Volumetric Filling Machine Vs Liquid Filling Machine

A very burning question that crosses every one’s mind is whether to opt for a volumetric filler or liquid filling machine in their food processing line. We are going to discuss the details of how the two compare.

· Volumetric Filling Machine

Volumetric Filler
Volumetric Filler

This is a filler that can deposit your product into a container in specific volumes in a given time. Usually, the volumetric filling machine will ignore any lack of uniformity in the volume of your different containers and fill them with equal volume.

You will find that the level of product in one container is higher compared to another. This simply means that the disparity is in the container shape or volume, the product volume is the same.

· Liquid Filling Machine

Manual Liquid Filling Machine
Manual Liquid Filling Machine

As for liquid filler machines, they will fill your product into containers until a certain level equal to each container is reached. This machine does not consider the volumetric or shape variations of your containers, they have a specific level to fill.

These fill-to-level machines are mostly used when you want to achieve a cosmetic appeal in the level display of your product. They give your containers an identical fill in as much the actual product volume differs in each container.

Comparison Between Volumetric Filling And Liquid Filling Machine

If you look at the current food processing market, you will realize that the most common machines you will find are these two. Each of them has its own operating and filling principles that serve various needs.

For experienced packagers, differentiating between the two and knowing which serves them best is easy. You may be new to the industry so differentiating the two may prove quite a bit of a challenge.

Let us simplify things for you by delving directly into how these two fillers compare. We can look at different aspects that are common between the two such as:

· Operating Principle

Volumetric Filling Machine

The filling process of liquid into containers is through nozzles that are made to fit the requirements of your product. However different these nozzles may be in terms of structure or shape, their working principle is still the same.

You will see a holding tank placed on top of the nozzles and valves that is used to hold your product. These valves automatically open the nozzles for some time to pass a specific volume of product into the container.

For automatic volumetric machines, you can achieve a higher fill accuracy by adjusting the fill time of the nozzles. This means that the nozzle closes immediately after your pre-set time is reached to stop the filling.

They have a PLC panel where you can preset and control all these parameters. However, you will need to use a button or foot switch in the semi-automatic ones to trigger a fill cycle.

Liquid Filling Machine

In this filler, you will find a special type of nozzle that is capable of filling your product in a container and allowing any excess back to the holding tank. This is a from of preventing any product wastage.

The process begins when the nozzles seal the container and allow your product to enter through an open fill port. When your product reaches a certain pre-set level, any excess is sucked back using a return port to your holding tank.

The operating principle is the same whether you go for an automatic or semi-automatic filling machine. The only variation is that you’ll need a switch to activate fill cycles in semi-automatic while the automatic relies on its PLC.

Liquid Filler Machines
Liquid Filler Machines

· Components

Both these machines have various components that work together to enable them to serve you efficiently. Knowing some of these components and their functions will enable you to understand the two even better.

Volumetric Filling Machine

  • Frame: this is what holds all the components of your machine in place
  • Holding Tank: this is where your product is stored before it fills the containers through nozzles
  • Nozzles: this is what delivers your product from the holding tank to the container through pipes and tubing.
  • PLC/ Control Panel: this is what controls the machine operation and where you adjust the parameters

Liquid Filling Machine

  • Nozzles: the difference between the nozzles in this and that of volumetric fillers is the presence of two ports. One is for filling the container and the other is to suck back any excess product back to the holding tank.
  • Frame: this is what holds all the components of your machine in place
  • Holding Tank: this is where your product is stored before it fills the containers through nozzles
  • PLC/ Control Panel: this is what controls the machine operation and where you adjust the parameters

· Benefits

In as much as they carry out a similar purpose, you will find some benefits specific to each while others are common. Let us see how their benefits compare:

Volumetric Liquid Fillers

  • You can have custom-filling nozzles on your gravity filler to cater to different container sizes and products.
  • There is a lot of flexibility when you are using piston fillers since you can use them for both heavy and light products
  • There is a variety to choose from since you can get three types of volumetric fillers based on your requirements
  • If you have an existing in-line food processing system, you can easily incorporate these fillers into them
  • They are highly efficient since your productivity is increased while saving on labor costs

Liquid Filling Machine

  • You can easily operate them with some training
  • They are very efficient and highly accurate when you set the right parameters
  • They can improve your productivity at reduced costs since they take bulk production

· Limitations

It is very normal for any machine you operate to have a downside. These are key factors you should look out for when sourcing for such machines.

We can have a look at how these two fillers compare on their downside.

Volumetric Filling Machine

  • It may cost you more to acquire them mostly if you are running a small business
  • They are not appropriate for transparent containers since the varying fill levels may not visually appeal

Liquid Filling Machines

  • You will require a lot of capital input for its initial setup
  • You are limited to the container sizes that you can fill

· Types of Machine

Volumetric and Liquid filling machines are just general classifications with many machine types falling under them. Let us look at some of the types of fillers that fall under these two general categories:

Volumetric Filling Machines

You will find three types of fillers under this category namely:

  • Pump Fillers: they have various pumps that can handle products having various viscous properties. They offer some form of thrust to your thick products that pushes them into containers.
  • Piston Fillers: these fillers push your product into their containers using pistons
  • Gravity Fillers: with the product placed inside the holding tank above the nozzles, it will fill into containers using gravity. It is usually a cheaper filling machine when you compare it to the others.

Liquid Filling Machines

We can categorize the filling machines available in the market as follows:

  • Piston liquid fillers
  • Inline liquid fillers
  • Rotary liquid fillers
  • Automatic liquid fillers
  • Semi-Automatic liquid fillers

· Applications

Although you can use them in the same line of industry, these two have specific applications that they work in better. Here is a brief comparison of where best you can apply these two:

Volumetric Filling Machine

We can describe the various applications of this filler through the various types that we have seen above. However, you will require opaque containers in all of them since you won’t see the fill level discrepancies in different containers.

If you opt for clear containers, then the shelf display of your product will not have visual appeal due to inconsistent fills. Here is a breakdown of the applications of the volumetric filler:

  • If have free-flowing liquids, you can best fill them using gravity fillers
  • Viscous liquids require some assisted effort to fill into containers and you can do that with pump and piston fillers. An example of such products is gels and oils.
  • If your product has particulates in plenty in their solution like fruit pieces, then you can use a piston filler
  • You can also use pump fillers for low-viscosity products although the pumps will vary depending on your product’s viscosity.

Liquid Filling Machine

You will require this filler if you are dealing with a product that is filled in clear containers. This is because the fill level is consistent in every container and that gives your product a visual appeal in its shelf display.

They achieve this uniformity by applying the overflow filling principle. Additionally, you can use the liquid filling machine for liquid products that have a low viscosity.

If you have products that foam during processing and filling, then this is the right filling machine for your application. This is because you can easily control the foam and the fill level using the return port of your nozzles.

Liquid Filling Process
Liquid Filling Process

Conclusion

These are the two most common machines you will find in the industry having very many applications. Having a clear understanding of the distinction between the two makes you have a better judgement of what to go for.

With the comparison we have impacted above, that will be a walk in the pack for you. Remember, the choice is whether to you an equal product volume in the containers or your customers to see an equal container content.

More Resources:

How Volumetric Filler Machine – Source: LOM

Factors to Consider when Buying Liquid Filling Machine – Source: LOM

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