All about the pre-made pouch packaging
Our modern and fast-paced world is all about convenience, which is why the usage of flexible plastic pouches is a continuing prominent trend in product packaging. Global market demand for pouches is projected to rise 6.2% annually to $37.3 billion in 2018. Food is the largest and most developed market for a pouch, followed by pharma/medical and beverage.
Large companies are choosing simple, traditional bag types; pillow style bags and stick-packs. A simplified packaging process, above all, means cost savings and efficiency increment, which contributes to a larger bottom line.
Consumers also love this package format because it is lightweight, convenient, and it complements their on-the-go lifestyles. More consumers are choosing pouches over the traditional glass, paper and metal packaging, and even rigid plastics.
Pouch is a simple packaging format, yet pouch packaging process isn’t as simple as it might seem. Choosing a right pouch packaging solution largely depends on a nature of a product. In order to help you to make the right choice, this blog post will deal with all the steps in pouch packaging process and various optional additions to that process, depending on your packaging needs. All examples are based on Nortech Packaging’s ROO-100 preformed pouch fill & seal packaging solution.
The pouch magazine
Pouch packaging process starts with the pouch magazine. The magazine consists of the servo driven lugged conveyor and auto- adjustable symmetrical guides. Operator places stack of pouches in the magazine cells, where the pouch accurate positioning is assured with the guides and lug relative positions. Based on the pouch starving sensor signal, the servo indexes the belt in order to bring next cell filled with pouches into the loading position.
The servo drives a three head rotary unit to utilize vacuum suction cups to pick a pouch from the magazine and deliver it into the pouch carrier system. Based on the pouch registration sensor signal, servo calculates necessary correction which assures accurate pouch positioning in the grippers.
Pouch carrier system
In order to be transferred through the machine for different operations, a pouch has to be secured between two grippers. This unique design utilizes two servo driven synchronized chain track, where each supports one of the grippers. If filled pouches are too heavy, machine can be built with a conveyor which will provide additional support for the pouch from the bottom.
Pouch opening station
By applying vacuum suction cups in the pouch area above a zipper, the pouch is pre-opened enough to insert mechanical fingers. After inserted, fingers are used to pinch each side of a pouch moving it apart, assuring positive zipper pouch opening.
Pouch filling station
Filling tube moves slightly into the pouch to assure that pouch will form properly to eliminate product spillage. Optionally, additional filling station(s) can be added. Products infeed options are various and they depend on a type of product.
- For powder and non- free flowing solids like ground coffee or flour, we recommend auger filler. The main advantage of this system is the ability to control dust during the filling operation. Auger fillers are frequently used in conjunction with a weighing instrument in order to compensate for changes in the bulk density of the product. The fillers of this type are suitable for filling products at both low and medium speeds.
- Volumetric cup filler is recommended for free-flowing solids like rice, candies or frozen peas or powders that don’t generate dust. Volumetric cup fillers measure out a product in a cup, with specific predetermined volume. This type of filler is suitable for precise filling of products at both low and high speeds.
- For packaging application where measuring precision and accuracy are crucial, we recommend vibratory fillers. They provide you with accuracy, speed, and versatility across a comprehensive line of linear net weigh feeders.
- Multi-head weighers can also improve your product packing line. Improved weighing accuracy means more packs per kg of product. Fast calculation time allows you to deliver more packs per shift. Self-tuning vibration system optimizes product flow and simple, tool-free cleaning cuts weighing machine downtime
- Robotic infeed is recommended for sensitive and fragile products that demand delicate product handling. Robotic arm with appropriate EOAT can be integrated with ROO-100 for achieving careful and delicate product handling.
The top side of a pouch is sealed with the hot sealing bar. Pouch cooling is an option for pouches that contain products that are sensitive to heat (like chocolate). To get rid of an excessive air in the bag we recommend enhancing your packaging solution with deflators. Sponge or rubber loop deflators push the air out just prior to sealing. For some products like chips and snacks, we recommend using nitrogen gas flushing. Snack bags are designed to protect delicate foods inside from both oxygen exposure and physical damage. The nitrogen replaces the oxygen and cushions the contents. Unlike oxygen, nitrogen doesn’t react with foods, so they stay fresher longer. Nitrogen doesn’t affect the flavor or texture of the food, so it’s perfect for food preservation. So, chips and snack bags are not filled with nitrogen gas just to look bigger.
After sealing options
- Metal detector: Metal detector can be integrated before or after pouch fill & seal machine.
- Checkweigher can be integrated after pouch fill & seal machine for improved control
- Scrap pouches can be removed with the help of a reject station
- Labeler can also be integrated after sealing station
- Our Case Packer and Palletizer can also be integrated with ROO-100 for full end of the line solutions
- Wash-down: ROO-100 can also feature a wash-down construction with NEMA 4x enclosures. This means that the machine can be cleaned with a spray of water without worrying about electric components or rust.
- To improve product settlement inside a pre-made pouch after filling we recommend vibratory settlers.
- Hole punch / Die cut: Pouches are usually hanged on the shelves in the store; this is why almost all pouches need to have a hang hole. Punching or cutting a hang hole can also be a feature of ROO-100.
There are a lot of pouch fill & seal machines on the market due to the rising popularity of pouch packaging format. However, not all of them are equally good as a solution. Pouch machines are usually large and they demand a lot of floor space. ROO-100 with its compact footprint is the smallest pouch machine on the market. Changeover for some pouch machines can last up to half an hour. With ROO-100 you can change between pouch sizes in 30 seconds! Besides being the most compact machine on the market, ROO-100 is also the most affordable one. As mentioned above, it can be built and integrated with a variety of options and systems according to your specific needs. Get a quote and check why do we refer to ROO-100 as a “world’s new champion in flexible packaging!”