High-viscosity liquid products are more prone to clogging than thinner fluids, which is why they require the use of specialized liquid filling machines that are designed to handle them. Without the proper packaging machines handling these liquids, the production and packaging processes can result in product wastage for many different types of liquids.
There are several types of liquid filling machines that pharmaceutical production lines should use for high-viscosity liquids of varying consistencies.
Pressure Gravity Fillers
Gravity fillers are ideal for filling many types of thin and foamy liquid products, but pressure gravity filling machines are more capable of handling high-viscosity food and nonfood products, such as pharmaceuticals, syrups, glues, SAE 70 oil, and liquid cheeses. There are many applications that pressure gravity fillers are used for, with a wide range of machine types and configurations depending on the product that requires filling.
How to Use Pressure Gravity Filling Machines
There are two main types of pressure gravity fillers that liquid packaging facilities can utilize, including traditional pressure gravity filling machines that are fully integrated in packaging lines and table top pressure gravity fillers that are ideal for low-volume production.
Most of today’s pressure gravity filling equipment is designed for easy installation and setup, with easily removed parts that allow for simpler cleaning and deconstruction when relocating or rearranging production lines. Pressure gravity fillers are also often flexible enough to fill various types of containers using a single machine, which is particularly useful if new packaging specifications are required for certain products.
Pump Filling Machines
Pump fillers are designed to handle a wide range of viscosity levels, from water-thin to highly viscous substances. They can also fill liquids in containers of many different size and shape specifications to meet many production lines’ specific needs.
There are several different types of pump fillers, including gear pumps, lobe pumps, progressive cavity pumps, and rotor pumps. In some cases, packaging lines can integrate pump filler capabilities in pressure gravity fillers.
Create a Complete System of Reliable Equipment
Pressure gravity fillers and pump fillers may be integral to an effective production line for high-viscosity liquid products, but there are several other necessary pieces of equipment that facility managers should consider.
To make sure that products experience consistent fill volume and speeds throughout the entire production and packaging processes, you should use a system of conveyors, bottle cleaners, cappers, and labelers. With a properly installed configuration of these machines, you should be able to maintain efficiency and accuracy from the beginning of the packaging process to the end.
Liquid Packaging Line Conveyors
In addition to liquid fillers, conveyors are required to transport liquid containers across the entire production line. Make sure you have conveyors that are set to ideal speed settings and installed in efficient configurations that help result in maximum profitability.
Packaging experts can assist with the selection and installation of these conveyors, forming systems that last for many years while helping ensure packaging containers reach their destinations throughout the packaging process.
To prevent contamination of high-viscosity liquid products, you should use bottle cleaners to remove dust and other types of particles from containers prior to filling. Highly viscous products can easily pick up potential contaminants that might result in a spoiled and dangerous product.
After the filling process is complete, liquid containers require secure, airtight caps to prevent leakage and contamination. Customized capping machines can fit containers of many size and shape specifications with specially designed caps, with manual and automatic models available depending on the volume of products.
Another type of packaging machine that pharmaceutical packaging lines need is a labeler. Labeling machines are needed to print and apply labels of varying materials to containers once they have undergone filling and capping, finalizing the packaging process prior to shipping.
Labelers can often print multiple types of materials depending on the branding and other requirements of the specific product, such as paper and clear plastic. You should utilize a labeler that can meet your product’s individual needs.
Make Sure Operators Are Sufficiently Trained
While functioning packaging equipment and liquid fillers are necessary to maintain efficiency throughout the packaging process, the operators behind the machines should have the training necessary to keep them working properly.
Facility managers should also keep operator training in mind when acquiring new equipment that operators may be unfamiliar with, keeping them prepared for when it’s time to get the machinery up and running.
Combine Liquid Fillers and Packaging Equipment for Efficient Pharmaceutical Packaging
A complete selection of liquid fillers and other machinery can properly package high-viscosity liquids of all kinds, including certain pharmaceuticals. Packaging experts can help with the selection of machines that are ideal for your production line, and with knowledgeable and attentive operators behind them you can benefit from maximized productivity and profits.
About the Author
Krys Beal, part of E-PAK Machinery, Inc.’s inside sales and marketing department, has over 19 years of experience in the manufacturing equipment industry with expertise in filling, capping and bottling equipment.