Switching from a manual filling system to an automatic one is an important step while expanding your business and increasing your production. However, what kind of filling technologies are out there and how do you choose between them?
We list five main filling technologies, of which the choice depends on the specification of product to be filled, the size of the container, and sometimes on the budget:
- The level detection filling system, as its name suggests, consists in using gravity or vacuum power to fill the content of a tank into the intended container, until the product reaches the wanted level. The simplicity of this system means that its cost is relatively low. On the other hand, the filling accuracy is also very low, no matter the number of sensors placed on the machine, it is difficult to reach the exact same level to the millimeter. The level filling machines are typically used in water bottling factories, for which the accuracy is not critical criteria.
- For the free flow filling systems, the principle is quite similar, except that instead of using the level as a mark to stop the filling, these machines are based on a stopwatch, and the duration of the filling allows the obtaining of the desired weight or volume. The disadvantage with this type of filling is not only the low precision, but also the product flow’s speed, which varies according to the amount of product inside of the tank. For example, if f the tank is completely full, the pressure causes the flow to be faster than if the tank was half-full.
- The flowmeter systems measure the quantity of the product filled while it is leaving the nozzle, thanks to sensors in direct contact with the product, which allows the filling accuracy to be more sensitive, but mainly for liquid products. In fact, either the density of the product is low or high, or if the product contains pieces, the sensors are not able to consider these parameters when determining the weight. For that reason, this system is generally used for liquid products.
- The gravimetric filling systems fill by weight, regardless of product homogeneity, which is good when the products has large particles inside (over 3 or 5 centimeters). However, between the moment when the scale sends the signal that the desired weight has been reached, and when the machine stops filling, there is always a gap of product that had already flowed out of the filling nozzle, and which has not yet reached in the container for weighing. As a result, the actual weight is not exact and the only way to overcome this problem is to fill more slowly, which affects the filling speed. This system is ideally used for large weights (10 kilos and more) where the lack of accuracy becomes less obvious.
- As for the volumetric filling systems, which KULP uses for its dosing machines. It is composed of a system which sucks the product into a volumetric cylinder with a pneumatic piston inside, and which moves back to suck the desired volume and then push it forward towards the filling nozzle. Thus, either for small or large volumes, the same setting on the machine allows an accurate and constant filling. Whether the product is liquid, semi-liquid, viscous, foamy, and pasty or even with pieces inside. The priming and ejecting speed of the product flow can be adjusted depending to the type of the product or the wanted capacity.