Five Innovations for Precision Monoblock Fillers / Cappers
Applications for Precision Monoblock Filler/Capper
Vial Infeed Turrets Place Vials Directly Into Zero-Backlash Turret
Starwheel Infeed System for Small PET Bottles
Introduction Pharmaceutical, diagnostics and cosmetics filling applications often require precise control of the container handling, filling and capping processes. Many diagnostic test kits include bottled reagent solutions in small amounts, typically only 1-5 milliliters. Single dose packages of prescription and over-the-counter products may be dispensed in micro-vials and small PET bottles, and the cosmetics industry has often relied on the precise filling of small bottles for anything from eye drops to breath freshener. These smaller containers often call for precision feeding, cap handling, plug, wiper, dropper or brush insertion, and precise torque specifications. This precision is not featured on many widely available filling and capping systems and requires an innovative machine design to handle the stringent requirements of these types of applications. This white paper outlines five innovations that create a highly precise system for filling and capping liquids for pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and cosmetics manufacturers. 1) Innovative Infeed Systems Correct feeding and placement of bottles, vials, micro-tubes, etc. is essential in order to create a system for reliable high speed filling. The feeding efficiency affects filling speeds, scrap, rework, and machine uptime, all of which impact overall productivity. Reliable feeding of very small bottles and vials or micro-tubes has the added challenge of container stability due to the small diameter of the container. For vial filling applications, a unique infeed addresses this by feeding vials from a tube into a precision driven, zero-backlash turret that secures the vials for downstream processing. This infeed design eliminates the need for an infeed conveyor or feed screw, supporting a faster machine changeover. Another innovative infeed system allows controlled handling of small PET bottles. The system incorporates a vibratory bottle feeder that orients the bottles right-side up and drops them into a mini starwheel infeed system. The starwheel carefully discharges the bottles onto an infeed conveyor and into a timing feed screw. The feed screw positions the bottles for filling before moving the bottles into a second starwheel for additional processing, including plug insertion and capping. Both of these innovations permit precise, stable container handling into a Monoblock Filler/capper without bulky hoppers or additional conveyors.