Ultimate flexibility for scalable aseptic filling

Ultimate flexibility for scalable aseptic filling
For more than 30 years, Flexicon has been established as the preferred choice for aseptic liquid filling for GMP regulated industries, such as biotechnology and diagnostics
Flexicon’s products scale with your business. From the intuitive, easy-to-use design of our ergonomic pumpheads, through to the modular design of manual, semi and automatic systems, our products feature a grow-with-me concept to meet your fill/finish needs.

Our experience in engineering accurate and reliable bottle filling machine for sensitive fluids in GMP production and cleanroom environments, means we provide solutions to optimise your fill/finish processes.

As part of the Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group, Flexicon’s engineering is backed by a global network of specialist and technical support engineers, who can help optimise your complete development and filling process, wherever you are in the world.
At the heart of all our filling systems is the gentle pumping action of our peristaltic fillers, which ensure your valuable product is transferred without cross contamination or damage to viability and product quality.

Leveraging our expertise in peristaltic engineering has helped to optimise the performance of companies filling processes worldwide. Whether those companies are developing Advanced Therapy Medical Products (ATMP) or looking to quickly—and safely—scale-up their batch production, we can help develop a system tailored to your needs.

Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of liquid filling equipment or an experienced user looking to upgrade or change your production line, browsing websites and product catalogues in the search to source a suitable machine can be more than a little confusing.

Overflow or gravity machine? Piston or pump? Automatic, semi-automatic or manual? Hot or cold-filling? In-line or rotary filling? Off-the-shelf or turnkey? Fortunately, with so many choices out there you’re likely to find the ideal solution for your particular application – however, finding it requires that you do a bit of homework and adopt a systematic approach.

To simplify the process, you may find this guide to liquid filling equipment useful. It identifies key questions which will help you narrow down your search and focus only on those systems that meet your objectives.

The first question to ask is what product is being filled?

Not all liquids are the same. Some are free-flowing, others are very viscous. Some contain particulates or flammable ingredients, others are foamy whilst the viscosity of some products may change when the temperature changes. The important thing to remember is that type of liquid filling equipment that you choose has to be compatible with the product type. For example, a gravity filler is more suitable for thin products, piston fillers are a better option for thick products than overflow automatic liquid filling machine and bottom-up filling machines are used for foamy products.

Another key question to ask is what type of container is being filled?

In many instances, the type of container or bottle will dictate the type of filling technique and the more you know about the attributes of the container, the better. What material is it made from (e.g. glass, aluminium, plastic) and what are its dimensions and characteristics? This information is important because it will determine the optimum performance of the equipment and the best equipment type. For example, an automatic bottle filler which grabs a container from the side may not actually be the best option if your container is very wide and a top filler may not work if your container has an unusually-shaped cap or lid.

You need to ask how many containers do you want to fill every hour?

Knowing your production rate is also a crucial factor in your equipment selection.

A semi-automatic filling machine would be a cost-effective and reliable solution for smaller production runs like those in a laboratory or in a start-up venture, whilst an automatic filling machine with a sizeable conveyor is ideal for larger-scale operations with much higher production rates. For operations with very low production rates and no expansion plans such as a home brewing venture or small-scale home-made sauce business, a manual machine could fit the bill.

You also need to ask yourself, how do you want the final fill-level in your container or bottles to look?

Appearance does count, and different filling systems have different outcomes. For example, a liquid level machine will fill every container to the same specified level regardless of the volume of the product, making it a preferred product where uniformity is important. On the other hand, a volumetric filler will fill a container with the identical volume of liquid even when the fill levels may appear to be variable. Volumetric fillers generally cost more as they require specialized instruments for calibration, balance and timing.

Some of the types of liquid filling machines include:

gravity fed fillers (a good, cost-effective option for efficient volumetric filling especially for low viscosity and foamy liquids);
piston fillers which use a highly accurate volumetric filling technique, ideal for thick or highly viscous liquids. These are divided into two types, namely check-valve piston fillers and rotary valve piston fillers;
pump fillers which are very versatile and suitable for a wide range of liquids and viscosities
in-line filling machines (a cost-effective choice for filling containers in a line) which are suitable for those operations where different container sizes are involved; and
rotary filling machines (which are often much larger and more specialized) for faster speeds and higher production rates.
Another question is whether your filling equipment can be modified if your needs change?

It’s often not necessary to buy new equipment just because your business has expanded or you want to add new products or packaging to your line. An experienced manufacturer will have the knowledge and skills to advise whether your liquid filling system can be modified and will make recommendations to future-proof your investment.

Choosing the best liquid filling equipment is a complex decision and many factors need to be considered.  From product characteristics and container attributes to fill size, production rates, regulatory issues, safety requirements and expansion plans, if you answer the questions highlighted above, you’ll be in a strong position to make an informed choice which factors in all of these issues.

However, your best option is to talk directly to industry professionals, like AccuPak. They are one of Australia’s largest suppliers of all types of packing and filling equipment and they will work with you to identify the most cost-effective and practical solution. They know the critical factors required from all packing, filling, bagging and palletizing machinery and equipment – i.e. versatility, flexibility, reliability, accuracy and affordability – and if you’re interested in finding out how they can help you achieve your objectives, get in touch with them on 03 8804 1529 or visit accupak.com.au.
A walk down the grocery store aisle will exemplify the overwhelming amount of beverage products to choose from these days. Even with the existing wide variety of flavors and concepts within each drink category, consumers seem to want even more. For example, one of the fastest-growing segments in the beverage industry continues to be craft beer. Even after the beginning of its meteoric rise a few years back, the number of specialty beers with unique ingredients and different styles continues to proliferate with other craft alcohol producers, such as cider and spirits, following close behind. To keep up, many facilities are designing and installing additional liquid filling lines.

“As product lines continue to evolve to match expanding consumer demands, manufacturers are seeking flexible equipment that allows for product modifications—without breaking the bank,” says Paul Grainger, technical key account direct or North America for Tetra Pak. “Today’s equipment simply must be designed to accommodate a diverse range of products in order to be viable.”

Additionally, to maximize production efficiency, many are turning to high-capacity and more automated equipment that provides this flexibility. Still top of mind, though, are accuracy, minimizing product waste, reducing changeover times and simplifying sanitation. Liquid filling equipment providers are working to meet all these needs and more.When picking a specific 5 litre liquid filling machine, a good place to start is to know the exact characteristics of the liquid product. Is it a free-flowing liquid? This might work better with a timed-flow fill machine where the same volume of product is delivered each cycle. What if the product is more viscous? For that, a positive displacement liquid filler might be the way to go.

“Product specification is the most important parameter that we, at Bosch Packaging Technology, need in order to identify a suitable piece of filling equipment for our customers,” says Jonathan Viens, manager of North American sales and marketing. “We are talking about product characteristics, such as filling temperature, particulates, tendency of the product to splash or froth, etc.”

He explains that if a company is trying to dispense baby food into containers, Bosch would suggest servo-driven aseptic1 litre filling machine with full-metal pistons. This type of equipment helps address precision in filling a product that is highly viscous and particulate rich, but also avoids weight fluctuations or overfill issues.

For products that need special attention paid to minimizing microorganisms and ensuring food safety, such as juices, hot-fill technology for hygienic bottles will be needed. This was the case when Coca-Cola Canners in South Africa started bottling iced tea, sports drinks and juices with and without fruit chunks. The facility had two existing PET bottling lines, but due to the high-pulp content of the juice, a new line was needed.

The company employed KHS, a manufacturer of filling and packaging equipment, to install a hot-fill line. The content is heated to over 100°C and filled at a temperature of approximately 83°C. The line can fill up to 48,000 bottles per hour, sized between 0.3 and 1.5 liters. To avoid damaging the fruit chunks during the filling, the line was equipped with two precision volumetric fillers where the fruit pieces are first bottled with a small amount of juice before the second filler tops off the bottles with pure juice. This understanding of the filler’s impact on the final product is important, especially for sensitive liquids.

“Some yogurts tend to ‘shear’ when being forced through small openings,” says Jan Sundberg, applications development manager for JBT Corporation. “The filler needs to have gentle handling inside the filler bowl/hopper and also as the product flows through the valve. Larger porting and short, straight paths for the product flow are key to minimizing any damage.” For instance, features like extra elbows, pipes and pumps can change the viscosity of a product, so eliminating them for these applications could offer protection against damage.

“Products like creams or oily dressings can only be dosed with a specific dosing station, for example, positive valve,” says Viens. “Otherwise, the rotary movement in standard dosing stations could damage the product, or the pump design could separate the oil from the base product.”

When bottling a product like beer, which has a tendency to foam, gentle filling is paramount. Breweries want to limit the amount of oxygen picked up by the beer as much as possible during the filling process, but also want to maximize throughput. To help address these issues, Krones has equipped its Modulfill filler with a level probe that includes a swirl.

“The swirl gently guides the liquid to the bottle wall and in the bottle,” says Stefan Kraus, product manager for filling technology. “Additionally, the filling valve is equipped with two different filling speeds. The result is a gentle filling process with low turbulence and less foaming behavior.”

Product and container versatility
Because of the wide variety of products being packaged at plants, more processors are looking for fillers that can handle multiple concepts. Equipment providers understand this, but might not be able to deliver a panacea yet.

“In the world of food, the day of ‘one filler fits all’ still hasn’t arrived due to the wide range of product characteristics,” says Viens with Bosch, which acquired filling and sealing equipment manufacturer Osgood Industries, Inc. in 2015. When Bosch Osgood introduced its tank-style pump, part of the objective was to address this need for fillers to handle many different types of products. Thus, the tank-style pump can handle a range of products, from liquid juice to viscous vat-set yogurt. “With this solution, the pistons that are used to pump the product are located inside the hopper. An even distribution of product above each piston and tight tolerances offer the user excellent lane-to-lane repeatability and eliminate the need for dynamic O-rings on the piston head.”

“Customers are demanding that new filling equipment is more versatile and can handle a full range of varying products,” says Sundberg. As a result, the JBT Unifiller filler can handle products with a thin, watery consistency to thick, chunky products with high solid content and large particulates. “[It] is a unique volumetric piston filler with short product paths and larger porting.” Additionally, the fill nozzles are designed for specific applications and can be easily exchanged.

Krones 6 head liquid filling machine are also designed with flexibility in mind, says Kraus. As an example, he cites some of the company’s filling equipment that can be adjusted automatically via the filling probe, which addresses improved automatization as well.

For most of its filling machines, Serac uses net weight filling technology, which controls the amount of product dispensed into the container to give an accurate measure of what is inside. Alan Bonanno, marketing manager for Serac, says because aeration, temperature and viscosity do not affect the accuracy of a net weight filler, it can handle a variety of products with different characteristics.

Product flexibility isn’t the only filling demand, but the shapes, sizes and materials used in different containers being filled are also highly variable. Knowing the type of container is important for packaging providers to understand, says Viens, as it “will drive the configuration on numerous machine stations and the number of lanes required.”

Is MySQL more scalable than PostgreSQL due to the difference in how they handle connections?

I’m trying to decide if either MySQL or PostgreSQL would be more suitable for an application that will get hit by potentially thousands of simultaneous requests at a time.

During research, one fact that stands out is that PostgreSQL forks a new process for each connection, whereas MySQL creates a new thread to handle each connection.

  • Does this mean that MySQL is more efficient than PostgreSQL at handling many concurrent connections?

  • How much of an impact does this difference have on how well both systems scale? Is it something that I should worry about to begin with?

Building a scalable Email Delivery system

I want to fix my current Email Delivery system which sends email using a third-party email provider and creates a record for each email sent in RDS. Functionally this is how the system behaves –

  • A user creates Campaign to send emails to their leads. A campaign can be sent to up to 1 million users
  • A created campaign is stored in a table called campaign. The table also stores information of leads (JSON condition) to whom email needs to be sent
  • A job runs which polls campaign table and calculates actual leads from the JSON conditon and retrieves their email addresses from lead table
  • Multiple instances of this job run depending on the number of pending(queued) campaigns
  • A new thread picks the list obtained in the above step and sends the emails in bulk of 50 emails using third party email service provider API
  • For each email sent a record in Email table is created. The table stores the information of sender and receiver along with the status of the email. The table also has relation to campaign table
  • The information of email bounces are received using a webhook and status of such emails are set to “bounced” in Email table
  • The email table is used to build different kinds of reports like finding the leads to whom the email was sent using a particular campaign by some particular user
  • The columns of Email table are indexed because it is heavily read across multiple parts of the application. Due to this writes to the table have become slower
  • In case many emails are queued for processing and multiple jobs are spawned, writes on the Email table becomes a bottleneck, which causes replication lag and impacts reports at various places

My goal is to make inserts and reads on Email table faster which is not possible using RDS.

Is there any other way I can use to scale this system with the capability to send millions of emails?

I see Elastic Search as one option for storing Email table. Since Elastic Search is not a primary data store I need to build applications to sync this data to a persistent storage. Correct me if I am wrong.

Scalable Design to combine large S3 files and provide a public download link through Email

I have multiple files on AWS S3 Bucket. According to Access of a person I need to create a ZIP file of multiple selected files & provide a public link to download it.

  1. I want to use a queue to put coming requests in it & process one by one And once This is complete I want to send the link for download.
  2. I want to save it in S3 Bucket and send a link once clicked it should be downloaded securely from SpringBoot rest API. If not downloaded it should be deleted after expiry time of few days after creation.

I need to know What Technologies should I use ? Can I achieve this with AWS Lambda ? What should I prefer for queuing the tasks. If any alternative approach please suggest.

System Design: Scalable Chat Server

Suppose you were asked to design a scalable chat server with the following requirements:

  1. The main use case is: player A sees B online, A sends a message to B, B receives it.
  2. The secondary use case is: player A sees B offline, A sends a message to B. When B comes back online, B receives the message. (No push notifications).
  3. The goal is to minimize latency. Speed matters.
  4. The messages should arrive in order. We cannot lose messages but receiving duplicates once in a while is fine.
  5. Just text data, no binary data.
  6. No need to store chat history. Once sent, the messages can be destroyed.

I’ve been reading this article: How League Of Legends Scaled Chat To 70 Million Players and I think I missed the core architecture they used in the game. But anyway here is my “thought process”. Can someone have a look at it?

  • If the secondary use case didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have to store anything. I think I could use a p2p network, wherein a user regularly sends a ping message “i’m online” to all his friends to notify of presence.
  • But since I have to store messages to be able to deliver them later, I need my own servers that store user presence, user friendship lists, and messages.
  • The goal of minimized latency can be achieved by placing servers close to the users. This means that there will be more than one server so they need to stay in sync. Also, we need to load balance them so that one server does not store everything.
  • I’ve read somewhere on the Internet that a way to load balance the servers is to assign a server to each user. So for example server 1 gets assigned everything related to user A, and server 2 gets assigned everything related to user B. We could decide this by proximity.
  • When A sends something to B, there has to be a way to dispatch the message to server 2. Maybe use a service bus to communicate servers.
  • So the flow would be something like this:

    1. A writes message “Hi B!”
    2. Server 1 receives message and B. Since it does not find B in his user base, he forwards the message to the service bus. He stores a copy of the message.
    3. The service bus requests all servers to look for user B.
    4. Server 2 replies that he has B in his user base.
    5. Server 2 receives the message and stores it.
    6. Server 2 sends message to user B.
    7. Server 2 signals to the service bus that the message was sent. He destroys the message.
    8. Server 1 destroys his copy of the message.
  • If B were offline, everything up to step 5 would stay the same. The difference is that server 1 can destroy his copy of the message but server 2 cannot.

  • Now, storage… My guess is that each server should have their own persistent storage, but I’ve no idea what should be optimized here (speed of reads? speed of writes?). Also I’m not sure if a MySQL store or a NoSQL store would be better. Since NoSQL is optimized to be partitioned and there’s no need here I guess MySQL would be enough.
  • If a server crashes we need a way to failover quickly. I suppose we could place like a “primary” and “secondary” server in each location, the primary would be connected to primary storage and the secondary to replicated data.

So the overall architecture would look like this:

architecture

I realize I am missing many many things here, did I miss something obvious? Is there any part of my thought process just plain wrong?

Best Fast Scalable Ecommerce Platform – Suggestions required

We are currently on CS-Cart platform with 10,000 unique visitors daily and we expect this to go up to 100,000 and more in the next few months. We have only around 600 products in our catalogue. Due to lack of developers for cs-cart, we would like to move on to some other platform which has a larger pool of developers available and something which will serve us for at least the next 5-7 years so that we can invest money in the right code development and infrastructure.

Things we are…

Best Fast Scalable Ecommerce Platform – Suggestions required

Can python be used to develop scalable enterprise applications? [on hold]

I have been developing software and web apps for quite a while now and most of the time I have developed these projects using Java and C# (.Net) utilizing frameworks like MVC etc.

As for different reasons I have decided to get hands on with Python, I have used Python mainly as a scripting language for writing in standalone script but never to develop something of scale.

Recently I have been given a project in which I have to develop an enterprise level web application for a large number of users (scalable and responsive) also have finance and payments involved in it (secure).

I want to combine my learning aspirations with this project and wishes to develop this application using python but one thing I am not sure about is weather is it even possible to do so or not, which is also my questions here.

To break it down further, I am looking to get following queries answered:

  • Does python offer design and frameworks like MVC etc. to support such applications?

  • Does in general software industry utilize python in such level of application development?

  • Would it be a recommended move to use Python instead of Java, .NET MVC?

    • Considering overall quality and requirement of application, few of the posts I have been reading online mentions that C# provides better performance than Python, how true and practical is that?

TIA.

recursive trace recursive in scalable sence?

I was wondering if there is a way to explain the movement to all the posible variations of the movement fw1 left(1*n) fw2 left(2*n)…. fwx, left(x*n) tracing its movement in a way that is recursive(of course it wont be contained as the value for fw keeps getting bigger) for clarity sake here is some python code I made for this:`

import turtle turtle.speed(0) def graph(N):     for i in range(1,1000):          for x in range(0, i):              turtle.forward(x/50)              turtle.left(N*x) 

I have played around with this for some time and I found that the formation is quite complex and mostly non predictable, even more so if its tryied with more nested loops or with putting exponents instead of multiplying. and was wondering if it could be explained in a simple way to know the pattern? please note that the x/50 is just to scale it down by 50x you can change this if you want and that this should run correctly in python 3 or 2 here is an example of what is sometimes looks like: example for graph(255)

also addon is how can I tag this ej what mathematical field even is this?