Rotary Fillers and Rotary Filling Equipment
Once production requirements exceed the capability of inline indexed filling machines, the most efficient set-ups use rotary filling machines. Rotary fillers are available from as few as 8 heads to as large as is needed, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of filling heads for very high speed operations. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a rotary liquid filling machine to be incorporated into what is know as dual-modal or tri-modal monoblock system that includes rinser-filler-capper (tri-modal) or filler-capper (dual-modal). An often overlooked issue for rotary filling machines and monoblocks is that it is a very good idea to use a common sized cap and neck finish for whatever range of bottles needs to be filled, because change parts and changeover time is very expensive, increasing greatly as the need for speed increases. Generally speaking change parts for bottle changeover is not all that expensive or time consuming, but if the cap size changes along with a bottle change the parts can cost a small fortune, and changeover time can take a full day on some of the larger machines. Just a wise word of advice for those of you whom are contemplating a future need for higher speed bottle filling equipment.
Bottle Filling on a large Rotary Filler
Types of Rotary Fillers
Just about any type of filler that is available as an inline system is also found in a rotary filling machine. There are pressure fillers, gravity fillers, piston fillers, and carbonated beverage filling machines, canning and more, plus numerous arrays of configurations such as neck supporting for water bottles, bottom fill platforms or diving nozzles, to the brim fillers for many juices, plus hot fill options and much more.
However all rotary fillers share certain characteristics mainly that starwheels are made for each sized bottle to center it under the filling head and similarly to to remove the bottle to return it to the conveyor. Sometimes the infeed starwheel can be choke fed, requiring a sensor to make sure there is an adequate backlog of bottles to prevent a random bottle from causing a jam. However in most instances (and always for higher speeds) the bottles are spaced and timed with an infeed screw which is another changepart prior to the infeed starwheel.
Normally speaking filling heads are not changed out for different fill sizes, but are set to the fit the smallest neck size of the bottles to be run on the system. (Again, it is much better to have all neck finishes of your bottles the same when possible). However, you can expect slower productions speeds that would otherwise be the case if you have a 1/2″ neck finish on a small bottle and also want to fill a gallon bottle which can require a 3/4″ or 1″ head to fill at a faster speed.
It is always a good idea to talk with one of our sales engineers before purchasing higher speed liquid filling machines to make sure you have a thorough understanding of all of the factors involved. That way you can consider possible product packaging changes to make rotary filling and capping operations more affordable and efficient.
Rotary Piston Filling Machine
Rotary Filling Machinery is Custom Built for your job
Unlike inline fillers, which can be very adaptable with little or no need for change parts, rotary bottle filling equipment is custom-built to your specific requirements. That is why we cannot stock machines, since requirements vary so much. In fact it is hard for us to even catalog machines because of the endless variety of possibilities that are available. For instance you may need a 60 head filler, the next customer may need only a 45 head filler (assuming same product), while the previous customer may need only a 30 head filler. In other words there is such a range of needs that it is nearly impossible for us to have a quote right at hand that we can forward to you right away (although we often try to get something in the ballpark for rough budgetary quotes), add in all the different variations of filling types, products, etc. and you can see how the complexity increases. Bottom line is planning. Do not expect to purchase a rotary filling machine right off the floor, and getting a quote for your specific needs can be a matter of days in some cases.
Tri-Modal Rinser – Filler – Capper: 80 Rinsing Heads – 80 Filling Heads – 22 Capping Heads