From food products to pills, cosmetics to electronics, form fill seal machinery is one of the most widely used packaging machinery types. Many modern form fill seal (FFS) systems are highly sophisticated, incorporating digital computer interfaces and control networks, and offer outstanding speed and versatility. They can be used with a wide variety of materials and across multiple product types, which makes them an indispensable choice for manufacturers across a range of industries.
With changing consumer demand, food processing companies and contract manufacturers are faced with the need for shorter product runs and regular equipment changeovers. Versatile machines are required; ones capable of working with a range of packaging styles.
The frequently evolving customer market means that changing machines over to accommodate different packaging styles is of high importance, with niche markets driving the need for shorter product runs. Machines must handle a wide range of bag sizes and be quick and easy to change over as new runs become necessary. Form Fill Seal machinery offers the ideal solution to this problem.
Vertical Form Fill Seal Machines
There are several benefits to continuous motion Vertical Form Fill Seal (VFFS) machines. They perform at high speed, have a small physical footprint, and are reasonably low cost.
In the past, however, a major drawback of Vertical Form Fill Seal machines has been that they were time-consuming to set up and to change over for new runs. Although there was the potential for them to be adjusted for various different bag sizes and formats, the time issue meant that most manufacturers would simply have different VFFS machines dedicated to specific tasks.
New innovations in the field, however, are helping to address this problem by making changeovers swift and more efficient, which mitigates the need for multiple machines redundant. Manufacturers can now switch a single machine for differing product runs without spending money and floorspace on additional machinery.
Horizontal Form Fill Seal Machinery
The need for faster changeovers between product runs is also an issue to be addressed in Horizontal Form Fill Seal (HFFS) machinery. Again, new developments in the field make them easier to programme and replicate tasks through the automation of adjustments to machine configurations.
Horizontal Form Fill Seal machines tend to be used when a product is fragile. A Vertical Form Fill Seal machine generally involves the product dropping from a height at one step of the process. When a product may not be able to withstand a drop like this, or if such a drop might cause leakage or disturbance to the product itself, a HFFS machine is preferable. Products that are packaged in stand-up pouches with a spout, zip or straw are best produced on a HFFS machine, mainly liquid products such as beverages.
How do form fill seal machines work?
Generally, with Form Fill Seal machines, packaging material is fed off a roll and shaped. The bags or packs are then filled, sealed, and separated. This process can differ depending on the individual product needs or packaging design requirements for aesthetic purposes.
The Advantages of Form Fill Seal Machinery
- Cheaper packaging methods
- Fast and simple cleaning between batches
- Fewer moving parts (particularly in the case of Vertical Form Fill Seal machinery)
- Consistent packing rate
- Readable barcode and product info facilitated by online film printing
- Increased production rate
- Reduced number of shifts required
Disadvantages of Form Fill Seal Machinery
- Unsuitable for small production runs (less economical)
- Cannot remove trapped air quickly
- Cannot handle multiple packaging materials
- Not economical for low-density, aerated powders (i.e. whey powder, talcum powder)
- Cannot handle paper
What types of form fill seal machines are available?
The machines come in a range of types, mainly either horizontal or vertical in nature, with type used depending on the product it is to be used with. Some examples include:
Bags and pillow packs are created using flow wrappers, lower reel flow wrappers, vertical form fill seal, stickpack and mandrel form fill seal.
Pots, trays, and blister packs are typically made using cold form fill seal, thermoform fill seal or blister form fill seal machines.
Sacks and bags are made with a tubular pack form fill seal or vertical form fill seal machine.
Sachets and envelopes use an edge seal, horizontal form fill seal, or vertical sachet form fill seal machine.
Cartons are made using a vertical carton board form fill seal machine.
Bottles and vials are created using a blow fill seal machine.
Is a Form Fill Seal Machine suitable for my product needs?
Before investing in Form Fill Seal machinery, it is important to consider whether it is the best method for your product’s requirements. As mentioned previously, Form Fill Seal machinery has benefits and disadvantages, so adding up the pros and cons is key to ensuring you choose the right machinery for your needs.
You should consider:
1. The nature of the product being produced
2. The speed of production required
3. Filling temperature
4. Product dimensions and size
5. Product material
6. Hourly output of the product
7. Style of the product
Learn more about Form Fill Seal Machinery on the PPMA Show Meeting Hub
With the next live event now scheduled for 2021, you can still connect with leading suppliers who specialise in form fill seal machines here.
Visit the range of exhibitors today and see how you can take your business to the next level.