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For bottle fillers, what's the difference between a semi-automatic and automatic line?

We are negotiating new distribution in 5 states so we need to expand from a manual gravity filler to something with more capacity. What are the economics of both?


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Pete Arguile from Liquid Solutions

Hi.  Pretty simple, I think: 
Semi-automatic means you have to place bottles on the machine, and remove them when the rinsing, filling, capping or labelling job is done ( i.e. 4 separate machines)
Automatic means you place bottles on an in-feed conveyer, then an operation, or sometimes more than one ( e.g. monobloc machine) is completed without further handling of bottles.
Economics: you could compare cost of the labor  versus the cost of the machine ( typically, amortise that cost over 10 years)

Oct 22, 2013

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Jim Slamon from MRM Elgin - Cozzoli Machine Company

No set industry rules and many shades of grey exist between claims of Semi Auto and Automatic. For us a Semi-Automatic machine has an operator counting containers in and operating a foot switch to initiate a timed filling sequence. Automatic filling machines don't need that operator and are largely self-controlling once started with operators only occupied with occasional QC checks and providing consumables such as labels and caps.
PLCs and Custom programming are expensive, so budget minded customers can buy pretty much the same filler equipped with very simple controls as a Semi-Auto. It just needs more operator attention.
Automatic Machines can be inline fillers equipped with a sensor that counts bottles before lowering a nozzle bar to new generations of fillers equipped with powerful modern PLCs. Capable of controlling an entire high seed packaging line these 'Automatic' machines can display remote bulk tank levels, operate product pumps and valves, speed changeovers with mechanized adjustments, offer troubleshooting and maintenance checklists (with access to resource drawings and photos) They can alarm when the label roll diameter gets too small or the unscrmbler's bulk container level gets low and even create Ethernet production report packages for management.
Automation's up-front cost saves operator labor over time.

Jun 24, 2014

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