Pharma Tips

List of Liquid Filling Equipment

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 5026 | Date: 24-Jan-2013

Liquid Filling Equipment needs are many and diverse. Ranging from startup companies with needs for semi-automatic liquid filling equipment to high speed packagers we can fulfill the requirements for your situation.But in addition to meeting speed requirements for your production we need to match your needs with the right type of liquid filling equipment. Just to wet your appetite, so to speak, there are many types of filling machines:

List of Liquid Filling Equipment

Pressure Filling Equipment

Liquid Filling Equipment needs are many and diverse. Ranging from startup companies with needs for semi-automatic liquid filling equipment to high speed packagers we can fulfill the requirements for your situation.

But in addition to meeting speed requirements for your production we need to match your needs with the right type of liquid filling equipment. Just to wet your appetite, so to speak, there are many types of filling machines:

Types of Filling Machines:

Siphon Filler (also Syphon Filler): Among the simplest and most ancient of all fillers, a siphon filler has a tank with a float valve connected to the supply tank. Tubes running sort of like an inverted J run into the tank and over to the other side.  Simply start a siphon and adjust bottle fill height to the level of the tank and voila, you are now running a syphon filler. They are not speedy, but work quite well for free flowing liquids.

Siphon Filler


Siphon Fillers are among the oldest and simplest designs.   A siphon filling machine consists of a tank with a float valve through which product can gravity feed from the supply container.  Attached to the tank are 5 gooseneck filling valves that dip into the tank over the tank wall and out in front of the tank.  Mounted to the tank framing is an adjustable platform for the bottles to ride on while filling.  The platform is adjusted so that the level of liquid in the tank is equal to the fill level desired in the bottle. Once a siphon is started with the siphon bulb included with the machine it is just a matter of replacing a filled bottle with and empty.  No pumps, motors or air required to operate. Impossible to over fill as once the bottle is filled to tank level the flow stops.

Siphon Filler Specifications:

Includes:

 Tank - 304 Stainless Steel (Optional 316SS)

Drip Pan - 304 SS (Optional 316SS)

Tank Float Valve Assembly 316SS

Float Ball - Polypropelene (316SS optional)

5 - Head Saddles

5 - Filling Spouts 316SS available in the following sizes:

         3/8" OD  (Pints)

         1/2" OD  (Fifths)

         5/8" OD  (Quartz)

         3/4" OD  (1/2 Gallons, Gallons)

1" Ball Valve inlet 316SS


Vacuum Filler: With the invention of the vacuum pump the vacuum filler followed shortly after. Simply draw a vacuum on an overflow container and attach hose to a filling head and from the head to the product. Product self primes when the bottle neck is sealed off and product fills to the level of the vacuum return to the overflow.  Basically the bottle becomes a trap for the liquid. Since the invention of plastic bottles vacuum fillers are not common today.  However they are still very effective on glass bottles and are particularly in common use for products like nail polish.

Gravity Fillers: Gravity Fillers are still a commonly used type of liquid filling machine. There is even a variation known as Gravity-Vac (vacuum) that combines gravity with vacuum. Gravity fillers have an elevated tank which holds the product, the fill tubes open when inserted into the bottle and product flows into the bottle and overflow back into a recirculation tank below the bottle height which is then pumped back into the elevated tank. Vacuum was added to pull back drips. Gravity fillers are very effective for foamy products and are commonly used in big plants for filling non-carbonated beverages and water.

Pressure Fillers: Pressure filling machines have their tanks below the bottom of the bottle. The tank flood feeds a pump (generally a centrifugal pump but also positive displacement pumps for thicker liquids) which then flows directly into the bottle until it reaches the fill level at which point excess product flow directly back into the tank. When filling plastic bottles the pump must be turned off (always for positive displacement pumps) before removing the filling tubes to allow the bottles to return to normal size (they swell under pressure) and drain off excess liquid. The big advantage of pressure fillers is that bottles fill more quickly so fewer heads (and space) are required and higher viscosity products can be filled. The disadvantage is that foamy products must be filled at slower pump speeds than normal, and this will work only if the foam settles out fairly quickly.

Pressure Filling Equipment

Pressure Filling Machines are among the most popular of fillers due to the fast fill rate possible by pumping liquid right into the bottle. This saves both time and space since fewer heads are needed per any given rate of production. Furthermore pressure fillers are cost friendly to startups so long as it is compatible with the products to be filled. Very foamy liquids that are slow to settle out the foam can be run, but the pump speeds must be slowed dramatically. Another drawback is any product that has suspended solids because they foul the seals or in the case of some abrasive hand cleaners eat them up. But overall a pressure filler is highly recommended for light to medium viscosity products up to the consistency of lighter hair shampoos.

Counter Pressure Fillers: These are fillers unique to the carbonated beverage industry which includes beer, soda and any sparkling beverage or wine. Busch Machinery does not sell counter pressure fillers, but we will still explain this complicated type of filler.  The heads for this type of filling consist of 3 parts: Vent, CO2 pressurizer and fill tube. The head seals and the Vent and CO2 pressure valves are opened. The air in the bottle is forced out of the bottle and is replaced with the heavier CO2. The vent is then stoppered down and product from very specialized heads forces the chilled carbonated liquid down the sides of the container in a sort of swirl pattern to minimize foaming.  Once the fill height is reached the vent completely closes at the same time the product is cutoff. Many people mistakenly think that the CO2 counter pressure is the carbonating process, but carbonizing is a bit more complicated than that.  The purpose of the CO2 is to keep the already existing carbonized beverage in solution and to minimize foaming.

Piston Filling Machines: The concept of a piston filler is fairly simple: pull in product on the back stroke and displace it into the container on the forward stroke, just like positive displacement pumps. Shorten or lengthen the stroke and you get different fill volumes. But there are actually two different types of piston filling machine, check valve types and rotary valve types.

Piston FillersPiston Filler Animation

There are two types of piston fillers that are available namely check valve and rotary valve.

Check Valve Piston Filling Machines

A check valve piston filler works on a check valve principle that opens the infeed valve on the draw stroke then forces the draw side check valve closed while opening the discharge valve on the dispense stroke as can be seen clearly by the animation to the right.

The big advantage of a check valve filling system is it can self prime and draw product directly from a drum or other container without need for pumping or otherwise transferring product to another vessle. Simply drop the hose into the drum, adjust the fill volume and start filling product with excellent accuracy of +/- one half percent.

Check valve piston fillers work well with most any free flowing liquid (meaning it pours easily), but does not work well on thicker products or products with particulates in them as they can foul the valves.

Check valve piston filling machines are available as tabletop models, inline systems or rotary high speed models. Please give us a call so we can review your application.

Rotary Valve Piston FillerRotary Valve Piston Filler Animation

Rotary valve piston filling machines can do all of the "hard" jobs like filling pastes and products with particulates such as cottage cheese, potato salads, peanut butter, salsas and many other chunky products.

The concept is actually rather simple in that the hopper flood feeds the rotary valve which connects between the hopper and cylinder on the draw stroke and then flips ninty degrees between the cylinder and discharge tube on the dispense stroke, as can be seen in the animation on the right. Because the rotary valve can be hollowed out, large particles of up to one half inch (sometimes larger) can pass through without damage.

Rotary valve piston filling systems are available as benchtop, automatic inline, and rotary high speed systems and can be sized for your range of filling needs up to a 10:1 ratio and maintain its amazing +/- one half percent accuracy.

Flow Master Semi-Automatic Check Valve Piston Fillers


Flow Master 250
Liter Sized Check Valve Piston Filler
Flow Master 1000
Check Valve Piston Filler for Gallons
Flow Master 4000
  • fills from 25ml to 250ml

  • production - 5 to 50 per min.

  • no hopper needed

  • models up to 10 nozzles

  • can be automated



  • fills from 100ml to 1000ml per cycle

  • smaller volumes with change parts

  • no hopper needed

  • models up to 10 nozzles

  • can be automated

  • many options available

  • fills from 240ml to 4000ml per cycle

  • smaller volumes with change parts

  • no hopper needed

  • models up to 6 nozzles

  • can be automated

  • many options available

 

Flow Master Automatic Inline Check Valve Piston Filling Systems


Automatic Flow Master 2 Head Piston Filler


Automatic Flow Master Piston Filler
Available 4, 6 or 8 Head Models

10 foot Conveyor (Stainless Steel Construction)

Automatic Bottle indexing system

Available sizes as above (always use the largest size if smaller sized change parts are needed).

All Air Logic, except conveyor motor.  Suitable for Hazardous location with air drive conveyor motor.

Speed of 20 - 40 bottles per minute (speeds are determined by bottle size, product, and neck opening)

Options:  Diving nozzles, Cutoff nozzles, supply tank with lid, wash down motor, and many more

10 Foot Conveyor (Stainless Steel Construction)

Automatic Bottle indexing system

All Air Logic, is suitable for Hazardous Location with substituion of standard conveyor motor with air driven motor.

Available filling ranges as above

30 Gallon Hopper

Options:  Diving nozzles, Cutoff nozzles, supply tank with lid, wash down motor, and many moreOptions:  Diving nozzles, Cutoff nozzles, supply tank with lid, wash down motor, and many more

Fill Master Semi-Automatic Tabletop Rotary Valve Piston Fillers

Fill Master 240 ml Rotary Valve Piston Filler
Fill Master 240 Piston Filler
Fill Master 1000 Rotary Valve Piston Filler
Fill Master 1000 Piston Filler

Fill Master 4000 Piston Filler
  • Fills 2 ml to 240 ml (.01oz - 8 oz)

  • Production - 5 to 50 per minute

  • 5 gallon hopper

  • models up to 10 nozzles

  • can be automated

  • many options available

  • Fills 30  ml to 1000 ml (1oz - 1 Liter)

  • smaller and larger volumes with change parts

  • 12 gallon hopper

  • models up to 10 nozzles

  • can be automated

  • many options available


  • Fills 240  ml to 4000  ml

  • smaller volumes with change parts

  • 10 or 20 gallon hopper

  • models up to 6  nozzles

  • can be automated

  • many options available

Automatic Rotary Valve Piston Filler 

Fill Master Automatic Inline Rotary Valve Piston Fillers

Automatic rotary valve piston fillers are available in models of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 head inline machines.  Standard hopper sizes range from 10 to 50 gallon, but all are upgradeable for up to 100 gallon.

Many options are available including: hopper lid, level control, diving nozzle mechanism, product agitator, heated hopper, heated valve block, Teflon product contact parts, wash down motor and controls, positive cut-off valves (of several types).

A typical automatic machine includes a 10 foot stainless steel constructed conveyor, bottle indexing system, and all pneumatic logic, making it very attractive for total washdown or hazardous environments (with replacement of conveyor motor for washdown motor, or air drive motor for hazardous locations).

Call today and our sales engineers will help advise you on the correct machine and options to meet your production requirements.

High Speed Rotary Piston FillersHigh Speed Rotary Piston Filler with Rotary Valves

For higher speed requirements it is necessary to move away from the inline piston filling systems and instead to rotary filling machines. In this format, filling systems can be designed for an almost unlimited number of production requirements.

To learn more about our high speed piston fillers please go to our rotary filling page.

Combination-High-Speed-Filler-CapperOftentimes high speed systems are combined into a sort of monoblock often called dual-modal, or tri-modal where filling and capping (dual) and rinsing (tri) are built on a single platform. To the left is an example of a dual-modal system with a rotary piston filler and capper.

Check Valve Piston Fillers: Check valve piston fillers are basically systems with one way valves that open and close by the force of the liquid (and maybe some light spring action). On the back stroke the outlet valve is force shut while the inlet valve is forced open. On the forward stroke (this fills the bottle) the opposite takes place. One advantage of this type of filler is that it can be self priming on low viscosity liquids. Piston filling is among the most accurate types of filling available since it displaces the same volume every stroke. The limitations of check valve piston filling are that they only handle liquids to a light lotion consistency and will foul if there are any particulates in the solution.

Rotary Valve Piston Filler:  Rotary valve piston fillers are among the most accurate and versatile type of fillers available. Salad dressings, peanut butter, potato salad, oils and much more are filled with this type of filling machine. Rotary valve piston fillers have a hopper located above the rotary valve. The rotary valve itself is a cylinder with a large nearly 90 degree section cut out in the middle. On the back stroke the valve opens between the hopper and the cylinder then, just before the forward stroke it rotates 90 degrees to open between the cylinder and the discharge to the container to be filled. Depending on the size of the rotary valve, solids in suspension as large as a one inch cube can pass through the valve.


Rotary Fillers and Rotary Filling EquipmentBottle Filling on a Rotary Filler

Once production requirements exceed the capability of inline indexed filling machines, the most efficient step up is a rotary filling system. Rotary fillers are available from as few as 8 heads to as large as is needed, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of filling heads for very high speed operations.  Furthermore it is not uncommon for a rotary filler to be incorporated into what is know as dual-modal or tri-modal monoblock system that includes rinser-filler-capper (tri-modal) or filler-capper (dual-modal). An often overlooked issue for rotary filling machines and monoblocks is that it is a very good idea to use a common sized cap and neck finish for whatever range of bottles needs to be filled, because change parts and changeover time is very expensive, increasing greatly as the need for speed increases.  Generally speaking change parts for bottle changeover is not all that expensive or time consuming, but if the cap size changes along with a bottle change the parts can cost a small fortune, and changeover time can take a full day on some of the larger machines. Just a wise word of advice for those of you whom are contemplating a future need for higher speed rotary systems.

                                                                                                                         Bottle Filling on a large Rotary Filler 

Types of Rotary Fillers

Rotary Piston Filling Machine

Rotary Piston Filling Machine

Just about any type of filler that is available as an inline system is also found in a rotary filling machine. There are pressure fillers, gravity fillers, piston fillers, and carbonated beverage filling machines, canning and more, plus numerous arrays of configurations such as neck supporting for water bottles, bottom fill platforms or diving nozzles, to the brim fillers for many juices, plus hot fill options and much more. 

However all rotary fillers share certain characteristics mainly that starwheels are made for each sized bottle to center it under the filling head and similarly to to remove the bottle to return it to the conveyor. Sometimes the infeed starwheel can be choke fed, requiring a sensor to make sure there is an adequate backlog of bottles to prevent a random bottle from causing a jam. However in most instances (and always for higher speeds) the bottles are spaced and timed with an infeed screw which is another changepart prior to the infeed starwheel. 

Normally speaking filling heads are not changed out for different fill sizes, but are set to the fit the smallest neck size of the bottles to be run on the system. (Again, it is much better to have all neck finishes of your bottles the same when possible). However, you can expect slower productions speeds that would otherwise be the case if you have a 1/2" neck finish on a small bottle and also want to fill a gallon bottle which can require a 3/4" or 1" head to fill at a faster speed.

It is always a good idea to talk with one of our sales engineers well in advance of purchasing higher speed rotary filling equipment to make sure you have a thorough understanding of all of the factors so that you may consider possible product packaging changes to make rotary filling and capping operations more affordable and efficient.

Rotary Filling Machinery is Custom Built for your job

Unlike inline filling machinery which can be very adaptable with little or no need for changeparts, rotary filling equipment is built custom to your specific requirements.  That is why we cannot stock machines, since requirements vary so much.  In fact it is hard for us to even catalog machines because of the endless variety of possibilities that are available. For instance you may need a 60 head filler, the next customer may need only a 45 head filler (assuming same product), while the previous customer may need only a 30 head filler.  In other words there is such a range of needs that it is nearly impossilbe for us to have a quote right at hand that we can forward to you right away (although we often try to get something in the ballpark for rough budgetary quotes), add in all the different variations of filling types, products, etc. and you can see how the complexity increases.  Bottom line is planning, do not expect to purchase a rotary filling machine right off the floor, and getting a quote for your specific needs can be a matter of days in some cases.

Tri-modal Rinser, Filler, and Capper

Tri-Modal Rinser - Filler - Capper: 80 Rinsing Heads - 80 Filling Heads - 22 Capping Heads
When Planning for Automation Seriously think about standardizing your cap size
It will save you a ton of money in change parts and many hours of changeover time

Servo Driven Pump Fillers: With the cost of servo drive controls coming way down over the last 20 years more and more uses for filling have come into play. Gear pump fillers is one type of application that has become very popular, although you must be sure that the pumps are sanitary pumps if you do foods, cosmetics or pharmaceuticals. The advantage of the gear pump is that you can fill almost any size product without need for change parts (although this still has limitations). At Busch Machinery we still think the jury is out on this, as piston fillers can still fill with as good or better accuracy, although with not quite as large a range.

Peristaltic Servo Driven Pumps:  A peristaltic pump works by placing tubing into the pump which then has rotating rollers that alternately squeeze and relax the tubing to force the liquid forward. This type of system works well in pharmaceutical environments or anywhere that you want absolutely no chance of cross contamination. Simply throw away the tubing at the end of a run.

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Altansukh Dugar  |  02-Jul-2016 08:24:21 IST
+97696668177
Please quote Fill Master 240 Piston Filler
Regards from Mongolia
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