How to Choose the Right Filling Technology for Your Business
Filling is an essential step in getting any liquid-based product from your production floor into the hands of consumers. Whether it’s foods, beverages, cosmetics, chemicals, or cleaning products, manufacturers need to ensure that their products are accurately and efficiently filled into containers. With different types of liquid filling technologies available, selecting the right one can be a daunting task. In this blog, we will explore five different liquid filling technologies–weight fillers, gravity fillers, flow meter fillers, volumetric fillers, and piston fillers. We will discuss their pros and cons, common applications, and other factors to consider when selecting a filling technology. So, let’s dive in!
Net Weight Filling Technology
Net weight filling is one of the easiest technologies to understand. Weight fillers use individual scales at each fill station, also known as load cells, to weigh each container as the product fills it. Net weight fillers tare the weight of the container before they start measuring the product, which guarantees that the filling accuracy is based entirely on product weight.
Net weight fillers are commonly used for high-value products such as oils, concentrates, and chemicals because of their high accuracy. Federal net weight fillers guarantee accuracies of ± 0.1% or better. One thing to note is that liquid net weight fillers use gravity to dispense liquid products, so they work best with free-flowing liquids with little to no particulates.
Gravity Level Filling Technology
Gravity filling, also commonly referred to as level filling, is the technology of filling product up to a certain level on each bottle.This type of filling is applicable to a wide range of liquid products from low to medium viscosities such as dairy, juices and juice drinks, distilled spirits, wine, sauces, household products, and pharmaceuticals.
The valves on these fillers utilize gravity to release the product out of the valve, forcing the air to be removed. Gravity filling valves remove the correct volume of air out of the bottle up through the vent tube and replace it with the product until the fluid level is at the accurate height. Federal and Fogg excel at this type of filling, manufacturing gravity fillers that repeatedly fill to the desired height on each bottle every time, ensuring a consistent visible fill level on store shelves.
This filling technology increases shelf appeal for products with see-through bottles, as the amount of product in the bottles will look consistent when they’re next to each other on the shelves. However, if the customer needs an exact volume of the product in the container (common in the medical field), this is not the solution. The fill level will always be the same visually, but if the bottles have any inconsistencies, the actual product volume will differ slightly.
Flow Meter Filling Technology
Flow meter fillers use a flow meter to measure the flow rate of the liquid as it fills the container. This technology is ideal for filling low-viscosity liquids, such as oil or juice, and can handle a wide range of container sizes and shapes.
There are two types of flow meter fillers: electromagnetic flow meters and Coriolis mass flow meters. Electromagnetic flow meters are used for conductive products that do not contain oil, whereas mass flow meters are used for non-conductive products and high-value products that require precise fill accuracy. Flow meter fillers can be used for a variety of industries, but they are not ideal for high-viscosity liquids.
One unique trait of flow meter fillers is that they can continue learning to improve accuracy over time. Pacific flow meter fillers guarantee accuracies of ± 0.5%, but as the machine adapts to each product it can produce even higher accuracies.
Volumetric Filling Technology
Volumetric filling is one of the best ways to fill high-viscosity liquids or liquids with large particulates, making it compatible with a variety of products like gels, pastes, sauces, soups, and salsas. Volumetric fillers dispense a fixed volume of liquid into the container, regardless of the product’s weight or density.
They are commonly used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries for filling creams, ointments, and lotions. However, volumetric fillers may not be suitable for products with varying densities. Pacific designs and manufactures both volumetric and flow meter fillers, and their trusted experts can direct you to the right technology for your product.
Piston Filling Technology
Piston fillers use a piston to draw the liquid from a hopper and dispense it into the container. This technology is ideal for filling high-viscosity liquids, such as peanut butter or honey. Piston fillers are versatile and can handle a wide range of container sizes and shapes. They are commonly used in the food industry for filling sauces, jams, and spreads.
The main drawback of piston fillers is that they are difficult to clean, but Modern uses a patented piston filler design that allows their machines to be fully cleaned-in-place in record time. Modern uses piston filling technology for their cup and tray fillers. With this versatile technology, Modern can manufacture a filler for cups, tubs, or trays for almost any product imaginable.
Choosing the Right Filling Technology
In conclusion, choosing the right liquid filling technology for your business can be a daunting task. Consider the product’s viscosity, density, and container size and shape when selecting a filling technology. While some technologies simply will not work for certain applications, some products might be good candidates for multiple technologies.
By understanding an overview of each filling technology, you can make an informed decision about which companies to talk to. In the end, you need a partner that can deliver results and great customer service over the lifetime of your machine. If any of these technologies interest you, contact us and we’ll get you in touch with experts who can help you with the next steps.