelers, enabling product line automation.
4. Volumetric filling machines:
- Pump Filling Machines: these machines fill various products ranging from low-viscosity liquids like spirit to high-viscosity pastes like tar.
- Rotary valve piston filling machine: these machines have a wide-mouth rotary valve to allow thick products and products with big particulates to pass seamlessly.
- Check valve filling machine: these machines draw products from pails/drums and discharge them into containers. These equipment have an accuracy rating of plus or minus a half percent.
- Peristaltic Pump Filling Machinery: these machines are ideal for hazardous chemical and pharmaceutical applications as the machine pours the product directly from the source via a pump rather than into a pump.
5. Filling Direction
- Linear filling machines are among the earliest to fill powder, granule, and paste products. The machine adopts an excellent assembly line technique, hence the name.
- Vertical filling machine: this is a semi-automatic-piston filling equipment used to fill liquid products like detergents, sanitizers, eye drops, and oral liquid, among others.
- Vacuum filling machine: this machine is ideal for packaging vessels with narrow openings such that liquids do not spill when you invert the containers
Filling machines are undeniably incredible equipment in contemporary packaging and filling applications, and their adoption of automation technology gives them immense efficiency, accuracy, and precision.