- What products are being filled?
Looking for specific product characteristics will narrow down the range of types of filling machines that will work. Sometimes, there is one obvious choice of a machine that can do the job. Oftentimes, there are several types of filling machine can do the job and each machine possibility will be evaluated further as more information is developed. For instance, for a cosmetic company you may be distributing mascara that needs a very specific type of container, while a beverage business may only need two liter bottles of soda all day long. The type of liquid and type of product container will make a big difference in finding a machine that matches your needs. Therefore, you should know clearly which products are being filled when you choose a filling machine.
- Will the filling machine be automatic or semi automatic or even manual?
Just like a car, a filling machine allows you to choose your level of involvement with the process. If you need a certain number of bottles filled per minute, automatic is best. But if your products are delicate and require specialized attention, manual might be better. In a word, the answer to this question obviously depends on the level of production needed by the customer. But each customer has a different idea of how they define their production. Sometimes an experienced customer knows exactly how many bottles per minute (BPM) their machine must reach. Sometimes the customer only knows how many cases a week they need to produce or even how many containers a year they need to produce. Usually speaking, a requirement of less than 2000 containers per day of production means semiautomatic equipment.
- What is the nozzle characteristics required for the job?
Both the physical characteristics of the container and handling requirements of the liquid product will determine optimal nozzle sizes and types as well as whether or not diving or subsurface filling is necessary. Container characteristics such as bottle opening size, container height and shape will determine the nozzle types needed. Note that in many cases, the container shape may be the primary determinant for what type of filling machine must be used. Nozzle types, nozzle lengths, nozzle opening sizes, nozzle seal materials, nozzle shutoff styles, port angles, bottle handling and profile requirements and many other custom engineering considerations are evaluated. Typically, one size or type of nozzle will simply not handle the customer’s range of products and a nozzle strategy may be specified for each product.
- What are the plant environment and operations considerations?
Every plant is different in size, air quality, electrical availability, and safety. The machine design you choose must work with your plant’s environment so that sanitation is not ignored and all elements required to keep the machine running are readily available. Filling machines installed in plants filling explosive or corrosive chemicals must meet insurance, local safety and electrical requirements. Filling machines installed in sanitary plant locations are constantly wetted and washed down and must be sealed appropriately as well as use wash down rated components. The design and choice of the type of control system on a filling system are strongly influenced by plant environment. This is important because the type of controls in filler is a major cost consideration.
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