Undeniably, K-cup filling machines have revolutionized how foods or beverages are served. This is evident with how the demand for coffee has fluctuated by around 34 percent in 2014 when K-cups were introduced. This is why K-cup filling machine sells hot.
What is a K-cup filling machine?
A K-cup filling machine is a machine used in packaging food, beverage, and any other product. The products are to be filled into a K-cup, thus the name K-cup filling machine. A k-cup, on the other hand, is a single serve coffee pod, the latest version of its kind.
Why is a K-cup filling machine important?
K-cup filling machines are important due to the following reasons:
Filling and packaging of the products are so much easier and faster. Besides, filling and packaging can be done simultaneously. A single k-cup filling machine can top up around 900 cups per hour.
2. It is cost-effective.
While it may be true that purchasing a K-cup filling machine is quite expensive, the return of investment is definitely higher. This is because the machine will be of use not just for months, but for years. Instead of hiring people to do the job manually, utilizing a K-cup filling machine is more cost-effective. Imagine the amount of money that will be spent on labor compared to the price of a K-cup filling machine. It does not only save time but it saves money as well.
3. It can help generate more income.
A k-cup filling machine can also generate higher income when used in business. This is possible as the machine works so much faster, thus the production is higher. This is especially true during peaks season where the demand is very high. The more k-cup is filled, the higher is the income.
How does a K-cup filling machine works?
A K-cup filling machine has six stations in order to fill a K-cup. These stations have their own functions:
At the cup-placement station, the K-cups are placed in their designated stack. Once the K-cup filling machine is turned on, the K-cups will be placed on the cup ring which is located on the rotary type table.
2. Filling Station
At the filling station, the K-cup will be filled with the material which is correctly measured for the required quantity in each cup. This is possible with the help of a spool valve. The materials are stored in a hopper which is placed at the top of the spool valve. Furthermore, the position of a cup is detected by sensors. If the cup is not detected, then no material will be placed as well. The filling process is automatic and the accuracy is around 0.5 – 1%. Usually, a K-cup filling machine can contain up to 30 liters of materials.
3. Lid Placement Station
Once the K-cups are filled, they will be then transferred into the rotary turret going to the lid placement station. The lids are taken by vacuum cup from the magazine. After which, the lid will be gently placed in the cup. Optionally, the lid can also be placed and snapped in the ready cup.
4. Sealing Station
After placing the lid of the K-cup, it will be then sealed using heat sealing or hot punch. This process is very quick and simple.
5. Data Printing Station
Right after sealing the lid of the K-cup, it will then be printed with on either at the top of the lid or at the bottom part of the cup. Usually, printing is done using heat. The details that are usually printed in a K-cup includes the manufacturing date, batch number, and expiry date.
6. Discharge Station
The sixth and the last station in the process of filling and sealing a K-cup is the discharge station. In this station, the sealed and printed K-cups will be discharged into a conveyor belt which usually measures 1 meter long for collection. Finally, the filled k-cups will be packed into cartons, ready to be delivered.
Types of K-Cup Filling Machine
Solid Filling Machine
Typically, solid filling machines are used in filling k-cups with powder or grain products such as milk powder, spices, instant cocoa, and chemical products.
Solid filling machines are classified into different types.
- A Telescopic Pocket Filler is most suitable for K-cups which will contain solid products such as peas, ravioli, lentils, pasta, corn, dried pasta, dried meat and so much more.
- Vibrating Cone Fillers are specially made for filing K-cups with difficult thread-like solid products such as stripped vegetables, green beans, and the like.
- A Semi-telescopic filler can either have vibrating bushings or not. This solid K-cup filler is suitable for products such as peas, tomatoes, beans, cucumber, corn, lentils, and the like.
- A multi filler, on the other hand, is for different types of medium-sized or small solid products.
- A spice dispenser is used in filling products such as dried or granular vegetable and powdered or dried spices into a K-cup.
The process of filling is the same regardless of what solid product is being filled in a K-cup machine.
In the process of filling the K-cup with a solid product, the K-cup is carried by a conveyor belt towards the feeding screw at a set speed. The feeding screw and the inlet star are synchronized in order for the K-cups to reach the filling machine. A telescope directs the solid product and determines the quantity of the product which is to be filled to the K-cup as well. In the filling process, the solid products are settled inside the K-cup through pneumatic vibrators. Once filled, the K-cups will leave and will proceed to other production processes.
Liquid Filling Machine
Liquid filling machines can either be manual or automatic. An automatic liquid K-cup filling machine move the liquid products from a holding tank into the K-cup without an operator for each fill cycle.
Advantages of using an automatic liquid K-cup machine includes consistent and reliable fills, speed, versatility, ease of use, and growth potential. The consistency and reliability of using a filling machine is something that a human can’t exactly do.
On the other hand, manual liquid K-cup machines are hand operated. These machines don’t need a power source, thus they are suitable for environments where electricity isn’t available or power outage is very common. Ideally, they are used in small-scale productions or in laboratories as it offers faster outcome and higher accuracy compared with using the bare hand.
Cream Filling Machine
This machine doesn’t exactly fill K-cups with cream alone, but to be more general, it fills K-cups with higher viscosity fluids such as Honey, Cheese, Liquid Chocolate, Jam, Jelly, Sauce, Ointment, Cream, Lotions, Sun Screen, Shampoo, Cake Batter, and so much more. Cream filling machines are simpler and have a reasonable structure, higher precision, and of course, it is more convenient too.
What is K Cup Filling Machines Consist of?
K-cup filling machines have many parts in order to function:
The accessories of a K-cup filling machine includes Hopper, Hopper cover, Cutoff, Spinner Blade, Spinner plate, Funnel adapter, and slow speed agitator blade.
b. Collector Funnels
Generally, liquid materials need a different or separate collector funnel assembly. The collector funnel assembly is made up of clamp ring, collector funnel cover, and a collector funnel.
When the products to be filled in the K-cup is either liquid, free-flowing or non-free flowing, dripping will always occur even after the K-cups are filled. The device – cutoff is to prevent the product from dripping. It has the capacity to lessen dust and product waste at the same time. The type of cutoff that a K-cup filling machine has depends on the type and characteristics of the product as well as the flow and the length the product has to drop inside the K-cup.
Auger flight is the spiral screw that is wrapped around the solid shaft. The auger flight can either be allowed, or solid and is welded to a tube, solid bar, or pipe. Different bar types (round, beveled, or flat) may be used depending on product flow. Furthermore, flighting is also used in the configuration of different types.
Generally, free-flowing products and K-cup filling machines with straight augers make use of straight funnels. More often than not, a collector funnel is also used in different ways or applications. When the product which is to be filled in the K-cup is non-free flowing, a lip funnel with a self-feeding auger is used so that the product will be pushed out of the hopper.
f. Dual Agitator Blade
An AMS filler, with the help of a shaft, pump rotor, U-joint, pump housing and stator, can fill K-cups with paste products or viscous liquids. Paste products include gels, creams, shampoos, and so much more.
g. Self Feeding Augers
If in case non-free flowing powders are to be filled in a k-cup, a self-feeding auger is used. Commonly, self-feeding augers are used alongside with a lip funnel and a high or low-speed agitator blade.
h. Straight Augers
Free flowing powders are the most common products wherein straight augers are used. Straight augers are typically used with a straight funnel, spinner plates, collector funnels, and either a high or low-speed agitator blades.
What Other Features A K-Cup Filling Machine Can Offer?
Other than filling and packaging, typical K-cup filling machine has the following features:
- Container transfer is possible with the use of maintenance and backlash free carrier plates which is pushed by pneumatic cylinders
- Dropping system and vertical empty capsule storage which helps save time and lessens the labor as well
- High and stable filing accuracy as it has servo motor driven volumetric augers
- Fast and easy cleaning, it cleans in as fast as five minutes
- If the machine is automatic, it can detect whether cups, lids, or coffee is missing in as much as it can also find out if the temperature and air pressure is right enough or if the cups are positioned correctly or not.
- The sealing temperature is adjustable. It also ensures that the K-cup and the lids are tightly sealed to get here to avoid spilling.
K-Cup Filling Machine Brands and Manufacturers
1. AFPAK CO., LTD
AFPAK CO., LTD is the manufacturer of AF-H1 K Cup filling machine which is very much known due to its size and due to its ability to fill 25 to 30 cups per minute or it can fill up to 1800 K cups per hour.
The standards functions of the AF – H1 K cup filling machine includes emptying the K cups feeding, detection of K cups (if no K cup is detected, then it won’t fill), filling of K cups, putting the leads, stopping when there is no lid on the K cup, sealing, and so much more. It is suitable for a wide range of products including soluble powders, coffee, tea, and the rest.
Romiter Group, a leading designer and a manufacturer of coffee capsule filling sealing machinery, is behind the High-Speed K cups Coffee Capsules Filling Sealing Machine. The entire frame of the machine is stainless steel. It has a touch screen feature which serves as the controller of the machine. It also automatically drops an empty K cup in as much as it automatically detects whether the K cup is properly placed in the machine or not. The filter can either be inserted by hand or by the machine and it auto suck lids. It also seals the lid twice.
3. iFilll cup
iFill cup is the company behind iFill800 Automatic Filling Machine which can fill up to 800 pods per hour. The machine is very easy to use once plugged into a 110V outlet. It is also known as the only desktop K cup filling machine as of today. Aside from this, it is also known as the quietest and most energy-efficient machine that is existing. It can fit almost anywhere due to its size in as much as it makes use of precision servo motors which control every single movement of the machine. It also does not need air compressor or remodeling/plumbing facility in order to work.
Technopac is the manufacturer of Fully Automatic Rotary Type Cup Filling & Sealing Packaging Machine. The machine can fill around 700 – 750 K cups per hour and can contain 50 and 200 ml per filling. The sealing film that it makes use is aluminum foil. The dimensions of the machine are 2250 x 1500 x 1800 mm and weigh around 350 kg. Its hopper capacity is 20 liters while its filing accuracy is +/- 1.0 %.
Its features include automatic cup filling and cup sealing mechanism. The sealing material can also be changed depending on what you want. The machine is stainless steel and is controlled by a PLC. If in case no cup is detected, the machine won’t fill or seal. The machine also has an Anodized Heating die with individual digital temperature control.
5. Shanghai Atop Machinery Commercial Co., Ltd.
Shanghai Atop Machinery Commercial Co., Ltd. is the company behind the Nitrogen flushing K cup filling machine. The machine weighs 100 kg and its dimensions are 2200X800X1600MM. It can fill up to 4800 K cups per hour. Aside from filling the K cups, it can also seal and print the K cups. The machine is CE ISO certified and it can be customized, too.
How Much Does A K-Cup Filling Machine Cost
Generally speaking, the price of K cup filling machines varies depending on the type and brand the filling machine. A smaller K cup machine is cheaper. It only costs around $1000 – $5000. Machines that cost like these are the so-called desktop types and can fill fewer K cups which means that the production is lesser. These machine types are usually the ones that are found in homes, offices, and convenient stores.
On the other hand, medium-sized K cup filling machines cost around $15,000 – $50,000. These machines are typically used in small-scale businesses.
Lastly, Big K cup filling machines cost around $80,000 – $250,000 and are used for big time companies who need fast production. These companies are usually the ones that supply grocery stores and other food stores. These machines can fill thousands of K cups every day which means that production is so much faster.
Where to Buy?
K cup filling machines can be bought online and in physical stores. Keep in mind that buying online and on physical stores, both have their upsides and downsides.
Buying online gives you a lot of choices when it comes to the brands and prices without spending on looking at what is the best K cup machine but it also does not guarantee that you will exactly get what you ordered.
There are always risks when buying online. For example, you can’t check out or inspect the product yourself whether if it is functioning or not, if there are dents, or if the quality of the materials passes your standards or not. This makes it important that you only buy from reliable sellers when buying online. It might also be more expensive if you are shopping outside the country and you have to cover for the shipping fee.
On the other hand, buying from physical stores is more time consuming and expensive considering that you have to go from one store to another in order to compare different K cup filling machines. Moreover, physical stores who sell big K cup filling machines are hard to find. What is good about buying on a physical store is that you can closely inspect if the machine you are buying is good and you can check out if that is the machine that you want to have or not.
You are ensured that you are purchasing a K cup filling machine without worrying that something is wrong with it or there might be damages in it since you have checked the machine yourself.
Things to Consider When Buying a K Cup Filling Machine
Buying a K cup filling machine is not easy considering that there are a lot of things that should be considered when buying one. Of course, you have to think of everything so that you won’t regret in the end. Here are some of the things that should be considered when buying a K cup filling machine.
When buying a K cup filling machine, you should check out how much space is allocated for the machine. This will help you determine how big or small the machine you’re going to buy. Knowing the exact size of the space you have and the K cup filling machine is essential to ensure that the machine is fitted with space that you have.
There are K cup filling machines that are small enough to fit in the desk as there are also K cup filling machines that are big enough to fit in a room which makes it important to find out which size is the best for you or your business.
2. Ease of Use
K cup filling machines range from a simple to a complicated or complex one. A basic K cup simple machine offers a little less when it comes to the technology that is used which means that it is easier to operate. Most of these machines work by just simply loading the K cups into the machine, pressing some buttons, and the machine fills the K cup.
On the other hand, complicated or complex K cup filling machines need more input before the K cups are filled. They are equipped with more technology which makes operating them somewhat hard not unless you are a pro in handling K cup filling machines. It is more complicated in a way that cup size and temperature should be chosen, and so much more. There are also machines like these that will even need the altitude of the place where you are staying.
3. Ease of Cleaning
Just like anything else, K cup filling machines are also prone to dirt and bacteria. Regularly cleaning the machine with white vinegar eliminates the risk. Choosing a machine which makes the work way easier is a big thing most especially when you are a busy person. Such machines are the ones with removable water containers. Machines that do not have removable water containers are harder to clean which makes it more time consuming and labor intensive as well.
There are K cup filling machines with touchscreen controls in as much as there are K cup filling machines that are controlled through buttons or dials. Advanced K cup machines are equipped with clocks, timers, altitude settings, and language settings. Some of these machines can even scan the K-cup and set the machine for that specific hot beverage since they have computer scanners with them.
The capacity of the K cup filling machine is a very important thing to consider because, in the first place, this will determine whether the machine is the one you need or not. There are machines which can fill a large number of K cups a day in as much as there is a machine which can fill a lesser number of K cups a day. This means that choosing the capacity of the machine all depends on your need.
Generally speaking, you should buy a machine that has a big capacity. Such machines are the ones that have a large reservoir. Better yet, choose a K cup filling machine that has an adapter that connects the machine to a water supply line.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: K Cup filling machines make use of different filling principles in order to fill the K cups with the product. Every single principle that the K cup filling machine maximizes has their own benefit in the process of packaging. The type of the product which is to be filled into the K cup is an important factor in order to answer this question. If the product is thin or free-flowing, they are usually filled into the K cup through an overflow filler or gravity filling machine.
On the other hand, thicker and more vicious products need a piston filler or pump filling machine in order to fill the K cup. If the product is a combination of both thick and thin products, a pump or piston filler may be used in order to fill the K cup.
Q2. What kind of production rates can I expect?
A: The rate of production of the K cup filling machine depends on the type and the size of the machine. Generally speaking, larger K cup filling machines have a higher production rate. Knowing the capacity of the machine each day is quite easy. For example, a K cup filling machine can complete 8 cycles per minutes or 64 K cups per minute. That is about 2,800 K cups every hour or 30,000 K cups in eight hours.
There are machines which can be adjusted in order to control the production rate. When adjusted, the production rate can either increase or decrease. At the end of the day, targeting the daily goal each day is easy as long as everything is under control.
Q3. Will company growth make my machine obsolete?
A: No. No matter how big your company gets, the K cup filling machine will never be obsolete as long as it is working. To be safer, choose a K cup filling machine which has a large capacity. Choose a machine which can grow with your company, too. There are also some K cup filling machines that are upgradeable. For starters, go for a machine with a semi-automatic filler. This allows the addition of a PLC and indexing system.
There are also automatic machines that can be upgraded. They can be added with additional fillers if in case you need higher production. Moreover, a machine capable of meeting production demands on a single shift can be purchased in advance in order to meet future demands in case tour company grows. In summary, you should buy a machine that is only capable of your needs today but considers what the future has to offer.
Q4. Can the filling machine be integrated with my existing equipment?
A: There is no guarantee that you can integrate the filling machine with your existing equipment. What you have to do before buying a K cup filling machine is to find out if the machine is compatible with your existing equipment or if it compatible to be integrated with other equipment.
Most K cup filling machines are made to work with existing power conveyor and begin filling K cups. On the other hand, semi-automatic or customized K cup filling machines are not as flexible as the fully automated K cup filling machines. Make sure that you purchase a machine that can work well with other packaging equipment to prevent from buying a useless machine.
Q5. Are spare parts included in the K cup filling machine supply?
A: Some manufacturers include spare parts in the K cup filling machine while others sell it separately. To be sure, ask the seller if there are spare parts that are included in the package that you ordered or not. If there are spare parts that are included, find out what parts are these. Most spare parts that are given are those that easily gets weary.
Q6. What is the layout of the packaging machine?
A: K cup filling machines can either be rotary or inline. A rotary K cup filling machine works in a circular motion and needs a smaller space. An inline machine works with the begging of the process at the end of the machine and the ending process on the other end. An inline machine is bigger which means that it occupies more space than a rotary type.
Q7. How long does it take to change over to different K cup sizes?
A: Most K cup machines generally take around five minutes in order to change over the size of a K cup. When the size of the machine is being changed, the machine is down and is not working. Some machines take even longer time which delays the production. There are a lot of complaints about it already that is why the quest for finding out which K cup filling machine is the fastest when it comes to this aspect is the fastest all rely on your choice.
Q8. How durable are critical machine components?
A: It’s what is inside the machine that matters. No matter how beautiful the machine is, from the outside if it is not working, then the machine is totally obsolete. In buying a machine, make sure that you are buying an original one with good quality components.
Buying a fake one can double the cost in the long run both in buying the parts and in the times that the machine isn’t working. Choose a machine with minimal plastics only to avoid future trouble. This is because plastic materials easily break. Ideally, the machine should mostly be made of stainless steel or with heavy duty materials to last longer.
Q9. How will I know the best K cup filling machine for me?
A: Finding out the best K cup filling machine for you is quite easy. All you have to do is to find out what you exactly need. In other terms, what is your purpose in buying a machine? Is it for a personal or business reason?
Furthermore, find out the number of K cups that you need to fill each day in order to choose the machine that can cater to your needs or demands. Keep in mind that there are K cup filling machines which can fill limited K cups in each day only in as much as there are also K cup filling machines that are specially made for a bigger production. In the end, knowing the best K cup filling machine for you all boils down to your need and to the capacity of the machine.
Q10. Do K cup filling machines have a guarantee?
A: Just like any other product, most K cups filling machines come with guarantee and insurance. Both are good for about a year. In most cases, if you want to extend the insurance coverage, then you have to pay for it since manufacturers cover the insurance of a machine for a limited time only.
It is a must that you find out how long the machine is guaranteed and insured for you to know the things that you should do for the machine.
K Cup filling machines are undeniably one of the greatest innovations man have created. It does not only make life easier but it also makes the production faster. Through K cup filling machines, manufacturers can meet the demands of their customers and increase their revenue too.
The demand for K cup filling products nowadays is constantly increasing, which makes K cup filling machine a good investment not just for today, but certainly in the future too. For example, the demand for coffee has increased throughout the years right before K cups and K cup filling machines were introduced. The introduction of K cups and K cup filling machines is a great combination not just for people who love to have their drinks in a K cup but also for companies who are running out of time to meet the demands of their product.
At the end of the day, what matters is that you have purchased the K cup filling machine that you need. Never choose the beauty of a K cup machine against its function. Its beauty won’t do the work, always remember that.
Having these things in mind, we hope that this article has helped you figure out the things that you should consider in buying a K cup filling machine in as much as it has helped you decide whether you need one or not.