In every product business, a filling machine plays a very crucial role in the production. Packaging forms a very important aspect of product durability, looks, and marketability. However, choosing the best filling machine is not an easy task especially for new entrepreneurs.
Here in this article, we intend to explore how to choose the best filling machine for your business and a comparative study of weighing filling Vs volumetric filling system.
A packaging system comprises three major components. Broadly filling system, pouch forming system, and sealing system. The filling system ensures that the correct quantity of material is filled in the packing.
The packing may be a pouch or a cartoon or a plastic container. Traditionally, volumetric filling systems have been used for a variety of filling machines.
Best Filling Machine – Volumetric Filling Vs Weigh Filling
Volumetric Filling System
The volumetric filling system is for filling liquids that are sold by volume. They comprise a piston filling arrangement where the displacement of the piston governs the volume dispensed. This ensures the same volume to be dispensed in every cycle.
Also, you can use the volumetric filling for granules and powders, such a system comprises of cups/cavities of uniform volume. The material is made to fall inside the cup by gravity and the top is leveled using a leveler.
The machine calibrates the volume of each cup to match the final weight to be packed. The cups are made on a circular disc rotates about its axis at one end the cups get filled and at the other end, the filled cups get discharged.
The basic principle is that each drop of the machine gives the same volumetric output. The volume is in turn calibrated to the weight and hence the same weight is theoretically outputted by the machine.
Weigh Filling System
The weigh filling system weighs material and drops it into the packing machine. The material is weighed using electronic transducers (Load Cells) to sense the weight. Generally, sophisticated electronic hardware and software convert the output of the load cell into weight.
This information of weight is used to sample the product for its weight before dispensing it to the packing system. These systems work on the basis of the net weight to be packed and not on the volume of the material. Typically, the weight filling system comprises a hopper that contains a feeder.
Best Filling Machine Performance – Volumetric Vs Weigh
Performance Of Volumetric Filling Machine
The weight of the quantity dispensed depends on the volume of the cup in which the product is measured. This system gives reasonable accuracy in weight for powdery products that have a consistent bulk density. The flow characteristics of the material also play a vital role.
For sticky materials, the accuracy in weight is not satisfactory. Products that are susceptible to breaking e.g. chips, corn puffs cannot be run in volumetric machines. As when the disc carrying the material rotates it tends to break the product.
The materials which are free-flowing but have irregular shape also give inconsistent weight. The machine utilizing the volumetric filling systems are not very versatile and cannot run different products on the same machine. Also for each weight setting different cups are required.
There is a provision for adjusting the height of the cups for filling so there can be some degree of adjustment in the volume to compensate for the variation in density.
However, in practice, it is difficult for the machine operators to continuously monitor the output weight and then readjust the cup height for achieving the correct net weight.
As a result of this, either material in excess falls into each packet or it results in short fills. In both conditions, it is not good for the end consumer and the manufacturer too.
Performance of Weigh Filling System
Weigh filling system weighs the material before dispensing so a variation in density does not pose any difficulty in achieving consistency in the packed weight. To a certain extent, sticky materials can be run. Many types of materials can be run on the same machine.
Also, you can configure the same machine to run different net weights. The handling of materials is soft and they do not get damaged. Materials with irregular shapes can be run without any difficulty. These systems give a much higher accuracy in the net weight of the final packing as compared to volumetric filling systems.
Construction & Operation of Weigh Filling System
The material is stored in the hopper of the machine. From the hopper, the material moves forward through a vibratory feeder. The vibratory feeder controls the rate of the flow of material into the weighing pan. The weighing pan is mounted on the load cell and electronic hardware continuously samples the weight in the pan and controls the feed rate of the vibrator.
At the start of the cycle, the feed rate is high, once nearly 80-90% of the material falls into the weighing pan the vibration enters the trickle mode and the material flows slowly to reach the target weight.
As soon as the set weight is attained the vibration stops and then the material can be dispensed in the pouch/bottle/cartoon as the case may be either automatic or manual.
The weight filling systems have much lesser parts that are prone to wear and tear. The electronics are all mounted in a single control unit and can be easily serviced.
Applications Of Weigh Filling System
Granular materials: Tea, Coffee beans, Namkeen mixture, Rice, Suji, Spices like pepper, cardamom, Flour, Besan, Chips, Corn puffs, Tablets, Ayurvedic medicines, Spice powders like jeera, dhania, Wheat Flour, Desiccated coconut powder, Animal feed mineral mixture, Fertilizers, etc.
Volumetric fillers have inconsistent weight output, weight fillers dispense the material accurately by weight. Owing to the above factors there is a continuous shift from volumetric filling systems towards weighing filling systems. Till a few years back, the price of the weight filling systems was exorbitant, and technology for low-end weigh fillers was not very well developed.
However, Now the weigh fillers are available at a very reasonable cost for machines with low to high production speed. It is highly recommended that choose the best filling machine that fits most to your packaging requirement.