New Flex Pack drum filler offers Jasol lift in productivity

An overall 30–40% gain in the speed of filling 10 and 25 litre containers, and about 50% gain in the speed of filling 5 litre containers is being reported by Jasol.

Jasol is a manufacturer of a wide range of liquid detergents and high performance cleaning agents. The long established company, with its plant based at Braeside, in outer Melbourne, is a subsidiary of George Weston Foods Ltd.

Jasol, was looking for a way of substantially improving productivity when drawing liquids from bulk tanks to fill the various size containers. The company turned to Flex Pack Services, which specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of drum fillers for industrial applications as well as the food industry. This gain in productivity has led to lower unit costs for Jasol, as well as faster processing of batches for outward despatch to customers.

Explaining the former filling process, Jasol’s Compliance Manager, Graeme Ansell, said the process with the superseded machine was based on a single outlet filler which had to be lowered into containers individually, held in place while the filling process occurred and then moved to the next container.

“Whilst it is not an unusual procedure, we were losing a lot of time, particularly when changing from one size container to the next … and, we could often have quite number of changes in container size over a day,” explained Graeme.

What Flex Pack developed for Jasol was a similar filler to the existing unit but it enabled a lift in efficiency in many areas of activity.

“First”, said Graeme, “our staff now put the filler head into the container and with the built-in spring balancer, the operator can take his hands off the filler head, while the filling process occurs. This enables the operator to cap the just filled containers and de-cap the next containers.”

The filler head has a long spout to enable a bottom fill, thus overcoming the problems created by foaming, as can be the case with detergents and some other chemical products. “When it comes time to change the head for the 10 and 25 litre containers it took about twenty to twenty five minutes with the old filler. But, with the new filler it is about five minutes.”

“But, with the 5 litre containers we did not have the luxury of changing the nozzle to a different size and therefore had to resort of the much slower process of gravity filling from the bulk tanks through a hose and nozzle system. Now, with the new Flex Pack unit we are far better off as we can change the nozzle and do so quickly,” explained Graeme.

The new filler system is mounted on wheels so it can be easily and quickly moved from the outlet of one bulk tank to the outlet of another. Working with liquids, such as foaming detergents, can present a requirement for regular maintenance – for example the cleaning of filters, as they can start to clog up.

“Dismantling our old unit for a thorough clean could take nearly four hours, whereas the new unit only requires around half an hour. The pump on the old unit could not handle the more difficult liquid products. Flex Pack’s replacement unit has been designed to handle both the aggressive liquids as well as those with particulates”, said Graeme.

The metering out of fixed volumes of detergent is controlled by a touch pad and the unit is also more accurate. A new magnetic flow meter with its smooth bore and Teflon internals replaces the old positive displacement meter.

Accuracy is better than 0.5% which represents greater accuracy than before and thus eliminating underfills and spills from overfills. Another advantage Jasol are reporting with the new filler is an improvement with O.H. & S. matters. This particularly applies to the 25 litre containers.

“With the old filler, we would fill the containers and the operator would then lift them onto the pallet, whereas now there is no need for any lifting. The operator places sixteen empty twenty five litre containers on the pallet and can then fill each of them because of the way the machine is engineered with its long reach swivel arm. Then, a second layer of empty containers can be placed on the same pallet for filling. Once that layer of twenty five litre containers is completed the forklift can then remove the pallet of thirty two x twenty five litre packs.”

“We have taken a good step forward. Everyone on the floor here is pleased with this filler … and so are the maintenance people,” concluded Graeme.

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