The filler takes care of filling a container such as bottles or cans.
We mainly deal with automatic used filling machines and semi-automatic used filling machines.
On the market there are various models of filling machines that change mainly according to the type of product that is bottled. For example, fill sparkling wine is different than one that fills only still products.
In addition, based on the production speed, there are linear fillers or rotary fillers, which differ in the number of bottles that are produced hourly, or in the space they occupy or even the cost, etc.
A filling machine is not simply a “filler”.
During the filling it must absolutely not modify the physical – organoleptic properties of the product that is working such as water, wine, beer, milk and oil.
The filler must therefore have a system and components that are consistent and respectful of all health and hygiene regulations required by current regulations. During the entire filling phase, the filler must avoid doing essentially these four things:
To give a stable rule, the time between filling and capping must be as short as possible, we speak of seconds, in which nothing must come into contact with the content.
The filler consists of a variable number of taps or filling nozzles, from which the product flows directly into the bottle container, brik etc ..
Depending on the type of product that is being bottled, the filling process will differ.
Filling a wine bottle is done differently than filling a tea can or milk carton.
For this reason the filling methods are divided into:
The product flows into the bottle by gravity through a valve which is activated when the bottle reaches the filling station. At the same time, the air in the bottle escapes through a vent tube. When the liquid reaches the lower end of the vent tube, its descent into the bottle is stopped because the air can no longer escape. Gravity filling is ideal for filling still wine or spirits in glass bottles. After the pre- evacuation phase , the valve opens and the product to be filled can be diverted into the container by means of a turbulence system that allows for gentle filling. During the process, the inert gas in the bottle returns to the tank and, when the level in the bottle reaches the nozzle, the filling stops and the valve closes.
Vacuum gravity filling is very similar to the previous one, the difference is that a vacuum is created at the end of the vent tube outside the bottle. This system is suitable for wine and spirits as aromas and alcohol content are not lost.
In volumetric filling, the volume of the liquid is measured. One of the valves is equipped with a magnetic flow meter that measures the volume transferred to the container.
The electronics allow to quantify the time needed to fill the desired quantity of product. All the other filling valves are managed pneumatically on the basis of the time defined by the valve with the magnetic flow meter.
An isobaric filler allows the processing of sparkling wines, sparkling wines, still wines and carbonated drinks. With isobaric filling systems, sparkling wine and spumante can be filled with optimized filling cycles for reducing downtime due to the possibility of degassing in several stages. Smooth wines can be filled with overpressure, improving the quality of the filling and also reducing the energy consumption of the system. The isobaric fillers also make it possible to guarantee a zero increase in oxygen in the wine.
Hot filling or hot- fill is used for the management of all those products that are not completely liquid such as tomato puree or fruit juices that have high quantities of organic substances but also milk or cream.
Basically all products with a shelf life (expiration date) ranging from one week to ten days.
The process consists of filling the bottle at a temperature between 80 ° / 85 ° C (176 / 185F°), after which there is an injection of nitrogen aimed to avoid implosion during cooling down to room temperature. Many drinks in fact need an aseptic container; the Hot Fill process has the advantage of using the heat of the product itself in order to make the bottle sterile.
In aseptic filling the entire bottling process is performed completely in a sterile environment watertight.
Aseptic filling is a process that allows you to bottle a commercially sterile beverage in a technically sterile food facility. The entire production takes place in a germ-free environment where the food and packaging are sterilized separately and combined under aseptic conditions. A sterile environment is essential for the aseptic filling of sensitive products that are not able to autonomously protect themselves from the proliferation of microorganisms.
The filling machine is the machine that requires the most attention given its nature and importance during the bottling process.
Let’s not forget that a filler must be sanitizable in its entirety with all parts made of steel for food products and also all the additional parts that get in contact with the food, be that rubber or metal. For all this, there has to be a competent assistance service, through which maintenance can be scheduled to guarantee high quality standards in production, and the longevity of the machine for many years.
In this machine the filler is positioned before the capper .
However, if a filler is assembled together with other machines in a single block, this is called a filling monoblock or a filling triblock , depending on the variants. That is, depending on which machines share this single block.
A filling monoblock generally starts with a filler and a capper that closes the bottles immediately after they have been filled.
There are various versions, with one or more capping systems or with the rinsing machine that is positioned before the filler.
Generally a filling monoblock takes care of three essential functions during the bottling process. Rinsing, filling, capping .