Full Service Fill Up
By: Jeff Falk
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the September 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.
Improved automation, simplicity and “smart functions” are among the capabilities and attributes of today’s filling equipment, allowing manufacturers to achieve more with less and marketers to distinguish themselves through the development and use of unique packaging.
You’ve contracted a lab, they’ve formulated a winning product, and you’ve sourced eye-popping bottles and tubes. You’re ready for production. How are you set for filling equipment?
Liquid filling equipment can be a sizable investment—whether for a start-up with modest production runs, a company managing global brands or filling contractors—and basic considerations include size, speed, accuracy, changeover/cleaning time, no-container/no-fill system, drive location and equipment standards.
According to The Wiley Encyclopedia of Packaging Terminology, liquid filling machines can be classified in terms of two fundamental characteristics: the employed filling method and the container positioning method—from manually loaded to in-line and rotary fillers. Methods of fill are divided into two primary categories, the sealed-container system and the unsealed-container system. Gravity filling is a simple and reliable method, and one that is typical of smaller production lines. In this system, product flows through a valve into the container and air from the container exits the bottle through the same valve.1
But what about today’s technology offers more than just the very basic? Industry experts explain the capabilities of today’s machines and the levels of innovation, customization and features that have improved speed to market. They also describe the benefits afforded by today’s filling machines.