Filling machines or dosing machines are essential pieces of equipment used in food processing and packaging. They measure a dose of processed food product by various means, and feed the product into be enclosed in bags, pouches, cartons, cans, jars, bottles and other types of packaging.
What are the types of food filling machine?
Filling machinery comes in portable tabletop designs or floor standing configurations which can be integrated into food processing and packaging lines, including form, fill seal lines.
Compact, single nozzle machines are used in small, low cost food processing lines. They are suitable for many different foods, including soups, sauces, salad dressings, ready meals, coleslaw, yoghurt, hummus, peanut butter and jam.
Multi-nozzle machines significantly increase throughput capacity by simultaneously filling multiple containers through an increased number of filling heads. Filling heads can be arranged on a rotor (rotary filling) or in a line (linear filling).
How do food filling machines work?
Most food filling machines operate with product fed into a hopper then pumped pneumatically or by vacuum, or fed by an auger screw. The product is passed through a nozzle or filler head, with portions measured by volume or weight, into containers and packaging of various types. For some products, the material is fed onto another component of the food product such as bread slices for sandwiches or pie cases.
Manual filling machines are often operated by a hand lever used to pump product through the feeder nozzle. This type of equipment is most suitable for small production facilities, and for locations where electric supply or compressed air is not available for pumping the product. Manual filling machines are more accurate and less prone to spillage than pouring or portioning the product by hand.
Semi-automatic filling machines are usually operated by pumps driven by compressed air. Filling can be set to repeat, and the machinery will offer greater speed and accuracy than manual filling machines. Precise portions can be filled through accurate measuring and dosing equipment incorporated in the weighing or volumetric controls.
Automatic food filling machines feature controls and inline equipment which manages the filling process from material handling, loading, dosing and packaging. The equipment is often scalable with the ability to increase the number of filling heads. Automatic filling solutions offer larger scale operations high throughput and optimum efficiency.
As with all food processing machinery, hygiene is critical, and ease of disassembly for cleaning is an important design consideration.
Types of food handled by food filling machines
A wide range of food filling machines are available and are designed to handle a comprehensive range of food products. Equipment can be set up to handle individual food filling requirements.
The following products are frequently handled by food filling machines:
- Peanut butter
- Jams and preserves
- Pizza toppings
- Sandwich fillings
- Ready meal preparations
- Pasta salads
- Sauces and marinades
- Raw meat
- Meat mixes and pie fillings
- Meat sauces
- Corned beef
- Luncheon meat
- Grated cheese
- Fish paste
- Fish fillets in sauce
- Fish in oil
- Fish roe
Access a list of PPMA member companies who can supply Filling Machinery.