Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine: The Ultimate Guide
I know you are probably looking for an effective and reliable pharmaceutical tube filling machine for your packaging solution. A reason this guide will make the process of choosing these tube filling machines easy and simple. Whether you want to learn about the design, features, parts or working principle – all information you need is right here.
1. What Is A Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine?
As we all know the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most popular industries and is ever in demand.
A pharmaceutical tube filling machine is a piece of equipment you can use to fill a variety of products into packages such as tubes.
pharmaceutical tube filling machine
2. Applications Of Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
Many industries have benefited from using these machines since they are not only used to fill pharmaceutical products.
The devices are used to fill a lot of other products.
Some of the industries include;
The food industry uses the pharmaceutical tube filling machine to fill some products such as tomato paste, mayonnaise, and many others.
The machine is used to fill medicinal creams and ointments into tubes.
Additionally, the pharmaceutical tube filling machine is often used for paste-like medicines that most people apply to their skin.
The stationery industry also widely uses the pharmaceutical tube filling machine to fill different types of paints used to color into tubes.
So many pet products such as washes are filled using the pharmaceutical tube filling machine.
The pharmaceutical tube filling machine is widespread in the cosmetic industry. This is because most of the products they make require a device like it to fill the products into them.
Hygiene products such as hand sanitizers and toothpaste also require a pharmaceutical tube filling machine.
The pesticide industry also uses pharmaceutical tube filler to fill their products into packages.
3. Advantages Of Pharmaceutical Tube Filler
A filling machine is an equipment that is very useful when it comes to filling products into different containers such as tubes, bags, pouches, and many others.
The advantages of a pharmaceutical tube filler include;
1. One of the major advantages of using a pharmaceutical tube filler is that it reduces the wastage of products.
The machine is very accurate and you can only fill the exact amount of products into a package.
2. Its operational costs are low. The pharmaceutical tube filler uses very high speeds during the whole process, reducing operating costs.
3. The machine allows one to make use of a lot of different pastes with different viscosities.
The choice of paste one uses is determined by the type of product being packaged.
4. With a pharmaceutical tube filler, you have improved change over time.
5. A pharmaceutical tube filling machine is very efficient and effective; with it, one can achieve the best results.
6. For any business to grow, you have to be a reliable producer.
When using a pharmaceutical tube filling machine, you are assured of reliable and consistent results. The device is entirely accurate and very fast.
7. The machine is versatile. You can be able to produce a variety of shapes and sizes using the pharmaceutical tube filler.
8. When you use a pharmaceutical tube filler you have reduced labor charges.
This is mostly because the machine does most of the work, leaving little to no work for humans.
4. Pharmaceutical Tube Filler Machine Filling Mechanism
There are so many industries that use tube filling machines.
When it comes to pharmaceutical filling, there are four common principles that one can use.
These principles are;
- Volumetric filling – this involves the use of volumetric fillers and gravity fillers.
The volumetric pump realizes the product from the hopper to the tube using a time-based system.
The system stops the products once the tube is filled to the required level.
- Vacuum filling – this principle involves vacuum pumps and cell feeding.
Air is drawn out of the tube creating a vacuum. The vacuum pump pours the paste slowly from the hopper into the cell.
- Gravity filling – the product is placed above the filling station then the paste flows to the tube through gravity hence the name.
The filling time of the nozzles is programmed, and the nozzles fill the right amount of paste into the tube.
- Piston filling – this principle involves the use of piston fillers.
The hopper pours the exact volume of paste into a cylinder then the piston pushes the paste into the tube.
5. Sealing Mechanism In Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
Product packaging is one of the selling points of any product.
Because of that several industries have invested heavily to ensure their products are the best overall.
Sealing products may seem tedious, but there are some mechanisms that you can use to ensure your products are well sealed.
The following are the sealing mechanisms in a pharmaceutical tube filling machine;
- Ultrasonic sealing mechanism – ultrasonic sealing is best for products that are heat sensitive.
This sealing machine uses high-frequency sound waves to create friction and heat.
Ultrasonic sealing is quite fast and the seals made from it are very strong.
- Impulse sealing mechanism – impulse sealing involves electrical currents to seal products.
This is one of the affordable sealing mechanisms that even small-scale businesses can use.
- Hot jaw sealing mechanism – hot jaw sealing makes use of a heated sealing jaw to create a firm bond.
The heated jaws are pressed on the tube to make a tamper-proof seal, airproof and also waterproof.
- Hot-air sealing mechanism – hot-air sealing is an environment-friendly sealing mechanism that uses heat to seal the ends.
It is a fairly quick process where the tubes are heated at the end and then cooled.
Hot air sealing makes seals that can resist high pressures and temperatures.
6. Pharmaceutical Tube Filler Machine Parts
For any machine to work properly, it should have certain parts. Each part has a specific function.
The following are the parts of a pharmaceutical tube filler machine;
- Safety system – protects against unwanted mishaps and emergencies
- Plunger valve – responsible for dispensing the right amount of product
- Filling nozzles – controls the flow of liquid into a container
- Hopper – it is a funnel-like device accountable for moving material from one place to another
- Frame – this is the support system of the machine
- Coding jaws – this is where you can easily and quickly set up the machine
- Discharge unit – this device enables products from the tank to fill up the tubes
- Motor – provides enough power to the machine to do its work
- Emergency stop – this part comes in handy when there is a need for a sudden stop
- Control unit – this device is responsible for different commands on the machine.
- Cooling unit – this is where sealing takes place.
- Tube container – this is where empty tubes are stored
- Sensor – a sensor detects the tube and then fills it. Without detection, there will be no filling
- Rotary unit – this is where the tubes are placed and are moved continuously for feeding
- Tube holder – this part supports the tube during filling
- Tank – this is where the products that will fill up the tubes are hold
7. How Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine Works
A pharmaceutical tube filling machine works in three ways.
The steps involve tube feeding, tube filling, tube sealing, and finally tube coding.
You then select the empty tubes depending on the type of product.
Clean them to remove any contaminants that may have come into contact with them.
Feed the empty tubes into the machine then the machine will move them automatically to the rotary table.
Depending on how the machine was programmed, it uses a nozzle to dispense the paste at different speeds.
There are several filling techniques one can use.
Once you have filled it, the rotary table moves the tube to the sealing unit. At the sealing unit, mechanical clamps seal the tubes.
The last step is coding the tube.
The machine then prints information such as the expiry date, manufacturing date, and other information on the tube.
The pharmaceutical tube filler machine then discharges the products to the collecting unit.
8. Types Of Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
A pharmaceutical tube filling machine comes in different forms.
Each kind performs differently and has different features.
They also come at different prices depending on how they work.
These are the main types of pharmaceutical tube filling machines found today;
Manual Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
Small or upcoming businesses highly utilize this filling machine. The manual machine mostly depends on physical labor.
Most of the processes are done manually and do not depend on electricity.
manual pharmaceutical tube filling machine
You can use a manual pharmaceutical tube filling machine where there is no electricity.
A manual machine is cheaper, but its production volume is relatively slow.
Semi-automatic Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
A semi-automatic pharmaceutical tube filling machine depends on both manual labor and machines.
Some parts of the machine are not automatic and will require a person to do the work. For example, feeding the tubes into the equipment is done manually.
The person working on the machine is also responsible for removing the tubes from the filling station after the filling.
semi automatic pharmaceutical tube filling machine
This machine is suitable for upcoming businesses that expect medium-scale production.
The semi-automatic machines are faster than the manual and slower than the automatic machines.
Fully Automatic Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
All large-scale businesses use the fully automatic pharmaceutical tube filling machine. These machines offer very high volume production in a short time.
Additionally, the automatic machine is fully automated and programmed to run independently.
When working with an automatic machine, manual labor is very minimal.
automatic pharmaceutical tube filling machine
The whole process does not require any physical assistance from the beginning to the end.
9. Features To Look For In Pharmaceutical Tube Filler
There are some features one should look for in a pharmaceutical tube filler, and they include;
- Look for one that only requires little labor input. The machine does everything independently and requires little to no manual labor.
- The pharmaceutical tube filling machine should have a digital adjustment system for filling volume.
- The machine should be versatile. This means it should be able to accommodate a variety of products with simple setting changes.
- The machine should have a compact built design, high quality, and very fast.
- A budget-friendly machine is one factor you cannot ignore.
You should make sure you don’t go over your budget.
- Its filling nozzle should be very effective. It ensures proper filling of the product into the tube.
You should be able to regulate the amount of product that goes into each tube.
- It should have a PLC with a touch screen control system.
- A pharmaceutical tube filler should be made up of automatic feeding, filling, and sealing parts.
- The machine should be made up of advanced equipment construction.
Its parts should be made of materials such as stainless steel.
With that, you can be sure of the durability.
- The machine should have an easy structure to clean and maintain.
You can disassemble some parts for proper cleaning and maintenance.
- The machine should have an air-blowing unit that protects the filling and sealing quality.
- A pharmaceutical tube filling machine should have a user-friendly interface. One that anybody can learn to use easily.
10. Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine Maintenance Process
Anybody with a machine knows very well that maintaining the equipment is one of the most important things one can do.
Regular maintenance of a machine will result in longevity of the machine, will increase the machine’s efficiency.
This is to avoid mechanical issues, thus saving costs that you were to use on repairs.
The following are some of the ways one can maintain a pharmaceutical tube filling and sealing machine;
Clean the Machine Often.
When using any machine, it is expected to get dirty or accumulate dust.
Parts such as the filling nozzle, and seals require daily clean-up.
You should dust and clean the machine regularly to ensure it remains clean.
If you use the tube filling machine for a long without regular clean-up, it might cause issues to the machine and affect its working.
Also, you should ensure the machine is off when cleaning and use machine-friendly cleaners to avoid damaging the machine further.
Machine lubrication is one of the most critical steps in maintaining a tube filling and sealing machine.
A machine cannot work well without oil lubrication, mainly done on the moving parts of the machine because of friction.
When a machine goes for long without lubrication some parts may end up breaking or even will not be able to move.
Clean the parts well, then lubricate them with oil.
Do A Regular Maintenance Check On The Machine.
A maintenance check means looking at the machine parts and ensuring everything is in order.
Check on the filling nozzles, and the seals to make sure that everything is in order.
You may expose some parts of the machine to water resulting in rusting, and you can notice this during the maintenance check.
Also, check the oil levels in the machine and add more if needed. This will prevent damage to the machine.
Change Machine Parts Regularly.
Anybody working with a machine knows that spare parts are essential.
When a machine has been used continuously for a long time, some parts tend to wear off quickly.
Some features are pretty long-lasting and do not need to be changed frequently.
For a machine to work effectively and for one to avoid excessive damage to the machine, the parts need to be changed.
Always ensure you do an inspection daily before starting the machine and make adjustments where necessary.
11. Troubleshooting Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
When working with any machine, there are some setbacks that you may encounter. Some of them are completely normal while some need a skilled technician to solve them.
Here are some of the issues and their possible causes;
- Inaccurate filling volume.
This may be caused by machines not sitting level on the floor or even loose connections on the plumbing pathway.
It may also be due to contamination of the product, a clogged nozzle, incorrect setting, or even an empty product hopper.
- One side of the sealing is firm but the other is not. This may be a result of the sealing jaw or the tube feeder.
The sealer may not have been aligned well or the tube feeder has jammed.
- Pharmaceutical tube filling machine not working. It may be caused by a power issue or the main disconnect is not on.
- Printer not working. This may be because the printer is off or damaged.
- Noise and vibrations from the machine.
This may be because of many issues such as loose parts, unbalanced load, parts that have not been lubricated, or incorrect settings.
- The pharmaceutical tube filler does not reset. This may be due to low air pressure or fault wiring.
- Incorrect labeling of tubes. This is mostly because of incorrect settings or a misaligned label.
12. Types Of Tubes You Can Fill Using Pharmaceutical Tube Filler Machine
A pharmaceutical tube filler fills viscous products that mostly is squeezed out of its package.
The tubes that are used should be able to protect the product well and improve its shelf life.
Every product has a tube that is best for it and it is essential to use the most suited one.
The following are the types of tubes you can fill using a pharmaceutical tube filler;
- Aluminum tubes – Aluminum toothpaste tubes offer high protection to the paste. The downside of using these tubes is that they don’t return to their original shape after squeezing out the product.
- Plastic tubes, also known as polyethylene tubes, are the most common for most pharmaceutical products.
They are cheaper and quite effective.
- Laminated tubes are mostly made of plastic and are laminated to provide extra protection to the product.
13. Benefits Of Clean-in-place (CIP) In Pharmaceutical Tube Filling Machine
A clean-in-place is an automated cleaning, rinsing, and sanitizing process that is done by a machine.
Most industries have adapted the clean-in-place over doing it manually.
The clean-in-place has many benefits.
Here is a list of the benefits;
- The clean-in-place process is very efficient and effective.
With manual labor, you can expect some human error, but this is not the case with a clean-in-place system.
The machines clean the products well and can even detect one that has not been cleaned to satisfaction.
- With a clean-in-place system, humans can avoid harmful chemicals that have been incorporated into the cleaning agents.
- A clean-in-place system also ensures you utilize the production time since it is faster compared to when it is done by humans.
This means that using the (CIP) system guarantees faster production time.
- A clean-in-place system saves on time. Once products have gone through the CIP system you are assured they cannot be recalled.
When they recall products they have to go through the process again.
- With a clean-in-place system, there is no contamination of the products.
- A pharmaceutical machine with a clean-in-place system is cost-effective.
Rather than having different equipment or even using manual labor, you use one machine.
- A pharmaceutical tube filling machine with a clean-in-place system helps lower operational costs. The equipment uses less power compared to using two different equipment.
Automatic Tube Filling Machine
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