Step-by-Step Guide: How a Vertical Form Fill Seal Machine Works

With the revolution of industries comes the development and advancement of packaging materials and the automation of machines. To respond to the manufacturing industry’s demand, packaging manufacturers introduced pouch bags made by a vertical form fill seal machine (VFFS).

Everything starts with a large roll of film, converted into a pouch bag that becomes the packaging material for a product. The product undergoes an assembly that forms, fills, and seals using this state-of-the-art automated VFFS machine, which is efficient and accurate in streamlining the production process. As a result, you achieve high productivity with exceptional accuracy.

Mars Intermittent Vertical Form Fill and Seal VFFS

What Can a VFFS Machine Do

Manufacturing industries utilize automated assemblies like the VFFS, taking advantage of their high efficiency. This machine comes in two versatile options, the horizontal and vertical assemblies. And this is not only used by food manufacturers but also in many other industries. 

Often, manufacturers use vertical form fill seal machines, an assembly that forms, fills, and seals flexible packages vertically. It creates bag pouches in different styles, including pillow bags, Doy packs, quad seal bags, and many others. 

The VFFS machine automates a single system combining multiple functions, from laying hold of laminates or the flat packaging film to dispensing the product being packaged. It also has features that enhance its capabilities for printing expiration dates and lot numbers.

It can also do tear notches for easy opening, zipper integration, gas flushing for product stability, and shelf life extension. And because of its versatility, the machine can function in both food and non-food applications. For instance, it can be used in the beauty and cosmetics industry, pet food and much more.

Indeed, a form fill and seal machine is a packaging solution assembly that does the step-by-step process of production, which allows manufacturers to benefit from increased productivity and consistency in packaging operations. 

The Production Assembly: How the Machine Creates a Product

Like any machine, the capabilities of a VFFS vary according to the specifications and models. It also varies according to the step-by-step process that the machine undergoes. So from flat laminate to finished product, this is the step-by-step guide on how the VFFS works: 

1. Forming

The process starts with the automatic form fill seal machines forming the laminate material or the flat packaging film into the desired shape or container. It passes through a series of rollers to form a tubular shape or any desired shape, such as a pouch or bag, a pillow pack, a gusseted pouch, or a stand-up pouch. It can also be a three-sided seal pouch, a zipper pouch, or a spout pouch.

2. Sealing

After the bag forms, the sides are sealed together to form a closed container — it is usually done by applying heat and pressure at the edges of the assembled container to bond them together firmly.

3. Product filling

After the edge bonding, the next step is to fill the formed and sealed containers with the product. The form fill seal machine dispenses a measured amount of product into the bag using volumetric fillers for liquids, weighers for solids, and augers for powdery products. 

For example, if the bag is being filled with a snack drink, the VFFS machine correctly and accurately measures it according to the required net fill weight declaration as printed on the packaging. Meanwhile, if it is filling a meal snack, then it is measured by using a weigher to get the exact desired measurement.        

4. Product dosing

Dosing systems check that weighers are operating in sync to dispense products accurately. This step is equally critical as the others. Here, the form fill and seal machines ensure that the correct volume is dispensed into the packaging.

Sensors are frequently used in this step to measure the weight or volume of the product, and a mechanical system is used to control its flow into the bags.

5. Re-sealing

The final closing happens in this step. After the bag is filled, the machine seals the remaining opening, often the top portion of the packaging. It is done by applying heat and pressure. Sealed parts must be assured of their sealing integrity to avoid product leaks, moisture absorption, and contamination. 

6. Cutting and Separation

Not all pouch bags undergo this step since not all pouches are continuous in form. However, continuous rolls are cut and separated to make individual packages as deemed applicable. 

Here, the form fill and seal bagging machine has a predetermined length at which it uniformly cuts the material.

7. Optional Step

Some optional steps are added, like date coding, batch printing, etc. Although not all products undergo such phases, they usually happen after final sealing, cutting, and separation.

In this step, an advanced VFFS machine can do product detention or rejection to detect rejected bags, incorrect fill levels, or other quality issues. But it is essential to know that not all form fill and seal machines have these optional steps.

8. Packaging output

The final stages are done here, like packing, labeling, or shipping. More critical steps occur after everything has passed and been evaluated as to the required quality parameters. These may include quality control, case packing, packing completion, box closing, coding, and securing. 

This step may also involve using additional materials like cushions and inserts and box labeling. 

Understanding the Operational Steps of a VFFS Machine 

Indeed, when the correct steps are adapted during production, the seamless and efficient vertical form fill seal machine can do more for the business.

But note that the steps undertaken by the machine have specific variations. It differs according to the industry, product type, and packaging process. Various equipment can be customized with the features and options you need to meet specific packaging requirements and industry standards. 

Whatever you need for your process, ensure you get it. Contact Plan IT Packaging for high-quality packaging system solutions. We can help you discover the machine that perfectly suits your needs. Likewise, we’ll take you through each step of the process for the equipment you get.

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