Liquid filling machines are used for the transfer of a variety of bulk liquids for packaging into bottles, pouches or other containers. Process requirements can range from water, glues, or chemicals to resins or food. Selecting the right process technology is not only be challenging, given the variety of fluids but can also be problematic if common filling issues are not known in advance.
Utilising the correct filling technology can mean the difference between an efficient low wastage process, or unexpected consequences leading to repeated maintenance and downtime. One type of pump that is regularly recommends for liquid filling machines is a peristaltic pump, but how do they perform in liquid filling applications and why utilise such designs in a process?
There are a range of issues common within liquid filling applications from pumps failing prematurely, to an unexpected change in the pumped fluid, cross contamination and even excess dosing of expensive fluids not charged for. Let’s explore six common issues of incorrect pump selection.
Cleaning: In order to recoup investment and maximise output, liquid filling machines are operated for extended periods often in large batches for economies of scale. When an ingredient, batch or colour change is made, pumps need to be cleaned to prevent cross contamination of fluids, colours or taste.
Utilising a peristaltic pump which consists of a single wearing part – a hose which can be removed and replaced in minutes or cleaned effectively quickly – helps prevent batches from being contaminated whilst maximising plant uptime.
Bubbles, frothing and changes in liquid consistency: As there are a variety of liquids which can be transferred within liquid filling machines, one undesirable effect can not only be shear, but if products such as inks are not handled gently bubbles or smearing can form within printed materials leading to wastage due to frothing.
As peristaltic pumps are gentle in their handling of media they not only ensure bubbles do not form but that there is no heat transfer from the unit to thermal sensitive gels, creams, liquids or chemicals altering their state or being a source of contamination.
Abrasive wear: Abrasive materials combined with extensive pump operation is a combination that can quickly adversely affect most pump technologies. Abrasive liquid handling requires a slow, gentle process action which hose pumps provide. Furthermore as units do not contain mechanical seals, O rings or valves which are essential in other pump designs, they are not subject to wear which is often a common reasons for the shortening of a pumps lifespan.
Maintenance: As machine efficiency is based on maximum up time, any associated process equipment should be easy and quick to maintain in the event of process stoppage. Peristaltic pumps contain only a single wearing part – the hose which is very easy to maintain, especially when used with a hose leakage sensor which can detect if a hose rupture occurs, automatically stopping the unit whilst simultaneously activating an alarm. As such designs can also run dry, issues rarely occur, with processes remaining fully automated.
Performance: Hose pump technology is such that it delivers a consistent volume of flow which is proportionate to speed. This means a pumps performance can be easily predicted and programmed into machines, with little loss of flow with changes in viscosity, back pressure or temperature.
Units can perform high suction lifts from containers located across plant and with peristaltic technology being reversible, units can have rotation switched for the recovery of fluids from pipework or dispensing heads, minimising wastage.
Accuracy: Peristaltic pump technology is not only 99% accurate, but as they utilise positive displacement technology when they stop there is no siphoning or dribbling, making them not only one of the safest designs of pump but also one of the most efficient designs for a process.
If you are looking to maintain an efficient liquid filling process, minimise wastage, or downtime, contact North Ridge Pumps to see how the company can help. The company will work with you to specify a low maintenance, heavy duty pump based on lowest lifetime cost for your liquid filling machine.
North Ridge House
3 Chrysalis Way
+44 (0)1773 302660