A Leap Forward in Filling Technology – Advances in Servo Pump Filler Design
Servo-pump fillers from Hinds-Bock Corp., Bothell, Wash., are designed for high-speed depositing and spreading of products. The latest advances in technology make these machines suitable for a wide variety of flowable products such as icings, fruits, batters, sauces, dressings, jellies and condiments, to name a few. The servo controller makes changeover from one size container to another quick and easy without changeparts. Recipe storage allows for depositing multiple products and containers. The operator interface controls the speed and tunable fill parameters. Servo-filling machines also feature the latest in control technology, achieving the highest efficiency with the smallest possible footprint. Servo-drive technology provides high-speed depositing with custom tuning of filling parameters to control the appearance of each fill as well as velocity. By controlling velocity, maximum speeds are achievable while maintaining clean fills. Acceleration or deceleration controls splashing and spreading. Speeds are also enhanced through the use of a servo-driven traveling spout bridge, which moves the spouts with the continuously moving product or container.
Servo-pump fillers are designed with sanitation in mind. A major advance in sanitary pumps is clean-in-place (CIP) technology, which means they sanitize themselves. Not only are there fewer parts to clean, but the front cover plates are designed with hinges for rapid sanitation swab testing. To eliminate the pooling of water, all flat surfaces have been angled. Round tubing replaces square and all overlapping or recessed surfaces have been redesigned. Suckback features allow the machine to suck the product back, to stop dripping, for a clean deposit.
The latest technology in control systems allows the servo fillers to be linked via Ethernet to the plant’s control system. By constantly analyzing data, performance, uptime information, maintenance monitoring and fault alerts, the control system enables the user to achieve the highest filling efficiency and yield.
Servo-driven pump fillers are also designed for high-speed, accurate spreading. Custom spouts are used to match the spread width and length for each application. When paired with other design options, including diving spout bridge for bottom-up filling, conveyors, rotary unscrambler and accumulator tables, the highest yields are attainable for a wide variety of products and applications.
Servo-pump fillers for use over vertical form/fill/seal machines feature a long reach positive shutoff spout with an adjustable blowoff feature to maintain a clean seal zone and an accurate fill. They are also seamless when used over horizontal vacuum formers. In addition to positive shutoff spouts, many options are available for difficult applications, such as agitated hoppers, diving spouts, traveling spouts and heated or cooled machines.
Servo-pump fillers are also designed for depositing a wide variety of sweet goods, fruit, cheese or meat fillings onto dough and flatbreads and snack food and entrée processing. The applications are endless. Producers can apply savory meat fillings to pizzas, turnovers, meat pies, gyros and other snacks and ethnic products or accurately apply gravies and sauces on prepared fish, meat and chicken to create value-added entrées. They’re also suitable for creating a wide variety of desserts.
In addition, servo-pump fillers are widely accepted by frozen meal producers because they run faster, are quieter that piston machines, require a smaller footprint, attain a higher degree of accuracy, consume considerably less compressed air and are faster to clean. When teamed with a servo-traveling spout bridge, servo-pump fillers can attain the highest speeds.
Through the years, technological advancements in controls have driven the costs down and greatly increased the acceptance of programmable logic controllers (PLC), operator interfaces, plant-wide interfaces and servo motors. Through this technological leap, depositing and filling machines run faster and are easier to troubleshoot, sequence and control. This improvement has led to more sophisticated depositing and filling machine integrations than would have been impractical years ago. Servo-pump fillers truly have taken a leap forward in filling technology. Enter the 21st century.
Editor’s Note: Lance Aasness, the author of this article, is vice president of sales and marketing at Hinds-Bock Corp., Bothell, Wash. For more information, call 877-292-5715, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.hinds-bock.com.