Businesses today are increasingly choosing to invest in liquid filling machines to stay competitive. However, finding the right machine for your production line can be particularly difficult with so many different options available.
One of the most common questions we come across is whether to invest in a linear or rotary filling machine. To make the right choice, you need to understand both concepts and how they can fit into your business needs.
How do linear filling machines work?
Linear filling machines have been part of production lines for decades. These machines fill containers passing down a conveyor system using gravity, pistons or pumps.
Linear machines fill bottles in sequence. They stop to fill each batch of bottles before moving to the next. They usually operate with one, two, four, or eight heads, but some can use up to twenty. The bottles then move to cap placing and tightening machines, and then accumulation tables for further processing.
How do rotary filling machines work?
Rotary filling machines move containers down the production lines through different circular stations. At these points, the conveyor passes under rotating star wheels. Containers are centred under the filling head and once full, they move to the next stage.
Rotary systems operate continuously and do not need to stop when the bottles fill up. Many rotary machines include additional circular stations for sealing, capping, and labelling.
Advantages of linear filling machines
Linear filling machines are workhorses with many benefits. This makes them perfect for many businesses.
Linear machines are relatively cheap to buy and easy to install. Spare parts are cheap and readily available, especially if you source locally.
Linear machines are highly scalable. This means a business can easily make upgrades to increase production. You can even hire extra heads to cope with seasonal production demands. It is also possible to adjust linear machines without stopping production. Moreover, product changeovers take minimal time.
Linear machines are well known for their simplicity and reliability. They are intuitive to use and maintain. Even if the machine breaks down, repairs are usually quick. There is often no need for specialised repair technicians. This leads to less downtime and product wastage.
Linear filling machines have a much smaller footprint than rotary machines. This is perfect for smaller businesses and production lines where space is at a premium.
Disadvantages of linear filling machines
Linear machines are discontinuous and can’t match the highest level of production throughput that some rotary machines can achieve. Whilst it isn’t likely to affect most small to medium businesses, much larger manufacturers sometimes prefer the output of a rotary machine in their production line.
Linear liquid filling machines are perfect for small and medium companies with lower production needs. They are also useful for start-ups wanting to test the waters or companies with a range of product types.
Advantages of rotary filling machines
Rotary machines generally have a higher capacity, with 20 or even 50 heads to fill bottles at very high rates.
High Production Volumes
For high production volumes, the continuous operation of rotary machines makes them a viable option. They suit many products and container types but are particularly useful for carbonated drinks.
Since a rotary filling machine fills as it rotates, the incoming and outgoing conveyors are continuously moving. This removes the need for additional accumulation stages to hold the containers between each fill.
Disadvantages of rotary filling machines
As they operate on many moving parts, rotary machines are more complex and more expensive. They can also be more difficult to clean due to the number of filling nozzles, although many have a ‘clean in place,’ or CIP system.
In addition, repairs often need expertise and time to isolate the problem. This can lead to extended downtime and can impact profits. They may also take longer to adjust to different container types, which is not ideal for companies with multiple products. They take up more floor space than linear machines and are less flexible.
For larger companies requiring very high production volumes, rotary machines may be a good investment. But factors like repair costs, maintenance and downtime must be considered from the start.
Which machine is best for Your business?
Linear and rotary filling machines have their own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these helps you select the right machine to fit your production processes.
Businesses typically wanting high-speed production may prefer the rotary filling machine route. But small and medium businesses may find rotary systems too expensive and complicated. Linear filling machines can easily scale to your production needs, which is why they are often the more popular option.
Linear filling with Asset Packaging Machines
Linear filling machines are ideal for companies that need cost-effective, flexible machines. They are simple and easy to use, often working tirelessly for years. As filling machine technology develops, you also have the option to upgrade.
To find out more about linear liquid filling machines, contact us today.