Auger Fillers – An Overview

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Auger Fillers – An Overview

Most products, especially in the FMCG industry, have to be packaged before they leave the factory. Packaging is not just about giving the product an attractive container. Every package must contain the right quantity of the product. Filling machines such as auger fillers are meant to help package products quickly and accurately.

Auger fillers are machines which fill the right amount of a product into its container. The product is stored in a vessel called the hopper and in each cycle, the filler dispenses a predetermined amount of the product into the package. The package, a bottle for example, can be held in hand for manual filling or can be queued up for filling using a conveyor system for automated filling.

An auger is a drill in the shape of a screw for drilling accurate holes in materials. The word is also used for a screw shaped material transporter that can move materials forward as it rotates. An auger filler dispenses materials using an auger screw, hence the name.

Products That Can Be Filled With Auger Fillers

Auger fillers can be used for filling containers with liquid, semi solid, powdery and granular materials. Products such as, sugar, salt, detergent, spices, coffee, tea, doughs, food items or cosmetics in cream or powder form, ready to eat foods like stews and liquids can be easily filled with these machines. With the right configuration, the machines are capable of handling many different types of products: free flowing, non-free flowing, liquid, paste and processed foods.

Auger fillers are not suitable for some materials due to the nature of the material and the way the machine works. Some materials like tobacco can get tangled around the auger and some other delicate products like raw fruit, vegetables and cornflakes can get crushed during filling.

Important Components

An auger filling system has five main sub-systems:

1. Drive assembly: This includes the motor, transmission and start / stop mechanisms for accurate filling. Machines with clutch and brake or servo systems are available.

2. Hopper: This is the vessel which holds the material that is being packed. The material is supplied to the tooling from the hopper.

3. Tooling: Tooling consists of those systems that can be changed to suit the requirements. Tooling depends on the type of material being filled and the application. Usually, it consists of the auger, agitator(s), funnel and other filling components.

4. Support structure: This is the structure on which the whole system stands.

5. Controls: Mechanisms which allow the operator to control the machine.

Types Of Tooling

Many different types of tooling can be used with auger machines to get the desired results and to suit the type of material being used.

1. Self feed: Suitable for thick pastes and fine powders that can be compressed. Examples: flour, cornstarch, baking mixes, protein powders, cocoa, glazing compound, etc.

2. Straight feed: This is suitable for flaky or granular products that cannot be compressed and are not free flowing. Examples: psyllium husk, oregano, instant coffee, etc.

3. Free flow: This tooling is for hard granular products that flow easily. Examples: coffee beans, salt, beads, sugar, sand, etc.

4. Double knife tooling: This tooling can be used for soft processed foods. Examples: salads, stews, cooked rice, etc.

5. Liquid tooling: Suitable for liquids and creamy materials. Examples: oil, honey, lotions, creamy cosmetics, etc.

With the right tooling, auger fillers can be used for a wide variety of products and applications. There are many different models to suit different requirements. The type of material to be filled, fill quantity and the speed and accuracy required are some of the major parameters that decide the type of machine to be used for a particular application.