High-Speed Tube Fillers

Automatic tube-filling systems help pharmaceutical packagers generate thousands of tubes per day.

With millions of tubes used in the pharmaceutical and medical markets each year, tube fillers are charged with quite a task. They must be able to process myriad products ranging from oral-care solutions to dermatological creams at speeds as high as 400 units per minute. In addition to operating quickly, the fillers must be able to handle intricately shaped and decorated metal, plastic, or laminate tubes.

Today's fillers are often supplied with programmable logic controls, hoppers, interactive displays, and automatic sealers. Many have systems that stop filling when encountering a problematic tube.

A tube filler and sealer can process up to 110 metal tubes per minute or up to 92 per minute using a hot-air tube operation. The Kx 1100 can be changed over without tools in fewer than 10 minutes and features an open design for easy cleaning. Available closing systems include hot-air, hot-jaw, induction, and dual closing heads as well as mechanisms for metal tubes. Kalish, a member of DT Industries Packaging Group, Kirkland, Quebec, Canada.

A tube filler and sealer uses mechanically driven piston pumps and special filling nozzles designed to handle a wide range of products including liquids, creams, and semiviscous pastes. Model T-60 incorporates an intermittent-motion cam-driven filler and sealer, a single-station rotary indexing table, and PLC. Standard features include automatic tube loading from a cassette, print registration, bottom-up filling, and variable speed ac drive. Options include a heated hopper, a product mixer, and a hot-air sealer. Capable of handling up to 60 pieces per minute, the unit can accommodate tubes up to 2 in. diam and 10 in. long. Prodo-Pak Corp., Garfield, NJ.

An automatic tube filler and sealer can handle a variety of tubes with diameters ranging from 10 to 50 mm and lengths from 50 to 250 mm. The Colibri 1001 can achieve speeds up to 80 metal tubes per minute and 70 polyethylene or laminated tubes per minute. It can dispense doses ranging from 3 to 390 ml. Constructed of heavy stainless steel, the system keeps mechanical parts separate from operator work areas. Electrical and safety systems are handled by a PLC, and an interactive display of machine functions and alarms can be controlled on-line. Marchesini Packaging, West Caldwell, NJ.

A tube filler can change over from processing laminate to metal tubes with the push of a button. Model K 360 can output up to 6400 pieces per hour and features a blow-out station, gas injection, and an optional tube feed magazine. It can fold, press, emboss, and eject tubes. Modular Packaging Systems Inc., Pine Brook, NJ.

A tube filler featuring both manual and automatic operation can handle a wide range of tube compositions and fills. Model C135 can output as many as 70 tubes per minute using a three-way, mechanically controlled dosing pump. Also available is the C130 for outputs up to 60 tubes per minute. The firm maintains fully staffed sales, service, and parts departments. MG America, Fairfield, NJ.

An automatic linear tube filler and sealer for metal, plastic, and laminate tubes can process up to 24,000 tubes per hour. Constructed of durable aluminum and stainless steel, Model HTF achieves a cycle time of 2.2 seconds per step. Slower than standard rotary units, this fill and seal time reduces stress on mechanical parts, diminishing the need for spare parts and servicing. To achieve an output of 100 to 400 tubes per minute, the linear system can be extended from 4 to 15 nozzles. Metal tune closure systems are available. PackDevCo. Inc., Linden, NJ.

A low- to medium-speed tube filler can handle metal, plastic, or laminate tubes at speeds up to 60 units per minute. The TFS 10 has a small footprint and can be changed over quickly. It can accurately fill doses as small as 0.5 ml. The firm's spare parts department can fill orders in 4–6 weeks from receipt of samples. IWK Packaging Machinery Inc., Fairfield, NJ.

A tube-sealing and -filling system can hold four to six tubes and can fill one set while sealing the other. The CGMmatic T-2 can process creams, pastes, and liquids; typical sealing cycles take approximately 15 seconds. Use of an impulse sealer eliminates any risk of overheating the tubes. Packworld USA, Nazareth, PA.

An automatic tube filling line can process up to 70 tubes per minute. Designed for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, the RT-70 features safety guards, simple size changeovers, and sanitary options. Wetted parts can be disassembled without the use of tools. ProSys, Div. of Reagent Chemical & Research Inc., Webb City, MO.

A tube-filling and -closing machine is designed for R&D, pilot plants, entry-level, and medium-speed production requirements. The Silver 50 series has a modular design that allows users to purchase a handfed machine capable of producing 10 to 30 tubes per minute or an automatically fed version with automatic tube registration that can produce up to 50 tubes per minute. Tube-closing and -sealing devices are available for collapsible metal, plastic, and laminate tubes. Romaco Inc., Morris Plains, NJ.

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