Liquid Filling systems
Here at Flex Pack we help many businesses take the next step to greater productivity and we are very proud of every project we complete. In this news section, we will endeavour to update you with some of the challenges we have risen to meet and our client’s resulting success stories….
Hazardous chemical filling machine increases safety and efficiency
A state-of-the-art fully automatic drum filling machine has dramatically increased filling safety standards and efficiencies at Henkel Technologies.
The machine was designed and manufactured locally by Flex Pack to comply with Henkel’s new global safety standard.
The system comprises a powered roller conveyor with a fully enclosed central filling station with the operator completely isolated from liquids and fumes. The machine has a three-axis robotic drive system with PLC based controls.
The fill head is made from polypropylene and is immune to the effects of aggressive chemicals. A weigh scale batching system detects the amount of liquid filling into the container and is capable of accuracy to +/- 0.25% whether filling 20, 200 or 1000-litre containers.
“It is a unique system because it can handle extremely dangerous chemicals while still being efficient to operate,” Flex Pack’s director Mark Brown said. “There is no other system we are aware of which is built in Australia and offers the same features and flexibility.
“It meets all the design criteria and is a fascinating machine.”
Previously, Henkel employees were wearing protective clothing while manually filling drums with toxic chemicals. However, the innovative design of Flex Pack’s new filling system means Henkel workers are now completely isolated from dangerous liquids and fumes.
“It was essential we had a machine that protected the operator,” Henkel’s engineering and maintenance manager, Peter Petrucci said. “We wanted it to predominantly handle toxic chemicals, but because of the ease of operation, it can handle anything and has virtually eliminated spill risks.”
He said originally, the filling was all done manually with staff lifting drums on to pallets, “but this new machine is fully automatic and the guys just love it because it makes life so much easier for them”. “It is safer and while filling they can walk away and do something else.”
The system complies with the Australian standard AS4024 Cat3.
Peter Petrucci said he identified two or three manufacturers who he considered approaching to build the system. “Flex Pack was the most suitable to accommodate our needs, they specialise in liquid filling machines and handle these types of products all the time,” Petrucci said.
“We wanted it custom designed to suit our needs and found we could work together with Flex Pack to design and build it to our specifications.
“Ultimately we will purchase another machine. Our number one priority was safety and we are really pleased to have also gained significant production efficiencies.”
New liquid filler introduces major advantages and greater speed
A Flex Pack filling system installed at the Juice Terminals facility in Newcastle NSW has added a new scale of major advantages for the company; greater speed of handling inward shipments and faster distribution of product for the company’s customers.
Prior to the installation of the filling system, Juice Terminals were importing orange juice concentrate from Brazil in 200 litre drums. Transit time from Brazil was more than forty days. Now, with the local filling, the product can be shipped to Australia in bulk and 200 or 1,000 litre containers can be filled on a ‘just in time’ basis, to meet customer demand.
“The big advantage, now that we have the Flex Pack equipment, is the ability to more economically supply juice to our Australian customers in their preferred container sizes,” said Chris Carpp of Juice Terminals.
“We only need days, instead of weeks, to fill an order.
“Our procedure, now, is to import orange juice concentrate in bulk, thousands of tonnes at a time, in a specific stainless steel lined hold in the ship – and when the ship arrives at port, pump it directly into on-shore storage tanks.
“We can now use our new Flex Pack drum filler to fill either 200 litre drums or 1,000 litre IBCs – Pallecons or Schutz plastic containers.
“Packaging to meet our customers needs has made a significant difference,” explained Chris.
Juice Terminals looked at Australian made fillers and concluded that Flex Pack fillers were the preferred option. The design chosen by Juice Terminals allows the filling of up to 12 x 1,000 litre IBCs (12 tonnes) per hour. This is based on achieving a designed flow rate of 5 litres per second of heavy juice concentrate.
“Orange juice concentrate is not an easy product to handle, it can be quite viscous, something like the viscosity of liquid honey … and equipment requires particular specifications in order to deliver at speed while conforming to HACCP requirements,” said Chris.
“We were sufficiently impressed by Flex Pack’s presentation that we checked with some of their customers, and on the strength of all that, decided to proceed with Flex Pack,” explained Chris.
Juice Terminals decided to utilize the Flex Pack design – it uses larger diameter product piping and has the bigger filler head to ensure an adequate flow rate for the system that works at 6–7 bar pressure.
“We left it to Mark Brown of Flex Pack to develop the specs … but also kept him to a short delivery time. We put them on a pretty tight time line as our business was expanding and we needed the drum filler pretty quickly.
“And, the schedule for ship arrivals is not very flexible. It was a lot of pressure for Flex Pack.”
The Flex Pack filler decaps incoming empty containers, fills the container, then recaps and labels. The whole process is entirely automatic. Flex Pack systems are known to regularly achieve batch repeatability of 0.5% – and often better.
A Siemens PLC based processor system with a touch screen, controls all operations of the system.
The filler is set up in a clean room with containers entering and exiting through clean air locks.
“We are very happy with the service we received from Flex Pack, the modifying of the design to our needs and the performance of the filler,” concluded Chris.
The Flex Pack system is based on a three station conveyor system. For this particular application for Juice Terminals a semi automatic system was installed. It requires the operator to control the flow of drums or IBCs into and away from the central filling station.
The fill station has a lift mechanism that raisers and lowers the pallet up off the chain conveyor with PEs controlling timing and pallet location.
An articulated control arm allows the fill head to reach any part across the pallet. The filler head then lowers to the bottom of the container for a bottom fill.
The system is CIP compatible for thorough cleaning and quick changeover.
For more information contact Flex Pack phone (03) 9568 6899.
Filling machine proves its worth with thick pastes
The move by Melbourne based food company, NSM Food Wholesalers, into the manufacturing of food pastes brought on a need for a filling machine, capable of drawing pastes from a bulk container and then transferring measured quantities into retail size packs.“It is not a simple process to find the right machine and carry out the task of filling retail containers with thick pastes,” said Omar Sidaoui of NSM.
“Our need started as a result of some dissatisfaction with the Tahine (sesame) paste we were importing. To achieve the high quality standard we set for ourselves, we decided to manufacture our own paste. Having bought our own grinders and processors we then needed a filler to handle both bulk packs and retail size containers. Reliability and accuracy were the basic requirements.”
NSM decided to trial a single head filler from Flex Pack. “We had a good look at their plant and what tipped the balance in their favour was the personal service. If we had a query in the early stages we could ring them and get straight through to the person who understood exactly what the issues were … and, if necessary, he would be out to our plant in an hour or two,” explained Omar.
The Flex Pack unit is a single head filler with batch controls based on a weigh scale indicator with a touch-pad interface. “We can set up the filler to handle containers within a range of 0.5 to 10 litres. It processes up to 10 x 0.5 litre containers per minute with a batch accuracy within the specified 10 grams, which is better than we originally expected. But, in reality typical batch accuracy is within a range of plus or minus five grams“, concluded Omar.
NSM have been sufficiently impressed by the Flex Pack filler that they intended purchasing a second machine. The installation has also become a reference point for others considering the purchase of filling unit for processing thick not-so-easy to use pastes such as sesame paste.
For more information contact Flex Pack phone (03) 9568 6899.