Module 7. Filling equipment

Lesson 29

29.1 Introduction

With increasing consumption of long life foods like milk, fruit juices and other liquid foods, as well as certain pharmaceutical applications, the bulk handling of foods aseptically is taking prominence.

The above operation is possible with improvement in packing material and related technologies. The large size packages that can withstand mechanical damage and ability to have perfect seal are being manufactured. The packing containers are heat sealable like the milk pouch film sealing. There is also both one way as well as returnable containers being manufactured.

29.2 Bulk Aseptic Filling Equipment

The Bulk fillers like individual package fillers, are located very near to the UHT plant, and the product is not stored in between. The product is filled as it comes out of UHT plant.

Standard equipment basically has an arm protruding out like a cantilever, from a support base. The arm carries a long pair of horizontal jaws for sealing, supplied with heating element. The arm also carries a valve sealing equipment that exactly matches with the nozzle of the packing bag. Once the valve is connected to the nozzle of the packing bag, it creates an air tight grip on to it. The arm is connected with vacuum line, which when activated, draws away the air from the bag to be filled. The option of circular valve or horizontal jaws depends on the type of bag that the bulk filling is done. This action is similar to the vacuum cleaner.

Once the bag is cleared of the air, the product flows through another pipe connected to the arm, and a known quantity is filled into the bag. The choice of the quantity, the time of sealing, the temperature etc is programmed. The sample packing for smaller bags can be done manually. If the bag is large, the arm has adjustment facility to lift the bag to the required height and hold it till the product is filled, so that there are no empty pockets in the bag.

The controls can be simple touch screen type and has all the machine modes and also any alarm that are required for indicating any process deviations to the operating personnel. There is a control for the sealing time, temperature, change in volume etc. The controls have both the Manual and Auto operation facility, so that filling operation goes on continuously, once the process parameters are achieved. The manual operation is usually done for sample package sealing that is required for the quality control laboratories from time to time. The touch screen controls can also be custom programmed to give the information about history of filling operations, shift basis or day basis in addition to the operation.

All product contact surfaces are of AISI 316, for maintaining proper hygiene and prevent corrosion. The CIP cleaning is done by fitting an adopter into the filling jaws. No manual strip down of equipment for cleaning is required.

The capacities of bags can be 5 lts to 1000 lts. The large bags are further supported by drums in which they are positioned while filling it. The equipment can also fill variety of containers. The filled packets are moved away from the filling arm, by roller conveyors for quick filling operations.


Fig. 29.1 Bulk filler


Fig. 29.2 Aseptic closure assembly


Fig. 29.3 Schematic diagram of bulk filler


Fig. 29.4 Package material holder cum filling tube

Last modified: Thursday, 4 October 2012, 5:48 AM