What are gravity vs. overflow vs. pump liquid fillers?

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7 answers


Gravity fillers are a type of overflow fillers.  Overflow fillers also come in vacuum and pressure filling formats.  All three of these formats may use a pump to feed the supply tank.
Pump liquid fillers have individual pumps for each filling head on the filler.  The pumps can be a variety of different styles and have different capacities.
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Gravity and Overflow fillers fill bottles to a cosmetic level- if stacked on a store shelf each bottle will appear to have the same fill level. Variance between container molds may cause some 'full' bottles to weigh more or less than others. Overflow fillers use a co-axial nozzle and are often used with inexpensive products. They are very effective for foaming (i.e. glass cleaner) products where foam can be removed from the container increasing fill speed. Available as in-line and (higher speed) rotary formats, many low viscosity products  are economically filled with these lower cost machines- they are also easy to Flush In Place (FIP). Finally Glass and hard plastic bottles can be vacuum filled, where product (honey/ketchup/perfume) is pulled into the jar to a cosmetic level. 
Pump fillers are ‘volumetric’: they fill a cubic volume of product. This volume depends on piston stroke or rotary positive displacement pump revolutions. This type filler is used with higher cost products. Quality volumetric fillers for pharmaceuticals (for instance) can be incredibly accurate. Higher cost, these fillers are more versatile over a range of products. Often used for shampoos and HBA creams, foods such as mustard, horse-radish or chunky salsa, also chemicals and paint.
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Gravity Filler - You pump or put your product into a hopper above the filling nozzles. When the bottles are positioned beneth the fill nozzles and the signal is sent for the valve to open, the valves opens, and the product flows into the bottle/container. when ir reaches the desired/pre-set fill volume the valve shuts off.
The normal air pressure that we feel on our bodies is what pushes the product out.
The thinner the product the faster it flows.
The thicker the product (Like Honey) the slower it flows.

Over folw:
Same principal is involved for the gravity, However on the over flow system, when the product fills the container, there is a moment when the head (sucks back any over flow product) and pumps it back to the holding tank above the fill nozzle height.

Pump filler:
Can be used in many diferent variations. Pump is used mostly for heavy viscus products. Used mostly for speed on heavy products.

Pressure Filler:
The holding tank obove the fill nozzles is presurerised at all times.
The same principal is used as the gravity, however the tank is pressurised and when the valves open to the nozzle the product is pushed with a greater force than gravity. These are used for speed.
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Gravity filler uses  gravity to flow product into containers
Overflow fillers uses a pump typically.

An overflow filler equipped with a pump can fill heaver liquids at a faster rate.
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It depends on what kind of nozzle you are using on a gravity filler, you can use a nozzle that does not seal the top of the container and has a one way flow connected to a solenoid valve that opens for a set amount of time then closes or you can use a gravity pressure overflow type nozzle that needs to be inserted into the container and seals the top of the bottle and will fill until the liquid reaches the  height that the nozzle was inserted into the container and then the product will overflow and come out the overflow hose (time based fill, must overflow to get correct fill levels) You can use a gravity pressure overflow nozzle with gravity or pressure and this type of fill will provide what is considered a cosmetic fill as the fill levels will look the same. Pump type fillers are typically  one way flow and give you a fill level that is determined by how many revolutions the pump turns and you require one pump for each filling station. Pump fillers like piston filers are very accurate and are very good thick or chunky products but may not be suitable for certain types of containers (glass) because the glass may vary internally and you may see a big discrepancy in the fill levels. Gravity/overflow fillers are generally lower cost then pump or piston fillers and are great for low viscosity products and can be used to fill many different size containers.
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Good answers, but to be more concise: 
Gravity and Pressure fillers are for the most part Overflow style fillers utilizing mechanical valves with direct filling and overflow when level is achieved in the container.  Gravity Fillers will utilize head pressure from an overhead tank , whereas Pressure fillers use a pressurized feed to deliver product to the nozzles. 
There are variant on the pressure/gravity fillers which include timed nozzles or level sensing technology( Pneumatic Scale - Ask Kim Below).
Pump style fillers utilize a positive displacement pump or metering system to deliver contents to the container. These can be positive displacement such as a Versafiller/ or Pacific type machine , or utilize individual pumps to maintain volumetric fill, these are popular with customers running expensive products or multiple sized viscous products. 
Like any purchase, it is best to do the homework and settle on a supplier you can trust - as always : BUY RIGHT!
[email address] 
ERIC Taubman
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A pressure overflow filler uses a fill to a level principle for bottles or containers.  Regardless of the interior volume of the bottle, the overflow filler will provide a cosmetic fill, allowing all bottles to display the same fill level and adding aesthetic value to clear or transparent bottles when on the shelf.  Overflow machines use a special nozzle that allows product to "overflow" back into a recirculation tank once the liquid reaches the specified level.  Gravity overflow fillers work on the same principle, but instead of pressure from a pump, the gravity overflow filler relies on pressure from the tank.

Gravity fillers are generally time driven volumetric machines.  In general terms, nozzles will open for a set amount of time, releasing product.  Usually individual times can be set for each nozzle, or the same time can be used for all nozzles.  Gravity fillers, as the name suggests, rely on the force of gravity to fill the bottles, though pressure gravity fillers also exist.  Pressure gravity fillers use a pressure tank and can handle more viscous products than a regular gravity filler. 

Pump filling machines also fill based on volume.  Each fill head, or nozzle, will require its own pump.  These machines may also fill based on time (how long the pump runs) or pulse (for example, a full or half turn of a gear on a gear pump). Different nozzle types can be used on the pump fillers to handle different products, and of the three listed, the pump filler would normally best handle thicker, or more viscous products, given the correct pump is chosen.
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