An Intro to Bottle Fillers


For anyone new to the packaging industry, the different filling machines found on the Liquid Packaging Solutions website may be a little overwhelming. From overflow to gravity to pump to piston, each filling machine will work in its own way to move product in to a container. The following is a very general overview of the different filling machines and the situations in which they will most likely be the best solution.

GRAVITY FILLER

Gravity filling machines, as the name suggests, rely on gravity to move product from an elevated tank into the waiting containers or bottles. These economical filling machines allow for individualized control of the fill heads, with the fill based on time. Gravity fillers will basically open and close nozzles (or ball valves) for a set amount of time with each cycle, allowing for a volumetric fill. These machines are best suited for low viscosity, free-flowing and water-like liquids.

OVERFLOW FILLER

The overflow filler is a unique filling machine that, rather than filling by volume, allows a packager to fill to a level with each cycle, even if bottles do not have the same exact interior volume. These machines create a seal over the bottle opening and release product. Once the product reaches a certain level on the nozzle, a return port allows the liquid to "overflow" back to the holding tank. Ideal for products that use clear containers, overflow fillers are also best suited for low viscosity, free-flowing products and can help with products that foam.

PUMP FILLER

Pump filling machines offer another type of volumetric fill, but can handle thicker, higher viscosity products that may be hard to move through a gravity filling machine. These machines will use one pump for each fill head used on the equipment, and different pumps can be matched to different products for an efficient filling process. Pump fillers also offer the benefit of being able to control the speed of the fill by slowing down and speeding up the pump during the cycle, which can help avoid splashing, dripping and other issues.

PISTON FILLER

Piston filling machines, like the pump filler, are typically used with higher viscosity products. These machines allow for a highly accurate volumetric fill, as the product enters and exits the cylinder with each cycle. Though the piston speed can be adjusted, it will remain constant through the entire cycle, unlike the adjustable speed of the pump filler. Piston fillers are also ideal for products with larger particulates, as the cylinder allows such particulates to pass through to containers without clogging or jamming the product pathway.

All of the above liquid fillers can be manufactured as automatic or semi-automatic equipment. Of course, there are always exceptions to the typical situations laid out above, as well as additional and custom filling machines for unique projects. For assistance in finding the best filling solution for your own packaging project, call LPS to speak with an industry professional today.