When it comes to wrapping products at high speed and low cost, one option stands above the rest — a wrapping machine for flow packaging. From food to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, it’s a flexible, efficient, and reliable packaging solution for sealing in freshness.
But with the plethora of these machines available today, finding what’s best for your business can be challenging. That’s why we created this guide to help you with your decision.
What is a Flow Wrapping Machine?
It is a packaging machine used for wrapping products in a flexible film or paper material to create a sealed package. Typically, they form a hollow tube of packaging material into which the product is carried via a conveyor belt. Then, at regular intervals, the packaging materials are sealed closed using heat or adhesive to form a sealed pillow pouch.
Most modern versions of these machines rely on a computer control system to ensure no products are damaged in the sealing stage as well as ensure minimal film wastage.
In addition, vertical flow wrapping is preferred in some cases. The elemental form, fill, and heat seal process remains the same; however, such machinery usually uses a funnel system as opposed to the conveyor belt found on a horizontal flow machine.
When to Use It
This type of wrapping is a tried-and-tested packaging process for several prominent industries. Commonly flow-wrapped products include food products like confectionery, snacks, and baked goods, and non-food items like cosmetics, electronics, and household products. In addition, because of the complete seal, products that require high protection from moisture, dust, or other contaminants are typically flow-wrapped.
In addition, the high-speed nature of the process lends itself to environments where packaging needs to be completed quickly and efficiently — food wrapping machines usually do it. With operating speeds reaching 2000 packs per minute (or even faster), businesses reliant on fast and efficient packaging find it their chosen wrapping method.
Flow Wrapping vs. Shrink Wrapping Machines: What’s the Difference?
Both packaging methods rely on encasing products in plastic and are often confused and used interchangeably. However, there are several key differences. So, let’s take a look at those differences briefly:
- Flow wrapping machines, aka horizontal form-fill-seal, is a method of packaging involving wrapping a product in a flexible film that is then sealed on all sides. Unlike shrink-wrapping machines, this technique does not include a heated plastic film. Instead, the product is allowed to move within the packaging pouch. It is a cost-effective method trusted to provide an airtight seal, helping to extend the product’s shelf life.
- Shrink wrapping machines, on the other hand, involve wrapping a product in a plastic film and then using heat to shrink the plastic film tightly over the product’s shape. This technique is commonly used for larger items, such as pallets of goods, and individual items, like DVDs and books. Shrink wrapping provides a tamper-evident seal and helps protect products from moisture and dust.
While both flow-wrapping machinery and shrink-wrapping systems can be effective packaging methods, the choice between the two will depend on the type of product being packaged and the intended use and distribution of the product. By understanding the differences between these two methods, businesses can decide which type of packaging is best for their needs.
Finding the Right Flow Wrapping Machine
Choosing the right one from these machines for your business requires careful consideration of various factors.
Factors to Consider
Several types of machines are currently available in the market. From light-contact feeding to advanced, ergonomic machinery, determining how much you’re willing to invest requires manufacturers to consider their needs. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Size of product: The size of your product will determine the type and size of the flow wrapping machine needed.
- Speed of production: The speed at which you produce your products dictates the type of machine required.
- Type of product: The type of product being wrapped determines the necessary level of protection and packaging materials.
- Hermetic sealing: Depending on the product and application, you may need a machine with hermetic sealing to ensure product freshness and an extended shelf life.
- Material types: Different materials like plastics or paper may require different machines for optimal results.
Types of Flow Wrapping Machines
- Overwrapping machines wrap small items, such as candy or pharmaceutical products, in paper, foil, or cellophane. The film is typically heat-sealed and requires minimal energy and low-cost materials.
- Lower-reel flow wrap machines are used for delicate products and slow to medium-speed packaging operations that require accurate product feeding and wrapping. In these machines, the packaging tube faces upwards, allowing for a lengthways seal.
- Vertical form fill seal machines: Capable of forming, filling, and sealing bags for products such as chips or pasta. Unlike horizontal wrapping machines, the product is fed via a funnel into the pouch, lending itself to dry, loose products, e.g., powder, seeds, and confectionery.
Discover Plan IT Packaging’s Flow Wrapping Machines
Choosing a suitable machine is essential for businesses looking to improve their packaging efficiency and save costs. By considering factors such as product size, speed of production, and material types, companies can find the right machine to suit their needs.
Plan IT Packaging offers a range of flow packaging machines, including horizontal flow and overwrapping machines, vertical form fill seal, and lower-reel flow wrap machines. Schedule a free consultation with us today to discover the most suitable wrapping machine for your unique packaging needs and take the first step toward improving your business operations.