To catch up on part 1 of our consumer packaging series, read the post here. Otherwise, continue reading!
From carbonated soda cans to wine bottles and pet food bags to liquid soaps dispensers, customers may not realize it, but they routinely make choices based on the shape and type of a product’s outer packaging.
Admittedly, most consumers probably take for granted the protection provided by outermost product packaging. This level of packaging is called the primary product packaging, and it is literally the bottle, box, or unit that the consumer physically touches and uses for product storage, such as a glass wine bottle. This packaging is also normally how a consumer interacts with products on physical store shelves while shopping.
However, the robustness of this packaging is increasingly important, especially now that so many consumer products can be ordered online and delivered directly to homes. Automated industrial machine lines are employed to fill consumer goods in strong containers to ensure that products arrive undamaged to consumer homes. These machines are an integral part of creating robust packaging solutions because the primary package is the first layer of product protection.
These large machines are simply called “Filling Machines,” which take empty containers as inputs and fill the consumer liquid, solid, or gel into the container. These fill machines are employed to package all manner of consumer products, such as foods, beverages, lotions, shampoos, pharmaceuticals, and cleaning chemicals.
There are a few broad categories of fill machines that largely are differentiated primarily by the manner in which they fill product containers as well as the type of product.
Types of Filling Machines
Rotary Filling Machines
Rotary fillers are typically used once production requirements exceed the capability of inline indexed filling machines. Rotary fillers are available from as few as 8 heads to fill heads, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, this equipment is typically used for very high-speed operations.
Inline Filling Machines
Inline filling machines and rotary filling machines are similar, with the only differentiating feature being the layout of the fill heads, and are a great way to quickly increase line speed over manual filling. Inline filling systems maintain line flexibility without the high costs of a fully automated solution.
Bag-in-Box (BIB) Machines
BIB filler machines are used with premade pouches. These pouches are typically made from extruded, multi-layered film, and depending on the product, the film can be metalized. The filler automatically removes the tap, fills the bag (with wine, juice, or other liquid), and replaces the tap. The bags are available as singles for semi-automatic machines or in a web form, where the bags have perforations between each pouch, these pouches are used on automated filling systems where the bag is separated in line either before the bag is automatically filled or after. Once filled the pouch is loaded into a corrugated box. See our cartooning blog post here.
Bulk Filling Machines
While Bag-in-Box machines are used to fill smaller premade pouch containers, bulk filling machines fill large freight containers typically bound for wholesale retailers. These fillers also utilize premade bags but these bags are sized for drum filling (55 Gallons), large tote filling (300 Gallon), and freight container filling. They are all used to transport products overseas, store products for future use, and primarily for recipe-driven packaging.
Cup Filling Machines
Lastly, Cup Filling machines are able to fill products into stackable cup containers that can readily be stacked for efficient packaging. These machines are designed to de-nest, cups, fill, seal, and lid your products into stackable containers. Rotary Cup Filling Machines are fully automatic and can deliver up to 150 cups per minute depending on container size, product filled, and seal method.
Filling Machines offer a broad range of filling methods, including Semi-Automatic fillers, fully automatic fillers, to Volumetric filling, and so on. With that said, these machines utilize a broad range of mechanical components and products, integrated into their systems, from Conveyor systems, robotic systems, to a variety of other components, as described below.
These machines can use hundreds of configurable components which are meticulously configured to perform the specific functionality required for each unique packaging process. Large MISUMI components present on filling machines consist of conveyor assemblies, aluminum extrusions, and timing belts. Typical medium-sized components consist of pulleys, linear shafts, rotary shafts, shaft supports, shaft collars, lead screws, and hygienic leveling feet. Finally, small components such as bearings with housings, washers, gas springs, knobs, and gears can be found in almost every subassembly comprising the filling machine setup.
No matter the packaging challenge, MISUMI can provide solutions with configurable components to build custom filling machines to quickly and efficiently package any consumer product to learn more visit our Consumer Packaging Industry page here.