Most products, especially in the FMCG industry, have to be packaged before they leave the factory. Packaging is not just about giving the product an attractive container. Every package must contain the right quantity of the product. Filling machines such as auger fillers are meant to help package products quickly and accurately.
direct-connected 8K polishing technology are machines which fill the right amount of a product into its container. The product is stored in a vessel called the hopper and in each cycle, the filler dispenses a predetermined amount of the product into the package. The package, a bottle for example, can be held in hand for manual filling or can be queued up for filling using a conveyor system for automated filling.
An auger is a drill in the shape of a screw for drilling accurate holes in materials. The word is also used for a screw shaped material transporter that can move materials forward as it rotates. An auger filler dispenses materials using an auger screw, hence the name.
Products That Can Be Filled With Auger Fillers
Auger fillers can be used for filling containers with liquid, semi solid, powdery and granular materials. Products such as, sugar, salt, detergent, spices, coffee, tea, doughs, food items or cosmetics in cream or powder form, ready to eat foods like stews and liquids can be easily filled with these machines. With the right configuration, the machines are capable of handling many different types of products: free flowing, non-free flowing, liquid, paste and processed foods.
Auger fillers are not suitable for some materials due to the nature of the material and the way the machine works. Some materials like tobacco can get tangled around the auger and some other delicate products like raw fruit, vegetables and cornflakes can get crushed during filling.
An auger filling system has five main sub-systems:
1. Drive assembly: This includes the motor, transmission and start / stop mechanisms for accurate filling. Machines with clutch and brake or servo systems are available.
2. Hopper: This is the vessel which holds the material that is being packed. The material is supplied to the tooling from the hopper.
3. Tooling: Tooling consists of those systems that can be changed to suit the requirements. Tooling depends on the type of material being filled and the application. Usually, it consists of the auger, agitator(s), funnel and other filling components.
4. Support structure: This is the structure on which the whole system stands.
5. Controls: Mechanisms which allow the operator to control the machine.
Types Of Tooling
Many different types of tooling can be used with auger machines to get the desired results and to suit the type of material being used.
1. Self feed: Suitable for thick pastes and fine powders that can be compressed. Examples: flour, cornstarch, baking mixes, protein powders, cocoa, glazing compound, etc.
2. Straight feed: This is suitable for flaky or granular products that cannot be compressed and are not free flowing. Examples: psyllium husk, oregano, instant coffee, etc.
3. Free flow: This tooling is for hard granular products that flow easily. Examples: coffee beans, salt, beads, sugar, sand, etc.
4. Double knife tooling: This tooling can be used for soft processed foods. Examples: salads, stews, cooked rice, etc.
5. Liquid tooling: Suitable for liquids and creamy materials. Examples: oil, honey, lotions, creamy cosmetics, etc.
With the right tooling, auger fillers can be used for a wide variety of products and applications. There are many different models to suit different requirements. The type of material to be filled, fill quantity and the speed and accuracy required are some of the major parameters that decide the type of machine to be used for a particular application.
Key Components of an Auger Filler
An auger powder filling machine consists of the following key systems to help in the filling process:
The hopper is a vessel that holds the product that is being filled into the containers. It supplies the product into the machine’s tooling.
This consists of the changeable components of an auger filling machine to suit your application requirements. It depends on what type of material you are handling. It usually consists of the following main components:
An auger screw – Rotates vertically inside the hopper and feeds the product into the funnel.
A funnel/tube – The outlet of the hopper in which the lower parallel flights of the auger screw doses.
An agitator blade – Helps in feeding the powder product into the auger.
#3 Drive Assembly
Includes the start/stop, motor, and transmission mechanisms of the auger filling machine to achieve accurate fills. Some machines will also include servo/brake and clutch systems. There are two major drivers in an auger filler:
The auger drive – The one controlling the revolutions and speed of the auger screw.
The agitator drive – Controls the slow speed and counter-rotation of the agitator blade.
#4 Control System
This comprises the mechanisms allowing the operator to control the parameters of the machine. It includes buttons and a touch-screen interface.
Working Principle of an Auger Filler
Step 1. The Setting of Filling Parameters
The operator sets the filling parameters on the auger filler’s control system.
Step 2. Feeding Empty Containers
For manual and semi-a utomatic auger fillers, the operator manually feeds containers one by one to the machine and initiates each filling cycle via a finger or footswitch.
Automatic auger fillers will use a power conveyor system for queueing the containers to be filled.
Step 3. The Filling Process
â±The hopper consistently feeds the product to the auger screw to provide accurate fills.
â±Since auger powder fillers are volumetric filling machines, the machine will not weigh the products before each fill cycle. Auger fillers equipped with a weighing scale are exceptions.
â±The auger drive will rotate the auger screw under a constant speed as it feeds the powder product into the hopper’s funnel/tube.
â±The agitator blade, which is separately controlled, will rotate in the opposite direction to that of the auger screw. This will homogenize and de-aerate the product to break any material inconsistencies forming in non-free-flowing powder products.
â±The agitator blade will extend down the funnel’s throat to prevent cavitation and rat-holing. This guarantees consistent fills on the machine’s auger flights.
Do note that in auger powder filling machines, the auger’s lower parallel flights are designed with precision to produce precise volumes on each pitch. Assuming that the flights of the auger screw produce a perfect even pitch and rotate at a specific number of revolutions, ideally, there would be no deviation in the doses for each fill cycle.
For applications demanding lower tolerances on the dosage deviations of each fill cycle, you can employ a weigh-filling device on your auger fillers.
A vast majority of the time, packaging applications dictate the type of filling machine that is needed to properly handle the project. However, sometimes the machinery is chosen by supplier or end user based on preference. As is the case with the auger filler, some products can easily run on both fillers while other products are certainly better suited for an auger filler versus a cup fill or vice versa.
The cup filler is often times overlooked in favor of an auger filler. The general rule of thumb for a cup filler is that the product needs to be free flowing, granular and consistently shaped. Products like coffee beans, rice, kidney beans, sprinkles (jimmies), some hard candies, etc. are perfect for filling with a cup filler. Of course, some of those products would be great for an auger filler; however the products previously mentioned can be filled faster and often times more accurate with a cup filler.
Though auger fillers are popular for filling powder products, you can use them for other applications and products with the correct tooling. Various tooling exists to meet the different requirements of each packager. Below are some of the key parameters that will help you decide on the type of tooling and machine you will use for your application:
The type of product you are handling
Your required accuracy, speed, and fill quantity
Whatever your needs are, DAHEPACK can help you create can provide packaging machines perfectly tailored to your business' requirements.