Liquid Filling Machines and Bottle Filling Machines
Liquid filling machines in a packaging workflow are specified according to the type of liquid (e.g. viscosity, carbonation) and the type of packaging (e.g. rigid, flexible). The technologies available through PPMA Member companies cover a full spectrum of liquid filling requirements, including semi-automatic and fully-automatic solutions.
See a full list of PPMA member companies who are experts in Liquid Filling Machines.
How does a liquid filling machine work?
Liquid filling machines fall into three categories: level filling machines, weight filling machines and volumetric filling machines.
These fill containers to a pre-determined level by vacuum, pressure or gravity.
Filling mechanism that fills a liquid to a pre-determined level in a rigid container. The flow is initiated by applying a vacuum to the container. This technique is used for filling liquids like wine and free-flowing powders like milk powder. Vacuum fillers are suitable for accurate filling of products at both low and medium speeds.
Find out more about Vacuum Filling Machines.
Filling mechanism used to fill carbonated liquid products under gravity to a predetermined level in a rigid container, with the product under pressure. Fillers of this type are suitable for accurate filling of products at both medium and high speeds.
Filling mechanism used to fill a product, usually liquid to a predetermined level in a container, the product flowing under gravity. This is the classic method of filling non-carbonated drinks into glass bottles. Fillers of this type are suitable for accurate filling of products at low, medium and high speeds.
Also known as weigh fillers, these machines fill containers with a set weight of liquid (or powder, gas or solids) directly into the package which is resting on a weighing instrument which controls the filling operation. This method of weighing is used for products as diverse as jars of instant coffee, litre bottles of oil and 200 litre drums of chemicals. Gross weighing machine are suitable for accurate filling of products at both low and medium speeds.
Liquid fill is measured by volume using a flow meter. If based on an inductive flow-meter these machines are restricted to use with water-based liquids but have the benefit that they are easy to clean and have the tolerance to include solids. Flow-meters based on the Coriolis principle can also fill non-aqueous products like oils. Fillers of this type are suitable for accurate filling of products at both medium and high speeds.
Bottles, cans and cartons are the traditionally dominant forms of liquid packaging. All are now challenged by developments in flexible pouches.
What are the advantages of flexible liquid containers?
Stand-up pouches are now a familiar sight in retail and their market share is set to grow (the global flexible packaging market is estimated at $350bn). Pouches offer significant advantages over rigid packaging.
- Lightweighting is now a significant issue. Pouches use less material, and being lighter they reduce transport costs and energy consumption. Even lighter PET bottles are likely to be less environmentally friendly than pouch alternatives.
- Pouch materials can be printed directly with high quality images and text. That allows for strong branding and marketing messages as well as security and tracking codes. Unlike glass and plastic bottles pouches do not need labelling, so a process is taken out of the production line.
- Pouch materials can be made for the specific needs of the liquid product, offering lower costs where lower grade packaging will suffice. Glass by contrast is the same fundamental material for all bottled products.
- Pouches can be any size, and any shape. They offer a huge amount of flexibility.
- A flexible pouch is not damaged if dropped or knocked.
What are the types of flexible liquid filling machine?
Flexible packaging is developing fast, but its two mainstays are Stand-Up Pouches and Bag-in-a-Box.
- Stand-Up Pouch Filling and Sealing Machine: Packaging machine in which pre-made stand up pouches are taken from a magazine, opened, filled and then sealed in the machine using a variety of methods, but typically heat or adhesive. Stand-up pouch fill and seal machines are used to pack liquids, sauces, soups and foodstuffs such as olives.
- Liquid Bag-in-Box Filling and Sealing Machine: Packaging machine in which a pre-made bag is filled with liquid and sealed. The bag is placed into a carton and the carton is then closed.
What are the types of rigid liquid filling machine?
Packaging machine in which glass ampoules or vials are first filled with liquid then fitted with a closure or fusion sealed with a flame. Typically, the filling methods used are volumetric piston, level, weigh filling or timed flow.
Packaging machine in which bottles are first filled with liquid and then fitted with a cap, cork, crown cork, roll-on pilfer-proof closure (ROPP), or other type of closure. Typically, the filling methods used are volumetric piston, level, weigh filling or timed flow. Machines will usually be rotary with one carousel for filling and a second carousel for capping the bottles.
Packaging machine in which cans are first filled with product, which may be liquid or solids in suspension (e.g. baked beans) and then closed by seaming an end piece or lid onto the can. Typically, the filling methods used are volumetric piston, level, or weigh filling. Machines will usually be rotary with one carousel for filling the cans and a second carousel for seaming the cans.
Packaging machine in which casks or kegs are first filled and then sealed usually with a plug or crimped cap. Typically, the filling method is gross weight filling.
Packaging machine in which pre-made plastic cups or tubs are taken from a magazine or stack, filled and then sealed using a heat sealed aluminium or plastic membrane or with a press on lid, or both. Cups are typically indexed from the filling station to the closing station either using an intermittent motion carousel or an in-line transport mechanism. Cup filling machines are used to pack products like yoghurt, cream or margarine.
Packaging machine that takes a pre-made collapsible tube made from metal or plastic, from a magazine which is filled typically using a volumetric piston filler and then closed by folding, crimping or heat sealing, depending on the material used to make the tube.
Access a list of PPMA member companies who can supply Liquid Filling Machines.