There are three types of powder fillers that are commonly used in the packaging industry: auger fillers, cup fillers, and net weight fillers. Each of these powder filling machines has its own strengths and weaknesses when handling various products. These products include granules aside from powders.
While these common types of powder fillers overlap in a lot of areas, there are specific products that are appropriate to run on each machine. Want to know more? Keep on reading as we will elaborate more on the differences between auger fillers, cup fillers, and net weight fillers in today’s discussion.
#1 Auger Filling Machines
Auger filler machines are the best choices for almost all fine powder products. They are also used for products that have consistent particulates like cake mixes, flour, and talcum powders.
Working Principle of Auger Powder Fillers
Auger dispensing and powder-filling machines consist of the following main components to help in the filling process:
- A primary hopper
- A stirring bar that keeps the auger full
- An auger fitted inside a cylinder
The primary hopper feeds the auger consistently which helps auger fillers provide accurate fills. Also, since auger powder filling machines are volumetric fillers, the products are not weighed prior to the filling process. Of course, it is an exception when auger fillers are installed with a scale.
Advantages of Auger Fillers
- They operate at fast speeds and are normally twice faster compared to net weight fillers with single filling heads.
- They produce a dust-free operation even when running very fine powder products.
- They provide very economical packaging solutions.
- They can fill a wide range of filling capacities without any changeover of parts.
- They are easy to install in a wide range of packaging machines such as form, fill, and seal machines or can/bottle packaging machines.
Disadvantages of Auger Fillers
- They do not accurately handle powders with irregular densities and shapes.
- There is a possibility that they can damage powders that cannot hold out against compression.
- They handle products harshly.
#2 Cup Fillers/Pocket Fillers
Cup filling machines also dispense powder products into containers via volumetric filling just like the auger fillers but with a different working principle. They work well when handling free-flowing products like coarse powders, nuts, and granules and can be in rotary or reciprocating styles. Moreover, cup filling machines are ideal choices for canning beans, peas, corn, and other related products.
Working Principle of Cup Powder Fillers
Gravity is used to feed product to a measuring cup from a hopper situated above it. Wipers level the cup by removing excess products from it. When the product already has the proper measurement, the cup dispenses it into the waiting container. Unlike auger fillers and net weight fillers, you can achieve very high speeds in cup fillers.
Advantages of Cup Fillers
- They are inexpensive compared to other powder filling systems.
- They can virtually run any product that is free-flowing but they are not suitable for fine powder products.
- They are capable of filling speeds that can reach up to hundreds per minute.
- They have simple designs allowing for fewer maintenance activities.
Disadvantages of Cup Fillers
- They have very limited filling ranges without any changeover of parts.
- They cannot handle products that aren’t that free-flowing.
- They are not suitable for irregular densities and shapes.
#3 Net-Weight Fillers
While auger and cup fillers fill products volumetrically, net weight fillers are different. They are the only types of machines that actually weigh the products before dispensing them into the containers. This process reduces the need for additional check weighers on your packaging line.
Working Principle of Net-Weight Powder Fillers
Net-weight powder fillers move the products from the machine’s hopper through vibratory belts or trays depending on what type of product you are handling. The product then flows down inside a bucket that is mounted to a load cell. The rate of the feeding system slows down as the product weight inside the bucket draws closer to a pre-set weight.
The “dribble” feeding process turns off when the product reaches your target weight. Lastly, the powder dispensing component dumps the contents and is directed to the containers.
Advantages of Net Weight Fillers
- They produce very accurate weights for the fills.
- They apply little compression to the products. Thus, handling them gently.
- They can handle irregular weights, shapes, and sizes.
- They can be installed with multiple load cells to achieve more precise weights for products with irregular weights and sizes.
Disadvantages of Net Weight Fillers
- They are relatively slower than cup fillers and augers.
- They get a bit messy when handling very fine powder products such as powdered milk, flour, and talcs.
The above-mentioned types of powder fillers are just the common ones you will find in every industry. If you want to know more about the other types of powder filling machines, you can read more here.
Also, when choosing a tin can powder filling machine for your application, you should always consider your powder product’s unique characteristics. Different powder fillers are needed for different types of powders as we have discussed in this article. Hopefully, you were able to get an idea of what type of powder filling machine is best suited for your application in our discussion.