Can we fill different formulations/products on the same cartridge filling machine?
Can we fill different formulations/products on the same cartridge-filling machine?
There are instances when formulations/product variants are similar enough to be able to purge one through with the next – and if this is possible, it is the preferable option – because it avoids taking apart and cleaning the equipment. However, there are a few things that can get in the way of this option:
- Chemical compatibility: if there is incompatibility between formulation/product variants this completely removes the ‘purging one through with the next’ option.
- Viscosity: vasty differing viscosities between formulation/product variants can cause problems when trying to purge one product through with the next – a thicker product will effectively push through a thinner product, but a significantly thinner product will take the path of least resistance and tunnel it’s way through the center of a thicker product.
- Quality standards; while it is acceptable for most markets to purge one product through with the next (so long as a sufficient amount of material is purged to insure a complete ejection of the prior batch), with some industries (notably aerospace) the requirements for batch tractability may rule out the possibility the purge one batch through with the next.
So, whilst purging one formulation/product variant through with the next is a very effective way to fill different formulation variants (which there are often many of, as manufacturers continually develop different variants to better suit customer’s specific demands), there are sometimes factors that take away the option, like those mentioned above.
Where formulation/product variants cannot be purged one through with the next, and the volumes of each variant to be filled do not justify their own dedicated equipment, it is advisable that the filling equipment specified is quick and easy to disassemble, clean, and reassemble.