There are many different machines used in filling and packaging food and beverages. These machines are used in different countries and differ in terms of volume, precision, speed, technology, number of bottles among other factors.Carbonated Soft Drink and Beer Liquid Fillers
Sodas and soft drinks are normally classified as carbonated drinks since they have significant amount of carbon that causes fizzling or bubbling when opened. Special over pressure or counter pressure filling machine and a carbonator are used. The process starts by cooling the soda syrup in a chiller to very low temperature so that carbon dioxide can be introduced by a carbonator without forming. During filling, oxygen must be eliminated from the bottle as it reduces the shelf life of the product.
Food and beverages fillers machine therefore starts by closing the neck of bottle. Then, a valve opens to allow high pressure carbon dioxide to fill the bottle thereby displacing Oxygen. In other countries, a vacuum is used to suck all the air before introducing the syrup. Then, another valve opens to fill the bottle. Shaking must be avoided as it results to effervescence. Some machines run the liquid down the bottle sides where others have a nozzle that runs to the bottom of bottle and this is lifted as the bottle is filled. Capping is done and the bottle is warmed before being labeled.
Filling of Non Carbonated Drinks in Different Countries
There are wide varieties of filling non carbonated drinks such as mineral water, milk, juice, sparkling wine, and yoghurt.
Siphon fillers were used in old days but have been replaced in many countries. They used j tubes that are connected from the source to bottle. They operated using the siphon effect. The bottle fills slowly until it reaches the level of supply tank and the flowing stops. These were very slow and not economical nowadays.
Gravity filling machines are used for large scale filling of dense or foamy products. They are used in developing nations or by small scale firms. The beverage or drink flows by gravity into the bottle and may be stopped manually or automatically.
The piston type is applied in India, Asia and America. It basically sucks the fluid during the reverse stroke into a precise volume which is then discharged to container during the forward strike. To fill different volumes, the stroke is adjusted.
Pressure fillers are currently common in many nations due to their speed of filling. They use a centrifugal or displacement pumps to move liquids to bottles. Due to speed, they need few filling heads and occupy less space. New advanced filling systems have come to the market in America, India and Europe. These utilize the latest cutting edge technology in filling and measuring. They have nozzles fitted with magnetic flow meters that measure the liquid going through the bottle. Once the level is attained, the fluid stops flowing.
Vacuum fillers were used in Europe and America before plastic bottles revolutionized the market. The air in the bottle is sucked off and this automatically pulls the liquid into the container until the vacuum effect is neutralized. They are suitable for glass bottles since empty PET bottles would crash under vacuum.
This article has been written by Arjun Rao, the proprietor of Shree Bhagwati Machtech (India) Pvt Ltd./