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Bottle Filling Calibration

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BigRed    0

We are planning on purchasing an Xpress Volumetric Filler for bottling. Since we are in the south and its hot, won't the 750 ml calibration be out of spec due to expansion from the heat? What is the best way to make sure we aren't out of spec per the TTB regulations?

 

 

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Weigh your filled bottles, this is true for volumetric and level filling.

We keep a set of bottles off to the side that have their gram weights written them, because bottle weight can vary significantly.  Fill, weigh, adjust, repeat.  

For example, 750ml of 80 proof weighs 712 grams.  Once you move to weight, the temperature no longer matters.

If you want to push to be very accurate, you can even do a check weight midway through your run, or if you feel that the fill level isn't quite right through the run (you will notice).  But, absolutely, every time you start.

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HedgeBird    24
22 minutes ago, BigRed said:

We are planning on purchasing an Xpress Volumetric Filler for bottling. Since we are in the south and its hot, won't the 750 ml calibration be out of spec due to expansion from the heat? What is the best way to make sure we aren't out of spec per the TTB regulations?

It sounds like you may be confused about how this machine operates.  The machine is not calibrated to any specific volume size, but has a timer that controls how long its fills for each time you push the fill button.  You control/adjust the fill volume by changing/adjusting this timer.  (the timer can be adjusted to the hundredth of a second)  Every time you bottle (even if you only ever bottle 750mls) you should expect to have to adjust the timer based on the product you are bottling and the temperature, etc.

Do what Silk City describes above, and use that info to adjust the timer/fill volume.

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jeffw    6

I also like do check by weight, but for fill height shelf appearances, on a hot day I put the first bottle in the fridge and see what it looks like when it hits 70.  It shouldn't matter if the weight is right, but you do get a little bottle weight variance, so I just consider it a double check method.  You are allowed quite a bit of variance on fill volume (compared to proof) from the TTB, but you don't want the visual of a short fill.

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Careful, you have flexibility in fill variance on a bottle by bottle basis, BUT - this does NOT apply to a batch basis:

§ 19.356 Alcohol content and fill.

(a)General. At representative intervals during bottling operations, a  proprietor must examine and test bottled spirits to determine whether the alcohol content and quantity (fill) of those spirits agree with what is stated on the label or the bottle.

and:

(b)Variations in fill. Quantity (fill) must be kept as close to 100 percent fill as the equipment and bottles in use will permit. There must be approximately the same number of overfills and underfills for each lot bottled.

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BigRed    0

Thanks for the responses. I did know that it is timer based, so I can calibrate before the run to 712 grams (if 80 proof), then check again mid run or after an hour or two. Do you guys pull random samples to very weights as part of your QC program? What do you think is an acceptable variance on fill, 1-2 ml? 

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Same section in the CFR:

In no case will the quantity contained in a bottle vary from the quantity stated on the label or bottle by more than plus or minus:

(1) 1.5 percent for bottles 1.0  liter and above;

(2) 2.0 percent for bottles 999 mL through 376 mL;

(3) 3.0 percent for bottles 375 mL through 101 mL; or

(4) 4.5 percent for bottles 100 mL and below.

So for 750ml, it is +-15ml, and for 375ml, it is +-11.25ml.  But, keep in mind: There must be approximately the same number of overfills and underfills for each lot bottled.

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Tom Lenerz    12
1 hour ago, BigRed said:

Thanks for the responses. I did know that it is timer based, so I can calibrate before the run to 712 grams (if 80 proof), then check again mid run or after an hour or two. Do you guys pull random samples to very weights as part of your QC program? What do you think is an acceptable variance on fill, 1-2 ml? 

Silk City has answered the legal requirements here from CFR 19.356 - must be done in 'representative intervals during bottling operations'. We do one about every hour. The results need to be logged via the requirements in CFR 19.600.

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PeteB    44

I calibrate 1 bottle by weight. Then to get a very accurate average fill as required I put about 6 cases of empty bottles plus caps on my sales. Note the tare and start filling. At the end of each filled case I check the calculated weight against the actual. If numbers are close then keep filling and checking until 6 cases filled. Can easily get to within a fraction of a gram per bottle. I use Enolmatic vacuum filler.

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PeteB    44
13 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Weigh your filled bottles, this is true for volumetric and level filling.

We keep a set of bottles off to the side that have their gram weights written them, because bottle weight can vary significantly.  Fill, weigh, adjust, repeat.  

For example, 750ml of 80 proof weighs 712 grams.  Once you move to weight, the temperature no longer matters.

If you want to push to be very accurate, you can even do a check weight midway through your run, or if you feel that the fill level isn't quite right through the run (you will notice).  But, absolutely, every time you start.

750 mL 80 proof at 60F weighs 713.15 g      (60 F is standard temperature for USA, most of the world 20c is the standard)

713.15 g of 80 proof at 75F has a volume of 754.4 mL so they will appear overfull, which is BigRed's concern.

ie calibrate filler by weight.

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Pete,

Show your math...

------------------------

TTB Gauging Manual - Table 5 showing the weight per wine gallon at 60f 

https://www.ttb.gov/foia/Gauging_Manual_Tables/Table_5.pdf

Grams Per Liter = Wine Gallons Per Pound * Grams per Pound / Liters per Gallon

Grams Per Liter = Wine Gallons Per Pound * 453.59237 / 3.785412

80 Proof Grams per Liter = 7.92614 * 453.59237 / 3.785412

80 Proof Grams per Liter = 949.761

80 Proof Grams per 750ml = 712.321

Realistically, you probably don't have an accurate balance to the nth significant digit, so 712 grams.

 

 

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Ah ha, now I see it, so obvious when you finally see it.  You know stuff like this drives me batty, so I've been trying to get your number all morning.

Turns out, 712.321g = 713.15g (they are the same numbers)...

once you realize I'm doing the math the way the TTB expects (in air), and you are doing it OIML/internationally (in vacuum).

712.321g (in air) = 713.15g (in vacuum)

Where is @meerkat when you need him.

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BigRed    0

Wow, thanks guys. This is really helpful. I need to get much more familiar with the gauging tables. Has anyone been audited/inspected by the TTB regarding filling? How exactly did they check? Seems like we need to be sure we choose bottles with extra room in the neck to account for the expansion.

Pete, which table did you use to determine the volume at different temperatures?

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28 minutes ago, BigRed said:

Wow, thanks guys. This is really helpful. I need to get much more familiar with the gauging tables. Has anyone been audited/inspected by the TTB regarding filling? How exactly did they check? Seems like we need to be sure we choose bottles with extra room in the neck to account for the expansion.

I would imagine they would check like this:

https://www.ttb.gov/ssd/pdf/tm516.pdf

TTB fill is assumed to be at 60F, note the fill determination procedure in the link, the TTB will correct volume for temperature before determining fill accuracy.

All decent glass manufacturers will design their bottles with the appropriate fill variation levels and headspace to account for typical temperature variations without massive fill level problems. Ask your glass manufacturer for the bottle drawings and they will typically fill levels and many times variation levels.  You don't need to do anything special when selecting glass, unless you are using glass that was manufactured for some other liquid. 

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PeteB    44
22 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Ah ha, now I see it, so obvious when you finally see it.  You know stuff like this drives me batty, so I've been trying to get your number all morning.

Turns out, 712.321g = 713.15g (they are the same numbers)...

once you realize I'm doing the math the way the TTB expects (in air), and you are doing it OIML/internationally (in vacuum).

712.321g (in air) = 713.15g (in vacuum)

Where is @meerkat when you need him.

You found the reason. Sorry but I forgot your (US) masses are measured "in air"

The "in air" inaccuracy is within TTB allowances per single bottle but maybe too large for long term accuracy.

I got my numbers from AlcoDens  by Meerkat   Just needed to click  "TTB (in air)" instead of my usual "OIML (in vacuum)"

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PeteB    44
15 hours ago, BigRed said:

Wow, thanks guys. .......................

Pete, which table did you use to determine the volume at different temperatures?

http://www.katmarsoftware.com/alcodens.htm

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JustAndy    12
20 hours ago, BigRed said:

 Has anyone been audited/inspected by the TTB regarding filling? How exactly did they check? 

I've worked 3 places that have been audited/inspected by TTB, and they have never looked at/asked for fill level documentation or records. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't keep track, but with the error bars for proofing being 10x tighter that seemed to be a bigger concern. As long as you were diligent in tracking all the alcohol in and out and could prove you've paid all the taxes required, they didn't seem as concerned with 'gotcha'ing us on forms or technicalities. Your mileage may vary. 

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