Time Based Versus Pulse Based Pump Filling Machines

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The pump filling machine is a versatile liquid filler that allows the packager to choose the type of pump used to deliver product to waiting containers. The ability to match a specific pump to the unique product needs often make the pump filler a better choice than overflow fillers, gravity fillers or other filling machinery. Pump fillers allow a packager to choose an air diaphragm pump where hazardous conditions make electricity a bad idea. Another facility may select a peristaltic pump to ensure that product does not become contaminated during the filling process. A more common pump, however, is some variation of a gear pump, where – generally speaking – liquid travels between the teeth of the gears to the pump outlet where it is fed to the filler plumbing, tubing 駝背矯正 and eventually to the waiting bottles. For many companies, the pump filling machine may be the best solution, leaving them only to choose between time based and pulse based filling.

Wait. What? I just chose the right type of filling machine for my product, shouldn’t the questions end now? Actually, to further fine tune the solution for any given product, most pump filling machines can be manufactured to allow for either a time based fill or a pulse based fill. To illustrate the difference, we can analyze the use of a two head gear pump filler using both the time and pulse based filling methods.

TIME BASED FILL

Our two head time based pump filler will be manufactured with two gear pumps, one for each fill head. The principle behind the time based fill is actually fairly simple. Each fill cycle the pumps will turn on, and the heads will open, for a pre-set amount of time. Once the time elapses, the fill heads close, the pump turns off and the bottles are indexed out of the filling area. Pump speed can actually be ramped up or down at the beginning and end of the fill for certain products, such as those thicker, more viscous products. Special nozzles may also be used for bottom up filling to avoid air pockets in thicker products. In general terms, though, a time based fill is fairly self explanatory, product is released into containers for a pre-set amount of time. The operator of the packaging line can add product to each bottle filled by increasing that pre-set time or remove product by decreasing the time, until the desired fill levels are reached.

PULSE BASED FILL

Setting up the pump filling machine for a pulse based fill will also require one pump for each fill head. However, instead of measuring the fill by a pre-set amount of time, the pulse based fill will focus on the turns of the gears in each of the gear pumps. A pulse will be equal to a specific rotation of the gear or gears in each pump. Each pulse may be set to a quarter turn of the gears, releasing the amount of product that will be captured between the gear teeth for that quarter turn. If the packager set the fill time to include eight pulses, the gears would complete two full turns for each bottle to be filled. Instead of adding time to increase or decrease the amount of product released into the containers, the operator of a pulse based filler would add or subtract incremental turns of the pump gears. The effect being a slightly more accurate volumetric fill than that allowed by a time based fill.

A number of different factors will be considered to determine which type of fill will provide the better solution for any individual packaging project using a pump filling machine. Though we used a gear pump in our example, any number of different pump types can be used to complete a fill. The type of pump used have a bearing on whether time based or pulse based filling is incorporated into the packaging system. Some industries may require that the volume of product in each container fall within a specific range, in these situations, the pulse based fill would be warranted. If production demands are high and volume is not a factor, a simple and quick time based fill may be desired. As is the case with most packaging projects, whether a filling machine, capping machine, labeler or other equipment, the best solution will be discovered by analyzing the unique traits and needs of each packaging project.

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