Filling machines are packaging equipment designed to fill packages in advance of their shipment. They are usually located at or near the end of a production line and represent the last phase of a product's processing before it is shipped and sold to customers. Filling machines can be used to package industrial ingredients as well as commercial and consumer products.
Every industrial operation that produces or involves the use of large quantities of small parts must find an efficient way to manage those materials. This is true at the outset of an operation that will use small materials as ingredients in a product as well as in operations that produce large quantities of small products. In plastics manufacturing, for example, plastic manufacturing companies require access to large quantities of pelletized plastic, which they then use to create molded, extruded or otherwise thermoformed plastic products. Those pelletized plastics are produced by plastic suppliers and then loaded into containers by filling machines. Filling machines can also be used to distribute small industrial products such as screws, nuts and bolts into the packages in which they will be shipped or sold. The use of such automated packaging equipment improves output capacity and reduces labor costs substantially.
Filling machines can be used to place products in bottles, bags, cans, jars and many other kinds of containers and packages. Filling machines can be used to distribute liquids and solids; they can be designed in various ways to accommodate for different materials and products. Liquids and solids require different kinds of designs, as do liquids of varying viscosities. For example, auger machines usually fill containers with dry, fine-grained products, such as coffee, flour, sugar and dried milk, but such machines would not be used to fill bottles with ink. Filling machines are typically part of an assembly line of packaging machines. They often work in conjunction with a conveyer belt that moves product to capping, sealing and labeling machines as well as other packaging systems. Companies that invest in filling machines instead of a manual packaging workforce accumulate considerable savings because of reduced labor costs and higher output capacity. For these reasons, filling machines are very popular throughout industry and are in some sectors more common than manual laborers.