Liquid Filling Machine: The Ultimate Guide

Liquid filling machines are commonly used by manufacturers whose end products are in liquid form.

If you’re one of them, then this is the best guide for you.

Today’s guide covers every aspect of liquid filling machines, from basic definition, uses, advantages, components, classification, working principle to technical specifications, amongst others.

Let’s dive right in:

What is Liquid Filling Machine?

Liquid filling machine is an appliance used in different industries to package liquid finished products.

Like this:

Eye drop

 Eye drop

This makes it the most essential device in the bottling line.

In this sense, it has to be reliable in terms of hygiene and quality.

Customers usually have contact with the finished product of a company.

The quality and quantity of packaging must, therefore, be impressive and satisfactory to the customer.

Liquid filling machine

Liquid filling machine

Note that in the filling phase, liquid products due for packaging differ.

In some instances, they are foamy. They can also be dense, creamy, fluid, powder or granules.

The packaging is done into various types of packages.

These can be tanks, buckets, bottles, tins, cans, vials, pouches, or even pots.

The machines are set and calibrated to help ensure flawless operation and exceptional precision.

Various filling machines exist.

This owes to the nature of the products.

We, therefore, have solid filling machines also which are used in filling solid end products.

Uses of Liquid Filling Machines in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Packaging is essential when handling pharmaceutical products.

Now, you have to put into consideration the nature of medicines you intend to pack.

This will help you ensure that the method used in packaging is faultless.

User-friendly packaging is usually encouraged to ensure that all the medicines are handled appropriately by the users.

Let us mention some of the filling processes commonly used in pharmaceutical companies.

The processes include vial filling, tube filling, powder filling, and syringe filling.

Liquid filling station

 Liquid filling station

These filling processes are made possible by specific machines.

So let us discuss the uses of liquid filling machines in the pharmaceutical industry.

· Vial filling

This is essential when filling bottles with clearly measured quantities of the drugs.

As earlier mentioned, accuracy is critical in the pharmaceutical industry.

Liquid filling machines are critical in filling vials with medicines in liquid form.

· Accuracy

Liquid filling machines are essential in ensuring accuracy when filling the drug bottles.

We all know that drugs have to meet stringent specifications in terms of quantity.

This helps in effective administration.

Liquid filling machines help to package the right quantities.

· Hygiene

Liquid filling machines usually help ensure that the right hygiene standards are observed when filling different vials and bottles in the pharmaceutical industry.

Compared to manual filling, this ensures that no contamination occurs since contact with the human body is minimized.

· Capping

In the pharmaceutical industry, liquid filling machines with capping feature help conceal the drugs.

This helps to ensure that drugs do not spill over, as they are capped tightly.

· Minimizes Wastage

Liquid filling machines help in preventing wastages in the production line.

The accuracy with which the machine works ensures that very little or no spillages are recorded during production. This goes a long way to enhance production and to gain profits.

· Labeling

We know that labels are very important in the prescription of all pharmaceutical products.

They also assist in giving detailed information about the composition of the drug in question.

Liquid filling machines with labeling capability are used in the pharmaceutical sector to fill and label different drug containers.

· Efficiency in Production

Efficiency in production makes a lot of sense to pharmaceutical companies.

Liquid filling machines ensure that the time used in filling bottles and vials in the company is fast.

As such, you will find liquid filling machines with the ability to fill up to 1000 bottles in minutes or even seconds.

Advantages of Liquid Filling Machine

We all know that machines make work easier. Liquid filling machines are no different.

Their usage comes with several benefits.

Liquid filling machine

F Liquid filling machine

Let us now see some of these advantages of this machine in the pharmaceutical industry.

· Consistent and Reliable Fills

By using liquid filling machines, uncertainties are removed from the filling process.

You may want a highly volumetric fill, level fill or any other criteria.

When you use liquid filling machines, you are assured of consistency and reliability.

This cannot be achieved by hand filling.

· High Liquid Filling Speed

Manual labor may not be able to sustain a certain level of production.

The number of bottles filled, for example, can only be sufficient when liquid filling machines are used.

This makes speed one of the most obvious advantages of using the machines.

Modifications done on the liquid filling machines including multiple heads, capping and labeling features translates into speed.

· Liquid Filling Machine Offers More Versatility

It is common to get companies using multiple bottles for a single product.

Other companies, on the other hand, have multiple products.

Liquid fillers can be used by a manufacturer to handle all the bottles and products.

There are liquid filling machines with adjustments for shifting from one bottle type to another.

Those that go a long way to address the differences in product viscosity.

· Ease of Use

Most liquid filling machines have a simple operator interface.

These interfaces often use touch screens.

This gives room to the operator to select different times and amounts to complete each cycle.

Also, the moment these numbers are entered, a recipe screen gives room for the same to be retained.

The operator will, therefore, enter recipe number on the interface and make necessary physical adjustments.

The only remaining job thus becomes monitoring the process.

· Offers Growth Potential

Liquid filling machines are manufactured with the future in mind.

When purchasing such a machine, you don’t buy to produce the maximum capacity, but rather focus on the possibilities of future growth.

These machines, therefore, are growth enhancers for the pharmaceutical industry.

Disadvantages of Liquid Filling Machines

Now, some of the main disadvantages of liquid filling machines include:

Liquid filling line

 Liquid filling line

· Cannot be used in filling solid products

Just as the name suggests, liquid filling machines can only be used in the packaging of liquids.

Implying, they cannot be of any use in companies that produce non-liquid products.

This proves a challenge to most industries.

Let’s take for instance in companies that package both solid and liquid products.

You will have to get two different machines for solid and liquid products.

· Needs some level of expertise to operate

Just like any other machine, liquid filling machines need some technical know-how to operate.

The human interface may not be very complicated.

However, any misgiving in the operation of the machine can translate into tremendous losses.

You have to train your employees on how to use the machine.

This is common with fully automated liquid filling machines.

· Expensive in terms of purchase and power consumption

Liquid filling machines are never cheap. It is a costly affair to purchase one.

They are also electric power intensive.

This can be expensive especially when you are using a machine which you are yet to maximize its production capacity.

Main Components of Liquid Filling Machines

Liquid filling machines have several components that make their operations seamless.

Let us discuss some of these components.

· Cork collection tray

This component is the point at which the product due for packaging is filled.

· Corking unit

Is responsible for placing lids for already filled vessels.

· Command button panel

This is the human interface.

It gives the operator the ability to direct the machine on the intended production cycle.

· Bottle support tray

It is the component holds bottles due for filling in the intended position.

· Start pedal

This component is used to start the machine.

· Pivot wheels

It helps in moving the machine to the desired positions.

· Liquid collection tank

Normally, it holds liquid due for filling

·  Bottle support trays

This section holds bottles during the filling process.

· Filler tap

Feeds the liquid products into the bottles.

· Inlet solenoid valve

Regulates the flow of the liquid into the filler taps.

· Tray start levers

They keep bottle support trays in position

· Electrical panel

In most cases, you can access it by removing the back cover.

This iso-motor

essential in regulating currents that enables the filling machine to function.

· Corking unit rati

This ensures that the corking unit rotates appropriately to fill all the bottles put forth.

· Tray lifting pneumatic cylinders

It is a section in the filling area.

Normally, this keeps the bottle support trays in position.

· Tray lifting pneumatic cylinder

Also called the corking area, this aids the corking unit to function appropriately.

The other component is the Pedal activated corking tray lifting solenoid.

Remember, the number of parts and components, depends on the model of the machine.

 Section of liquid filling machine

Section of liquid filling machine

Liquid Filling Machine Working Principle

Based on the working principle, liquid fillers are divided into different categories.

These include:

  • Ordinary filling machine
  • Pressure filling machine
  • Vacuum filling machine

The ordinary liquid fillers work by gravity, where the liquid is filled owing to its weight, into particular bottles.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to observe special requirements to maintain the viscosity and gas bearing of the fluids.

Notable examples of these are milk bottles and grape wines.

The vacuum fillers require that the atmospheric pressure is higher than the pressure of the bottles.

Liquids such as syrup, oil and wine have high viscosity.

Thus, they require this type of filling which is very efficient and employs a straightforward structure.

 Liquid filling station

 

 Liquid filling station

The pressure liquid filers need to have higher pressure than the atmospheric pressure so as to be functional.

This type of filling is further categorized into “high-pressure filling” and “equal air pressure filling.”

In “equal air pressure filling,” the liquid reservoir pressure gets equal to that of the bottle, so the liquid flows into the bottles by their weight.

The high-pressure filling, on the other hand, works by the pressure difference between the liquid reservoir and the bottle.

Types of Liquid Filling Machines

Differences exist in the features and capabilities of liquid filling machines.

On this basis, therefore, there are different classifications of liquid filling machines.

Let’s discuss some of these machines.

Automatic liquid filling machine

From the name, these are liquid filling machines with four filling nozzles.

Filling volume and speed of this machine is enhanced owing to the number of filling Figure 8 Automatic liquid filling machine

· Fully Automatic Liquid Filling Machine

These are liquid filling machines which work seamlessly with very little human labor.

In this sense, they have a feature which replaces the need for human labor need.

They can automatically arrange the bottles and automatically fill them.

There is high accuracy and versatility which helps ensure that no leakages are recorded.

This is because the machine can fix the appropriate sizes of syringes.

These machines also have automated speed variation adjustment.

Again, the conveyor can is adjustable and thus can be set to accommodate bottles of various sizes.

The machines have capping features.

The vessels used can hence be easily concealed.

They also have a labeling feature that ensures that the labels are fixed appropriately on the vessels after filling and capping.

These features make a fully automatic filling machine.

Operations are therefore more convenient and reliable.

·  Semi-automatic Liquid Filling Machine

These are filling machines which will require comparatively higher input from human labor.

They are partially manual.

In some of them, you will be forced to arrange the vessels to be filled before they are filled.

Lack of labeling feature in some, for example, means that you have to fix the labels using human labor.

· Twin Head Liquid Filler Machine

These are liquid filling machines with two filling nozzles for the products.

his enhances the production rate.

Less human interface is required to achieve the same.

This type of machine is the most preferred in industries including pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and pesticides.

It is also commonly used in filling beverages, milk and oil.

Just as we noted earlier about liquid filling machines in general, they differ in terms of automation.

They can be semi-automatic, or fully automatic, with the former being comparatively labor intensive and the latter requiring less human labor.

· Four Head Liquid Filling Machine

 

Bottle filling station Bottle filling station

They are also in a position to fill vessels accurately.

This is because they come with features such as liquid and rubber stoppers owing to the volumes and speed involved.

Another distinct feature of this liquid filling machine is that it has an optional turntable.

It is thus able to control in-feed and out-feed with a speed that matches the speed of incoming and outgoing bottles for smooth execution.

Due to these features, some of these machines are capable of producing up to 80 bottles per minute.

· Six-head liquid filling machine

This has up to six filling nozzles.

The nozzles move around the conveyor.

On the conveyor, vessels are placed for filling.

Normally, this ensures that spillage is minimized.

The nozzles can also be easily set as per the needs of the manufacturer.

This type of filling machine is versatile with the capabilities of handling both highly viscous and semi-viscous products.

Most if not all of these machines, are fully automated.

Thus, the operator is in a position to adjust the fill volume through touch screens on the operator interface.

They are also able to store many recipes.

This translates into efficiency in production.

· Light-head liquid filling machine

Light head filling machines are liquid filling machine modeled for handling non-viscous liquids.

They may have other features that are common to all other liquid filling machines.

These include features such as slat conveyor, several nozzles and syringes.

They are most commonly used in water bottling companies.

· Liquid filling machine for vials

Vial filling machines are used to fill vials and bottles with liquids, viscous material, and suspensions and powders.

These are the most commonly used machines in the Pharmaceutical sector.

They are also used in Ophthalmic, Biotech, and Animal health-related industries.

Automated vial filling equipment fills injectable liquid into glass vials.

Vial Filling Machine comprises an intake section which loads the vials, which are then transferred through an intermittent transport section.

Vial filling machine

Vial filling machine

This pharmaceutical equipment also has a liquid filling section which fills the vials with a predetermined quantity of liquid or viscous material.

Finally, the machine releases and discharges the filled and rubber stopped vials from its outlet.

The high-tech Vial Filling Machines enable bottom-up filling of vials with extra features such as ‘no-vial-no fill’ capability.

This ensures that no vial goes to the next section without being filled-the sensors reject the vials not filled.

Check weight feature makes it possible to maintain consistency in the weight of vials.

Certain filling equipment are so designed as to accommodate rapid size changes and can be used to fill vials with both liquid and powder.

The output of vial filling machine depends on the process parameters and the technology of the machine.

Pharmaceutical vial filling machines also ensure volumetric consistency and reduce product loss.

They also offer Sealing flexibility.

Closure options include full or lyo-depth stopper insertion (for lyophilized products).

There is also an optional vacuum-assisted stopper insertion to reduce oxygen in the headspace and optional gas flushing.

Vial filling machines come in different designs. There are four head vial filling machines, six nozzle vial filler – stoppering machine.

In some instances, special design vial filling with Rubber (Bung) stoppering machines are most preferred by manufacturers.

· Liquid Filling Machine for bottles

These are used in filling bottles with liquids by manufacturers.

Depending on the design, they can be automatic, semi-automatic or manual.

They can be used in Pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries.

 Bottle filling machine

Bottle filling machine

Some of these machines have capping and labeling features.

They can also handle a variety of bottles made of different materials.

These include glass and plastic bottles.

They also take in different shapes.

Also, these can be cans or even jars.

The liquids can also differ in viscosity.

· Electronic Liquid Filling Machine

Simply put, these are liquid filling machines which rely on electrical power to function.

As such, they are fully automated.

Some of the features include clutch brake labelers, conveyor, turntables, station cappers and snap cappers.

They also have molten fillers, inductive sealers, rotary sorting bowls and vibratory sorting bawls.

Furthermore, they also boast of pre-feeders, elevator sorters and liquid fillers.

This is an indication that these fillers are complicated and adopt high-level technology in their operations.

And, they are used in the pharmaceutical companies due to their sophistication, which goes a long way to ensure speed, accuracy and hygiene.

· Liquid Filling Machine with Capping Machine

These are liquid filling machines with the ability to lid vessels it has filled.

Again, this comes as one of the last stages of production.

These are in most cases fully automated liquid filling machines.

· Liquid Filling Machine with Rubber Stoppering

These are designed for low speed to medium speed filling of vials and rubber stopper inserting applications.

The vial range can be from 2-100ml in volume and output.

This can be accompanied by speeds of up to 100 vials per minute.

It also features an automated, recipe-driven format changeover.

· Types of Filling Machines by Application

Apart from design, filling machines can also be classified in accordance with their applications.

Let us have a brief highlight of these types of filling machines.

 Liquid filling machine

 Liquid filling machine

  • Gravity filling machines – these are filling machines used in the water, wine, oil, spirits, and vinegar.
  • Vacuum filling machines- these are commonly used in filling bottles with foamy products.
  • Hot Filling machines – these are used to fill vessels with sauces, juice concentrates, jams.
  • Isobaric filling machines – these are used to fill bottles of beer, carbonated soft drinks, sparkling wine and even Cider.
  • Piston (Volumetric) filling machines –are measured by volume for Honey, Jams, Oil, Pastes, sauces, cosmetic creams.
  • Weight (volumetric and ultraclean) – these are used in industries manufacturing yogurt, milk, mayonnaise, salad creams and oil.
  • Acid resistant – for bleaches and corrosive liquids

Factors to Consider when buying liquid filling machine

There are many factors to put into consideration when choosing the right liquid filling machine.

 Liquid filling line

Liquid filling line

These include the rate at which you want to do your production, the size of space available and the level of automation.

Let us, therefore, discuss some of the most critical factors, starting with viscosity.

· Product Viscosity

Getting to know the viscosity of the product you intend to package is the first step that will help you identify the type of machine you need to employ.

Viscosity is the resistance of the liquid to flow.

It is the ability of the liquid to flow freely.

Less viscous products like water flow freely while.

Thick or high viscous products are those liquids that don’t flow easily.

These differences in viscosity dictate that different filling machines are used.

Therefore, sojourn onto the distinction of appropriate machines to be used owing to various levels of viscosity.

· For Low Viscosity Products:

Overflow Filler – This machine uses nozzles that allow a level on each container, with disregard to slight variations on the interior volume of every bottle.

By the time the liquid reaches its level in the bottle, it overflows and returns to supply.

Gravity Filler – This filler allows filling liquids into its container with a time-based system.

The machine typically has a tank seen above the fill heads to supply liquids.

When the container is placed under the filling heads, the valve will open and supply the container with its pre-defined amount.

After its pre-set time, the valves will close, and the supply will then be cut-off.

· For High Viscosity Products:

 Liquid filling machine

 Liquid filling machine – Photo courtesy: CCS

· Pump Filler

Uses a pump to assist the product through the pathway and into the waiting bottles or other containers.

The kind of pump used for each project will depend on many different factors.

The product itself is one major factor.

Pump fillers can be tailor-made to fill based on both pulse and time.

Time-based fills are more or less self-explanatory.

They allow the pumping of products into containers for a pre-set amount of time, and each fill head can be adjusted individually for more accurate fills.

Pulse-based fills will depend on the type of pump being used as well.

For example, with a gear pump, a pulse may consist of an entire turn of the gear, or something less, like a half turn.

This principle of filling allows for slightly better volumetric accuracy over a time-based fill.

Piston Filling Machine

This machine uses piston and cylinder for a more accurate volumetric filling.

Once the piston pulls out of the cylinder, the liquid will be transferred into it.

Once the cylinder is full, the piston again enters it, pushing the liquid to enter into the bottles.

Its ability to handle products that include particulates or chunks is its biggest boom.

This is the main reason why this filler is much preferred than the pump filler.

When thick products are in play, a majority of the solutions will come from one of two filling machines, either pump filler or piston filler.

· Container Type

Sometimes, there may be more than one machine that work well for filling a given product.

However, the bottle or container being used is also considered in making the ideal choice for some projects.

If you are going to use a clear container, you may prefer the overflow filler.

This is because it can fill each container to the same level regardless of small inconsistencies in the interior volume of the container.

It, therefore, provides an attractive appearance when the product gets to the shelf.

Some products may use large or small containers, which can also influence the choice of the machine or the nozzles that you will use for packaging.

Apart from the product itself, therefore, the package being used is another major factor to consider in determining which filler will best suit any given project.

What material is it made of?

Plastic, glass, or aluminum each requires their specific filling technique.

It is critical to know which material you are using, as this will help choose the best filling machine to purchase.

 15 Eye drop filling machine

Eye drop filling machine

The choice of machine is also determined by the shape of the container.

For example, for a container with a non-standard lid or cap, it may not be appropriate to go for an automatic bottle filler that grabs bottles from the top.

Similarly, you cannot use a bottle filler that grips from the side when filling very wide containers.

Most bottle filler manufacturers are always willing to review your containers and help you choose the best machine.

Fill Rate

This refers to the number of bottles you will need to fill per hour.

Your production requirements will help in determining whether you will go for a manual, semi-automated or fully automated machine.

If you opt for the semi-automatic equipment, you will need manual labor for bottle placement, fill process activation, and to remove the filled containers.

 

Liquid filling rate Liquid filling rate

Therefore, implies a slower rate at which the filling process is completed.

Automated machines require less operator interaction, thus ensuring a very high filling rate.

Your choice of the best filling machine will therefore greatly depend on the number of bottles per minute required to reach production demands.

Of course, these do not constitute everything that you will need to consider.

However, these general questions can help you derive more specific questions concerning any given project.

Issues such as growth prospects, current budget, the probability of additional products, among other factors, will help to determine the correct solution for any project.

Fill Volume

To what level do you want your vessel filled?

A critical decision you need to make is whether liquid-level filler or a volumetric filling machine is best for your operations.

 Ampoule

Ampoule

Liquid-level fillers

When using this type of filler, the main concern is the level of the liquid on the container.

Implying, if the containers are of different sizes, then you will definitely end up with different volumes of liquid for the different containers.

This method of filling works more efficiently and is more cost-effective.

Besides, it results in a beautiful look since all the bottles are filled to the same level.

In most cases, liquid level filling machines use pressure-overflow fillers.

These fillers have a very fast fill rate and can, therefore, handle a wide range of viscosities.

In case of any leftover product in the filling tubes, it is pushed back into the tank, thus ensuring that there is no overflow, and no liquid is spilled.

Volumetric filling machines

These machines fill an accurate volume of liquid into each bottle.

Any inconsistencies in the shape or volume of the bottles may, therefore, make the liquids to appear like they are at different levels.

Despite their accuracy, these fillers have a weakness in their cost.

Owing to the special instruments that are required for their timing, calibration and balance, they are relatively more expensive.

However, the advantage of accuracy surpasses the weight of the costs, especially when dealing with products that require accurate dosage.

Volumetric filling machines come in three varieties:

  • Gravity-fed fillers. These are more cost-effective.
  • They work best with frothy or low-viscosity liquids.
  • The liquid is kept above the bottles during filling, to allow gravity to assist in the process.
  • Piston fillers – They work well with either low-viscosity liquids (check-valve piston fillers) or very thick products (rotary-valve piston fillers).
  • They operate by pumping product from one part of the machine to another in exact amounts.
  • Pump fillers – These are specially designed for filling very thick products that always need some extra force to move them through the machine.

Metering System

Well, this is yet another fundamental aspect you must consider when buying a liquid filling machine.

Now, what exactly should you consider?

 Liquid filling station

 Liquid filling station

What is flow?

It is the amount of fluid that passes a particular section per a specific length of time.

Flow is, in many cases, measured in:

  • Liters per minute (lpm)
  • K. gallons per minute (UKgpm)
  • S. gallons per minute (US gpm)

Is it essential to measure hydraulic flow?

Measuring flow without pressure or vise-versa can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis of a system’s underperformance.

Flow measurement

Even without a flow meter, you can still measure the flow rate in a hydraulic system.

A simple way to measure the flow is by timing how long it takes to fill a container such as a bucket with oil.

However, apart from being quite dangerous, this solution is not very practical.

This is because once the oil is inside the bucket, it is out of circulation.

It is therefore exposed to contamination, and is no longer inside of the hydraulic system.

Also, whenever you’re choosing a flow meter, it is important to consider the following:

Fluid properties

You will need to consider whether the meter will be confined to measuring the flow of the same fluid, or if different fluids are involved.

The characteristics of the liquid to be measured will significantly influence the choice of the flow meter.

So you will consider factors such as corrosiveness and material compatibility and viscosity.

Fluid viscosity

Kinematic viscosity goes down with the increase in the temperature of hydraulic oil.

This change in oil viscosity affects some flow meter technologies more than others.

Apart from all these, you should review the technical specifications of the machine.

Take for example, the technical information for SaintyCo eye drop filling machine is:

Figure 19 Technical specification

SaintyCo Liquid Filling Machine

SaintyCo offers a range of liquid filling line for various applications in the industry.

With years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, our liquid filling machines meet the CE, RoHS, ISO, ASTM and cGMP standards.

SaintyCo liquid filling machine

SaintyCo liquid filling machine

Our liquid filling machine line are optimized for a range of solutions such as oral liquid, aseptic, eye drops, lotion etc.

Whether you’re in the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, or chemical processing industry, SaintyCo liquid filling machines offer reliable and dependable solutions.

With years of experience and know-how in the liquid filling machine industry, SaintyCo can customize equipment to specific needs of customers.

From small, medium to high production liquid filling machines.

Conclusion

From the discussion, it is clear that liquid filling machines play a crucial role in the pharmaceutical industries.

It is impossible to get quality, hygienic and precise products without the use of these machines.

A feature that we cannot ignore is the capability of the machines to reduce wastages and to reduce human labor demand.

With this guide, you can confidently, choose a machine for your liquid filling needs.

For questions or inquiries, feel free to contact our team for free consultations.

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