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Automatic Tube Filling Machine: The Ultimate Guide

Tube packaging is popular in modern industrial settings. Therefore, choosing an effective and reliable automatic tube filling machine will guarantee safe packaging, better branding and reliability. This guide covers everything about automatic tube filling machine – let’s dive right in.

1. What Is An Automatic Tube Filling Machine?

This is a machine that automatically feeds empty tubes into a table with rotary indexing and aligns them in a specific manner. It then fills a defined product into the tubes and seals them using methods like folding, heat sealing or trimming.

 Automatic tube filling machine

Automatic tube filling machine

2. Working Principle Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Step one ins the operation of the Automatic Tube Filling Machine is introducing the empty tubes to the tube holder.

Normally, this process is done automatically but depending on the type of machine in use, it can alternatively be done manually.

Also, the rotation of the tube holders is in sync with the with the rotary table therefore placing them in different work stations.

Here, the control unit is used to set all the parameters and any other functions carried out on the whole process.

All the functions of the machine are carried out in an efficient and well organized sequence.

Besides, the Automatic Tube Filling Machine begins by filling the tubes with the desired material after being aligned under its nozzles.

Additionally, The tubes are then tightly sealed and batch numbers printed on them with details like date of manufacture and expiry.

The tails of the tubes are then cut off with all these functions being fully automated.

3. Types Of Automatic Tube Filling Machines

There are three major types of Tube Filling Machine:

Fully Automatic Tube Filling Machine

This machine has all its operations automated and programmed with minimal labor requirements.

They have exceptional features like dosing assisted suction, level sensors and automatic lubrication making them the most ideal.

 fully automatic tube filling machine

fully automatic tube filling machine

Semi- Automatic Tube Filling Machine

The tubes are manually fed with the machine finishing the rest of the tube filling process.

It has almost similar but lesser features than the automatic machine and ideal for small to medium scale operations.

semi automatic tube filling machine

semi automatic tube filling machine

Rotary Tube Filling Machine

It comes in both fully and semi-automatic varieties with a heavy base and strong structure.

Also, it is very versatile with a hot air sealing system ideal for plastic and laminate tubes.

They provide accurate adjustments and a great ease of operation.

 rotary tube filling machine

rotary tube filling machine

4. Components Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

The Automatic Tube Filling Machine is composed of a variety of parts that function in sync automatically. They include:

Control Unit

This is the units that is responsible for regulating all the parameters that are applicable on this machine.

It has a Human Machine Interface (HMI) with a touchscreen for monitoring and adjusting the operations.

Electronic Panel

Any electric element or electrical connection on the machine has a central point at the electronic panel.

Its components include the PLC that links it to the machine and an air switch for circuit protection.

It also has a relay that regulates the variable frequency drive and a wiring board that links al the cables.

Tanks

This is where the product that is to be filled in the tubes is held and can be single or many depending on machine design.

For easy filling into the tubes, the tanks are normally elevated for easy flow of the product into tubes.

Safety System

Every component that guarantees the safety of the Automatic Tube Filling Machine are contained here.

In the event of a safety issue, the machine warns by either rectifying it or shutting down completely.

Buttons can be pressed to restore after the issue has been addressed or it can be rebooted via the PLC.

Dosing Pump

This is normally a displacement pump that is moderately compressed with positive operation.

It is designed to yield a very precise flow rate while filling the tubes using the product substance.

The measured capacity is placed into a chamber first before being inserted into a dosing tank.

Tube Holders

They hold up the tubes in the appropriate position when they are being filled by the nozzle. They have to operate in harmony with the machines fill-up speed thus they have rapid rotations.

They are consistent in motion and possess a tight grip of tubes ensuring uniform filling of the tubes.

Coding Jaws

These devices guarantee a quality finishing of the filled up tubes by the Automatic Tube Filling Machine.

They are mostly adjustable therefore a wide range of tube sizes and materials can be handled by a single machine.

Hopper

It is a funnel-like structure that is located on the machines upper side for conveying the product into the machine.

Its size is determined by the machine size and can be adjusted to achieve an appropriate angle.

Frame

This is the entire machine structure supporting all internal and external machine components in their various placings.

The frame has to be rigid and robust to withstand the machine weight and extreme conditions like weather and corrosion.

Filling Nozzles

This device is responsible for giving the flow direction to the tube from the filler.

Their sizes determine the fill-speed with large nozzle sizes required for large volume tube fillings.

Discharge Unit

This part enables the filling of product substance into the tubes from the tanks while determining the quantity required.

It is adjustable thus allowing easy control of the amount of substance and the speed it discharges it.

5. Applications Of The Automatic Tube Filling Machine

The ability of the Automatic Tube Filling Machine to fill tubes of various sizes means it can be used in many industries.

Some of its applications include:

Cosmetic Industry

The Automatic Tube Filling Machine has been significantly used for products in this industry. The various cosmetic containers available in the industry are filled and customized for each market using this machine.

They are labelled and packaged well with efficiency and speed. Some of the products include hair lotions, shampoos and liquid soaps.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Various medicinal drugs and products are placed in different types of tubes and containers using this machine.

Versatility is provided in that the products are filled, sealed and assorted while packing in as single process. Products include creams and ointments.

Manufacture of Pesticides

The Automatic Tube Filling Machine is commonly used to fill various types of pesticides in tubes.

The accuracy required in filling the pesticides can be achieved while eliminating the use of hands in handling the pesticides.

Food Industry

Food industries that specialize in packed products majorly use the Automatic Tube Filling Machine.

Food products that are available in sachets such as pastes can be filled, sealed and packed at the same time.

The product requirements during the production process majorly determine the choice of machine.

6. Automatic Tube Filling Machine vs Semi-Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Both these machines are controlled by a PLC System and contain a Human Machine Interface screen for adjusting parameters.

They are both used in the tube filling of products that can either be viscous or pasty.

 Automatic tube filling machine

Automatic tube filling machine

Processes like tube filling, printing codes and sealing are all carried out automatically by the control system of both.

Their frames are both made of stainless steel but the varieties slightly vary.

Automatic Tube Filling Machines mostly deals with small to large product ranges.

Contrary to this, Semi-Automatic Tube Filling Machines can only handle small to medium sized range of products.

Their costs vary with the Semi- Automatic being cheaper than the Automatic Tube Filling Machine. Loading of tubes in the Semi- Automatic is normally done manually while automatic loading applies in the Automatic one.

semi automatic tube filling machine

semi automatic tube filling machine

7. Function Of Compressed Air In The Heating Station Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

The compressed air is normally heated and used in the preheating of areas on the tube that are going to be sealed. Excess heat in it is not recommended so an installed temperature controller regulates the heat.

8. Salient Features Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Some of the outstanding features of an Automatic Tube Filling Machine include:

  • Lifting and filling is by servo
  • Mostly utilizes both compressed air and electricity
  • Parameters such as speed, quantity and rate per cycle can be configured
  • Automatic stop if a tube is missing or faulty
  • The cycle is continuously repeated automatically
  • The cleaning, changeover and sealing are efficient
  • It has easy maintenance procedures
  • Versatile and can be adjusted for various tube sizes and different products

9. How To Select The Right Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Automatic Tube Filling Machines have various designs and shapes available in the market with different sizes.

Some of the main factors to consider when sourcing for this machine include:

Model

Due to the rise in the industrial manufacture of Automatic Tube Filling Machines, different manufacturers are available with different brands.

The reputations of these manufacturers vary and care has to be taken to choose a dependable brand.

Design And Material

A very important factor to consider is the type of material that this machine has been fabricated with.

Due to the nature of its operation, it requires a rigid material with a very stable design that can withstand extremities.

Stainless steel is mostly preferred because of its ability to withstand corrosion, heat and extreme weather.

Safety Concerns

The machine being sourced should be able to meet all the industry safety and quality requirements.

The operators will be assured of their safety in operation while the machine will provide quality performance and efficiency.

Size

With the advancement in technology, Automatic Tube Filling Machines are becoming compact in design.

The available working space mostly determines the size of machine required. This however does not imply that bigger machines work better than smaller ones.

Production Capacity

The ability to produce a specified quantity of filled tubes within a given time varies in many machines.

Production targets and requirements have to be considered before choosing the type of machine required.

10. Nozzle Size And Impact On The Automatic Tube Filling Machine Operation

If the quantity of the product to be filled is high, then a wide nozzle is recommended to reduce the time. Viscous products also require moderate nozzles to ease the filling process.

However, too wide a nozzle may result in spillages.

11. Benefits Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Purchasing an Automatic Tube Filling Machine comes with a variety of benefits to the company. The most common are:

Automation

In as much as setting up an Automatic Tube Filling Machine seems tedious, the operation later is simple.

Important parameters such as fill time, quantity and pump speed are input on the PLC via HMI.

After the parameter set up is complete, the operator just needs to start the machine and monitor everything on the screen.

This greatly reduces errors and labor costs.

Versatility

These machines are normally not built for a single product fill or specific tube filling.

They can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of tube shapes and sizes and handle different products.

Most are designed to fill both thick and thin liquids by simply adjusting parameters. This can mostly benefit companies that package different products in different tubes.

High Production Speeds

These machines have greatly increased the production rate as compared to manual hand filling. The production per cycle is very high with the possibility of increasing the fill heads to increase production.

Consistency And Reliability

Besides their speed, these machines are reliable with a consistent and repeatable fill in every cycle. This is unlike hand filling where variances in the product quantity occur in the tubes.

Upgradeable

An Automatic Tube Filling Machine can begin operations with few fill heads like four or six. More fill heads can be added to the machine with an increase in production to up to sixteen fill heads.

This limit may vary in different machines with tube size and shape dictating their top operation speed.

12. Preference Of Steel In the Design Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

The material used to design and fabricate the Automatic Tube Filling Machine must be rigid and strong. It has to withstand constant vibrations and extreme conditions like heat, water and corrosion among others.

The ideal material that fits this is stainless steel as it is resistant to corrosion, hard to rust and can be easily cleaned.  It also has good machinability during production and this makes it the ideal material.

13. Plastic Tube Filling Machine vs Aluminum Tube Filling Machine

Both of these Automatic Tube Filling Machines are suitable for filling and sealing products that are viscous and semi-viscous into tubes.

They can both be used in filling chemical in filling chemical products, food and pharmaceuticals as well as cosmetics.

 plastic tube filling machine

plastic tube filling

Their mode of operation is basically the same with the difference occurring in the type of tube used. Processes such as feeding the tube, sealing it and finally trimming it are all the same with similar PLC technologies.

Advanced technology has also made Automatic Tube Filling Machines that are versatile enough to be adjusted.

This means that they can be used to fill both and seal both plastic and aluminum tubes together with laminates.

Aluminum tube filling machine

Aluminum tube filling machine

14. Trouble Shooting Automatic Tube Filling Machine

The various operational problems and their remedies experienced in the Automatic Tube Filling Machine include:

  • Inconsistencies in the level of product inside the tubes and spilling.

This normally occurs when the tube filler is not positioned on the same level hence machine legs should be adjusted.

  • Pumps may have a short pump duration or fill time is not consistent. Filling cycle should be monitored and time added to the pump duration.
  • Sometimes parts of the machine are worn out and contaminate the product on impact. Such parts should be immediately replaced with regular checks done.
  • Tubes in a similar batch having different sizes leading to varying fill levels.

The tubes have to be inspected for their internal volume range randomly to ensure desired results are yielded.

15. Maintenance Procedures For Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Lack of proper Automatic Tube Filler Machine maintenance may have costly breakdowns and also lead to product build-up hence contamination.

Some common maintenance practices include:

  • Spare Parts Inventory: For continuous operation of the machine, spare parts should be readily available on demand.

It is a preventive strategy that will save repair time and ensure efficient and reliable operations.

  • Regular Maintenance Training: to prevent an extended machinery downtime and costly breakdowns, routine maintenance should be carried out.

Cleaning the machine and general servicing while training the operators assist them in identifying problems in operation.

  • Cleaning After Use: depending on the company’s production programs, the machine should have a scheduled regular cleaning.

This prevent product build-up that may be toxic and also extends its lifespan.

16. Effect Of Tube Type on The Operation Of An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Normally, the Automatic Tube Filling Machines are made for specific tubes and some are versatile enough be adjusted in different cycles.

If parameters are set for a certain type of tube and a different one is introduced, then the system will trip pending parameter adjustments.

17. Safety Systems Available In An Automatic Tube Filling Machine

  • Sensors: a variety of sensors are used and linked to the control program.

When they detect an error or empty tube, the machine is automatically stopped by the safety controller.

  • Automatic Sealing: burns and cuts experienced by operators in manual tube filling Machines have been eliminated by automatic sealing.
  • Critical Motion Control: there is a coordinated motion control from the feeding of tubes with product variance controlled by automated adjustments.
  • Programmable Logic Control (PLC): it provides a fail-safe for all the processes with worker’s safety guaranteed by automatic diagnostic error stoppages.

18. How Tubes Are Sealed In The Automatic Tube Filling Machine

Based on the type of material used to make the tube, Automatic Tube Filling Machine uses different sealing methods after filling. They are:

  • Thermos sealing for plastic tubes with the use of hot hair and hot jaws of very high frequency
  • Tubes made from laminates and Aluminum can be sealed by either normal, saddle or double fold using the tube closing unit.

At SaintyCo, we offer a range of automatic tube filling machines depending on your needs and requirements. Contact us now for all your automatic tube filling machines.

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