If you’re a new buyer of flexible packaging machines, it can be difficult to interpret the advice from our experts.
What’s a VFFS machine? What does a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) do? What is the (IP) Rating?…
It’s like trying to learn a language that not many people know!
However, with the right guidance and practice, it will quickly become second nature.
In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to some common terms related to flexible packaging machines, so you can make an informed decision about the best machine for your needs. Read on for a crash course in flexible packaging machinery terms!
Commonly used terms for flexible packaging machine
When it comes to flexible packaging production, the typical setup typically consists of below units:
- A measuring and filling equipment,
- A primary packing host machine,
- A transportation unit for finished goods, and inspection facilities.
Let us guide you through the workflow of a flexible packaging machine, equipping you with vital industry terminology.
Take bags and pouches, for instance – these are examples of flexible packaging due to their ability to be easily altered in shape. On the other hand, rigid packaging such as cans, jars, and bottles can’t be changed or customized as much.
The doser is a critical component in a flexible packaging machine as it determines the amount of product dispensed into each package.
It typically operates by measuring and controlling the flow of material, ensuring accurate and consistent portioning.
The Auger filler uses an auger, or screw-like device, to accurately dispense and control the flow of powders, granules, or other free-flowing materials into containers.
These scales are designed to handle large quantities of products with multiple weigh heads, which work in parallel to quickly and accurately weigh and package the product.
The multi-head design enables high-speed and efficient operations, making it ideal for high-volume production lines.
These fillers can handle a wide range of viscosities and consistencies and are known for their accuracy, efficiency, and speed in filling containers with liquids.
Liquid fillers can come in various types, such as gravity-based, pressure-based, and volumetric fillers, each with its own unique set of capabilities and benefits.
Volumetric cup fillers.
Volumetric cup fillers utilize a rotating disk to dispense a precise volume of product. It offers high speed, efficiency, and accuracy, making them ideal for large-scale production.
Fill and Seal Machines
Known as premade pouch packing machines, automatic filling and sealing machines come with pre-formed bags that can be filled up with a product prior to being firmly sealed shut.
A premade pouch in flexible packaging refers to a pre-made, ready-to-fill bag or container that is made from flexible materials such as plastic films, laminates, or other barrier materials.
Vertical form fill seal machine(VFFS)
Vertical Form Fill Seal (VFFS) machines create pouches from a roll of film. They form a bag, fill it with the product, then seal it to create an attractive finished package – all in vertical continuous motion.
They can be used for products of varying shapes, sizes, and weights, making them ideal for a variety of packaging applications.
A forming tube, also known as a forming collar, is a component in a vertical form fill seal (VFFS) packaging machine that forms the base material (usually plastic film) into a bag or pouch shape.
The film is heated and shaped into a tube around the forming collar, which is then sealed at the bottom to create the bottom of the pouch.
Roll stock packaging
Roll stock packaging refers to a type of packaging material that is supplied in a roll or coil form and is used to create bags, pouches, or other packaging forms by heat sealing the edges.
Film transport belts
Film transport belts are responsible for transporting the film material from one end of the roll stock packing machine to the other, allowing it to be cut, sealed, and packaged into the desired product.
Film tension is the amount of force that is applied to the film material when it is unwound from the roll and passed through the machine.
Maintaining proper film tension is critical for ensuring high-quality packaging and keeping it smooth, preventing wrinkles or kinks from forming as it is being packaged around the product.
Film Tracking and positioning
It means monitoring and adjusting the location of flexible film material (such as plastic film) in a roll stock packaging machine. This will make sure the film is in the right place and moves smoothly through the machine.
The cutting knife is a blade that cuts the packaged product along a pre-determined line to separate individual packages.
It is used to cut the top seal of a filled pouch, creating a neat and clean edge that can be easily opened by the end user.
Heat Sealing jaws
Heat-sealing bars create an airtight package with a combination of temperature and pressure, perfect for maintaining the integrity of heat-sensitive materials such as polyethylene or polypropylene film.
The heat-sealing jaws are typically located at the end of the machine and come together to apply heat and pressure to the film, melting the material and forming a bond.
The heat-sealing process typically involves using a heated sealing bar to apply pressure and heat to the film, creating a tight, airtight seal around the product. As a result, the product remains protected and secure during transportation and storage.
Ultrasonic sealing is a process wherein high-frequency vibrations are converted into heat. This heat is utilized to join materials together at a molecular level, forming a tight seal in a very brief moment without generating too much heat.
Changeover refers to the process of switching from producing one type of product to another. This typically involves adjusting the machine’s settings, changing the tooling or molds, and cleaning and preparing the machine for the next product. The goal of the changeover is to minimize downtime and maximize production efficiency.
PLC stands for “Programmable Logic Controller“. It is an industrial digital computer that is specially designed for use in an industrial environment, such as controlling and automating machinery in a packaging plant.
Servo drives are motors that allow for precise, controlled movement of a machine component. In a pouch packing machine, they can be used to control the film transport belt and cutting knife, ensuring accurate and consistent sealing and packaging of products.
The Photoelectric Eye is a device that uses light sensors to detect markings on the packaging film. These markings enable accurate positioning of the film as it passes through the flexible packing machine, allowing for precise and consistent cutting and sealing of the pouch.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a method of packaging food, typically in a plastic pouch or container, which creates an environment where certain gases are maintained at the desired levels. This helps to extend the shelf-life of food and prevent spoilage by reducing oxidation, dehydration, and microbial growth.
Gas / Nitrogen Flush
Nitrogen flushing is a process used to remove oxygen from a sealed package. By removing oxygen, the growth of microorganisms and oxidation are reduced, resulting in extended shelf life and better preservation of food products.
Vacuum packaging is a method of food preservation where the air is removed from the package and sealed in an airtight container. This allows food to be stored for longer periods of time under controlled conditions, preventing spoilage and contamination.
Coefficient of friction
The coefficient of friction is a way to measure how much force you need to use to make two surfaces slide past each other. A low value means that you don’t need to use much force, while a high value means that you need to use more force.
The efficacy of the roll stock packaging machine heavily relies on its friction coefficient, especially when it comes to pulling the film.
Human Machine Interface (HMI)
The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is a system that helps the person who is using the machine. It lets them do things like change settings, start and stop processes, make adjustments, and figure out what is wrong when something goes wrong. It can be found on most automatic pouch-packing machines and helps improve overall efficiency.
New to automatic flexible packaging machines? Contact our pack machine experts.
Flexible packing machines are complex pieces of equipment that require a variety of components in order to function properly and efficiently.
Components such as cutting knives, heat-sealing jaws, servo drives, PLCs, MAP and vacuum packaging systems, and Human Machine Interfaces all work together to ensure the proper packaging of products.
With these components, automated pouch packing machines can ensure the safe and secure transportation and storage of products.
In order to better equip new players with the knowledge of flexible packaging machinery, we will frequently update the common terms related to packaging machine automation.