In 2021, automated packaging machinery is key to the packaging processes of businesses in all sectors. Vertical Form Fill and Seal, or VFFS packaging machinery is an extremely popular format, allowing for the forming, filling and sealing of pillow bags and block bottom bags for packaging a wide range of goods, including snacks, pet food, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.
Modern VFFS packaging machines allow for considerable packaging speeds, ranging from 30ppm to 120ppm or more for some machines, whilst also maintaining quality. This technology has been developed over time – the Vertical Form Fill and Seal machine has been around for more than 50 years in fact! Over the last few decades, constant innovations have got us to where we are today, ensuring that modern machinery meets safety guidelines and industry compliance.
Let’s look at some of the factors driving the demand for VFFS packaging machinery and the constant innovation of this technology:
The most important reason for the importance of VFFS packaging machinery is that it allows for increased packaging speeds and efficiency. A machine can package products much faster than individuals, cuts out human error, and therefore requires much less manpower. However, quality control is integral to any packaging operation, so whilst packaging automation has allowed for increased packaging speeds, innovation has also been essential to ensure that quality of product and packaging stays consistent.
Over the decades, intelligent control systems have been developed and integrated into packaging machines to ensure consistent packaging weight, and cut out any errors.
Consumer habits and demands
In addition to the demand for improved packaging quality and efficiency of packaging processes, a key driver behind VFFS packaging innovations has been changing consumer habits and demands.
Let’s take a look at food packaging; consumers are demanding flexible packaging that allows for on the go snacking and eating. As a result, packaging machinery has developed to ensure a range of flexible packaging sizes and solutions fit easily into pockets or bags, and allow for portion control.
As well as the end consumer, manufacturers and packagers are also driven by retailers. Flexible packaging solutions are far preferable to traditional rigid packaging such as boxes, jars and bottles. Flexible bagged products are much easier to transport, store and display, taking up much less space.
Turnkey packaging machinery solutions
Control systems for VFFS packaging machinery have evolved considerably to provide a turnkey solution. Whilst packaging machines are designed to carry out a number of processes, for example, VFFS machines form a bag, as well as filling it with a product, and sealing it, ready for the consumer, it’s important to consider that packaging operatives need a simple control system that allows for all processes to be carried out at the touch of a button.
As well as simple controls, turnkey solutions can also include the automation of new packaging film to start once a previous roll has run out, as well as setting a specific number of bags to be filled.
Packaging processes integration
With floor space an issue for small businesses, there has been a high demand for VFFS machines to be integrated with auxiliary equipment, such as inkjet printing for date and batch codes, allowing for correct labelling during the packing process.
Eco-friendly packaging solutions
Environmentally friendly commitments from governments and businesses, along with consumers turning to a lifestyle with less waste, have been key drivers for the innovation of packaging machines and processes. As well as improving packaging quality and improving operating speeds, modern VFFS machines also ensure much lower levels of packaging material waste. Producing flexible packaging materials also helps to cut down emissions when it comes to transportation, as a larger number of packages can be transported at any one time due to their reduced weight and flexibility.
VFFS Machine Solutions
If you are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your packaging processes, Intamac Packaging Systems supply VFFS machines in a wide range of specifications to meet customer needs.