Are you still filling containers manually by pouring or inserting a hose? For smaller companies producing low volumes, it might be a good way to do things. However, as a company faces more demand and production ramps up, manual filling can pose a number of issues. At this point, many companies start asking if they should invest in liquid filling machines as a way to cope.
The problems with manual filling
Although manual filling suits some businesses, it also brings problems that only grow when production increases. For a start, pouring by hand is slow, so increasing production means hiring more employees or working longer hours.
To make things even more difficult, it is almost impossible to get the volume right every time, especially if you are trying to rush. Sometimes you underfill, leading to angry customers and product rejection while overfilling wastes products and costs money.
Where hygiene is important, contamination is a problem and employees pouring hazardous chemicals risk injury from spills or accidentally mixing active reagents. For these reasons, an increasing number of businesses, especially SMEs, are exploring automatic liquid filling machines as an answer. These machines can help a business overcome these problems and bring many additional benefits.
Increase production with speed and automation
One of the main advantages of a liquid filling machine can speed up production significantly, allowing your business to process far more bottles per hour. You can buy a machine with two, four, or even sixteen filling heads, and even upgrade to meet future rises in demand. Not only does the machine save time, but it also opens up new possibilities for growth without hiring more employees or expanding business premises.
Of course, some smaller businesses may feel that an automatic system is too fast for their needs and too risky an investment. In this case, a semi-automatic system can be the perfect compromise, where an operative places the bottle under a machine and the system does the rest, filling quickly and accurately.
For larger businesses, a larger system that integrates with conveyors and other equipment, such as capping machines, can really maximise production.
Reduce costs across the production line
Apart from increasing production speeds, liquid filling machines help businesses significantly lower costs. Naturally, most of this arises from reducing the amount of labour needed, freeing up money to invest elsewhere in the business. Other indirect savings emerge from the high filling consistency, leading to less need for QA checks and lowering the rate of product rejection.
Filling accuracy means lower product wastage from overfilling and reduces the risk of under-filling, which can see lost customers and even attract fines. Finally, especially as Australia tries to promote economic recovery, federal and state governments may offer grants, competitive loans, and tax incentives for businesses seeking to invest in automation.
Consistent filling volumes and quality assurance
Modern filling machines have a huge impact on filling accuracy compared to manual filling processes. Many use volumetric filling to guarantee the same volume every time, where the operator simply sets the desired volume and lets the machine do its work.
Because there is less chance of spilling or overfilling, this reduces the chance of cross-contamination and product wastage. Filling with such precision reduces the need for manual quality checks, and is crucial for pharmaceutical products where dosages have to be exact.
The highest hygiene standards
For many businesses, especially those working with food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals, hygiene is crucial. Business owners are all too aware that contamination can lead to spoilage, food poisoning, and unwanted attention from health inspectors. The precision and easy maintenance of liquid filling machines can make contamination less likely, especially with a model that is clean room compatible and manufactured from stainless steel and durable plastic.
Improve worker safety
Another benefit of investing in liquid filling technology is that a business can see significant improvements in worker health and safety. For a start, less manual handling means less chance of trips, slips, and falls when carrying containers backwards and forwards. It can also reduce the risk of health conditions like musculoskeletal disorders that can result from manual tasks.
A machine can help prevent strains, including repetitive strain injury, and protect workers from spills when working with dangerous chemicals or hot liquids. Finally, as shown during the pandemic, automatic liquid filling machines support social distancing policies by reducing the number of staff in close proximity to each other.
Enhanced employee satisfaction and development
One often-overlooked benefit of the technology is the mental well-being of employees. Very few people enjoy working hour after hour, repeating the same tedious tasks on a production line. Not only can this lead to more mistakes due to fatigue, but it can see high staff turnover when employees burn out. This is a particular problem in areas facing labour shortages.
The right filling machine can reduce the tedium and improve employee morale significantly, especially if it opens up opportunities to work in other areas. Working as machine operators, supervisors, or other specialised roles makes better use of skills and opens up a path for career development.
Flexibility as your business evolves
Integrating liquid filling machines into your production line can bring you flexibility and help you adapt to changing market conditions and customer demands. For example, most machines are relatively easy to set up for product changeovers, requiring a change of heads and settings.
Most machines from reputable manufacturers can handle a range of liquid types and viscosities, as well as cope with hot liquids and even foaming products. Most can handle a variety of container shapes and sizes with little fuss, making them invaluable for companies producing multiple product lines.
Filling machines also provide capacity for future upgrades, if demand increases, by simply adding extra filling heads. This is particularly useful for seasonal rises in demand, and businesses can simply hire the extra equipment to see them through the peak.
Liquid filling machines usually fit seamlessly into existing production lines, given the small footprint of the equipment. Businesses of all sizes, from huge production plants to small, family-owned businesses can find the right machine to suit their needs.
How Asset Packaging Machines supports businesses
At Asset Packaging Machines, we know how to make sure a company investing in packaging technology chooses exactly the right option. Whatever your type and size of business, one of our extensive range of Australian-made filling machines will support you for decades. Whether you want to buy outright or hire one of our high-quality machines to test the technology, our experienced technicians are ready to help.
With a reputation for durability and the backing of our experienced, customer-focused support, we can help you decide where a machine will fit into your production lines. Our machines are flexible, easy-to-clean, and intuitive, helping your business access all the benefits of liquid filling and increase production volumes while lowering costs and remaining competitive.