Searching for the right liquid filling machine can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to find one that is reliable, efficient, and affordable, but you are confronted with a long list of technical specifications. One of these is ‘precision,’ a term that is important but sometimes difficult to define, especially because it often appears alongside ‘accuracy.’
Precision Filling Makes Good Business Sense
With the market expected to grow to $8.96 billion in 2026, it’s clear that liquid filling is big business today. For some types of businesses, understanding precision and volume consistency is important. With any filling machine, there is always some degree of deviation from the target volume, which is defined by filling precision and/or filling accuracy.
Any experienced business owner knows that filling problems can cause issues. Under-filling containers may lead to angry clients while overfilling can create expensive waste. Imprecision can also result in issues like quality assurance failure and can even be hazardous in certain industries like pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. For these reasons, it makes good business sense to understand what degree of filling precision your business needs and to ensure that any liquid filling machine you purchase or hire can consistently meet these requirements.
Many business owners fall into the trap of believing that buying a machine with high filling accuracy is enough, but this is not always true. It is entirely possible for a machine to be highly accurate and also imprecise because these terms, although related, measure different things. Finding the perfect liquid filling machine requires knowing the differences between precision and accuracy and understanding why high precision matters.
Difference Between Filling Precision and Filling Accuracy
Although at first glance, precision and accuracy seem to describe similar things, there is a difference. They cover slightly different aspects of filling when it comes to a machine’s capabilities.
Filling accuracy describes the average filling volume a machine achieves across a batch of containers. If the mean filling value approaches the desired target volume, then the machine is described as accurate. However, it is important to note that a machine can deliver different volumes each time yet still achieve the average. Imagine an archer shooting arrows at a target, which all land in the outer ring. Because they are all the same distance from the centre, this is accurate even if none hit the bulls-eye.
For some industries, where volumes tend to be averaged across an entire batch, this is often sufficient, and the customer is not short-changed. For example, some machines use liquid-level filling so that there appears to be the same amount of liquid in the neck of the bottle once capped. Because bottle volumes are inconsistent, some contain more liquid and some less, but the average volume balances out.
For pharmaceutical industries, where the dosage is critical, accuracy on its own is not enough, and these machines need high precision. Filling precision measures the spread of filling volumes in relation to each other so when a filling machine delivers exactly the same volume each time, it is highly precise. In technical terms, this can be described as ‘volumetric repeatability’ with little random error between the filling volumes. With the archer example, this would be clustering the arrows in one part of the target, although not necessarily in the bulls-eye.
Importantly, precision machines must be set up perfectly and calibrated accurately because if one bottle is filled with the wrong volume, then all bottles will have the wrong volume. Often, filling machines must be both accurate and precise, delivering the exact required amount every time. Our archer must cluster every single arrow firmly in the bulls-eye.
Why Precision Filling is Crucial
When trying to buy or hire a machine, why should filling precision matter? Is it worth paying extra money for a high-precision model? In many industries, high precision is not only important; it is crucial.
The first reason for investing in high precision is to prevent product wastage caused by overfilling. If a machine delivers too much liquid, this can cause overflowing or lead to product giveaways. For high-value products, such as perfume and cosmetics, this adds up over time. As an example, a company producing one million bottles per month, with a 1% overfill, effectively gives away 120,000 bottles per year! A precise and perfectly calibrated machine avoids this.
Equally, underfilling can be a major issue because selling less than the advertised volume will anger clients or attract the attention of trading standard regulators. In addition, some products, such as pharmaceutical goods, require exceptionally high consistency because dosages are crucial, and these filling machines must be precise and accurate, even for irregular containers and bottles.
Australian Filling Precision Standards
In Australia, several standards cover liquid filling precision for goods, including the labelling requirements, units of measurement, and measuring accuracy. The regulations include:
- National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009 (Page 103) – These regulations cover the permitted volume measurements and allowable errors for a range of goods.
- Guide to the Sale of Pre-Packaged Goods – This guide covers the labelling requirements for goods, the required measurement accuracy, and guidelines for any measuring equipment.
- Average Quantity System – The AQS, an internationally agreed method, sets out the average quantity requirements covering a batch of products, including the maximum permitted deviation.
Of course, Australian companies exporting products may have to follow additional international standards.
Asset Packaging Machines and Filling Precision
For four decades, Asset Packaging Machines has perfected the art of building Australian-made filling machines that deliver exceptional precision. Using a volumetric cylinder method, with pistons and rotary valves, these machines deliver precise volumes time after time.
We can also offer volume adjustment with easy testing and calibration to make sure that they deliver the right volume with accuracy and precision. With our machines, not only do you save money by avoiding over and underfilling, but you also have control over the volume of liquid delivered to a very fine degree.
Of course, alongside exceptional precision, our machines offer a number of additional benefits to Australian businesses. Apart from the excellent build quality following stringent Australian standards, our systems offer high reliability. They can cope with a range of liquids, irrespective of viscosity while maintaining exceptional precision.
If you want to find out more about why filling precision matters and how it can help your business, contact us anytime and speak to our experts.