Enhanced automation and efficiency at the heart of form, fill and seal equipment ranges

There is an increasing array of technology being developed for the form fill and seal market across the world. Neill Barston reports on key developments

As with any segment of equipment for the confectionery and bakery sectors, machinery manufacturers are facing continued demands to deliver faster, ever more productive ranges for their global customer bases.

This has been underlined by industry studies from research group MarketsandMarkets that noted the rapid rise in urbanisation around the world is continuing to drive growth for a dynamic range of packaging. Consequently, the organisation said expansion in machinery has increased at an annual rate of 4.9 per cent, with equipment, including vertical and horizontal packaging machinery market worth $14.6 billion by 2021 globally. Clearly, this year is unlike any other in that the sector is facing major business disruption from the emergence of coronavirus, yet there are new innovations coming forward that demonstrate the resilience of the segment. Among manufacturers releasing new series is German-based Syntegon Technology.

It has just released a key new TPU paper form, fill and seal machine using BillerudKorsnäs natural 3D formable FibreForm paper within shaped paper pods for product samples, portion packs and inserts. This latest sustainably developed system has been devised to offer snacks, biscuits and other manufacturers operating within the confectionery sector uniquely shaped and rightsized packaging, with a tactile feeling reflecting the brand and product content, delivered in an environmentally mindful manner.

According to Syntegon, in addition to confectionery uses for sweets and jellies, concepts are also being developed for applications within the gum market, with the machine being capable of modification for modified atmosphere packaging technology for increased product freshness. The new TPU paper form, fill and seal machine (pictured) forms environmentally friendly Shaped Paper Pods with a filling volume of just a few and up to 100 millilitres.

The FibreForm paper is shaped by air pressure and embossed by press force. Using heat-sealing technology, the Shaped Paper Pod can be sealed with any heat-sealable lidding materials; barriers will be completely customised to customer needs.

Sustainability key

Meanwhile, Volpak is enhancing its fill form and seal-based range with a strong focus on delivering sustainability features within its respective machines.  These include the SC+ series, a continuous high speed pouching machine (main image). The proposed configuration which was due to be show at Interpack was in the form of 1-litre “doypacks” with corner cap at speeds of 280 pieces per minute, equipped with features as quick size changeover and the capability to run with recyclable material, ensuring our customers a sustainable solution. Furthermore, the SI platform, designed for stand-up pouching, features all the internet 4.0 capabilities needed nowadays as well as the capability to run recyclable materials, will be present with the SI280 model, running in an integrated line with a RAJ cartoner and Flexlink’s conveying and palletising solution.

The company has a further addition with its Enflex line, a new F-17DX machine, a flat pouch and easy to handle machine. Furthermore, packaging specialist ilapak has released a new flow wrapper targeting the global confectionery and biscuit sector, designed for placement into fully automated production systems.

As the company revealed to Confectionery Production, its Carrera 5000 meets demand from middle-tier bakers and confectioners for a robust, easy to maintain machine that offers the same in-line integration and performance capabilities as a top-of-the-range flow wrapper but with fewer added features. The Carrera 5000 slots neatly into the company’s range between the entry level Carrera 1500 and the high-spec,high-speed Carrera 6000.

The firm’s engineers have removed some of the features available on the Carrera 6000 that are superfluous to requirement for this target market and identified ways of stripping out cost without compromising build quality or performance. The Carrera 5000 is capable of 80 m/min on cold seal films and 40 m/min on hot seal films – matching the performance of the Carrera 6000. This has been achieved via a radical re-engineering of the machine frame that has produced the first of the company’s flow wrapper with a tubular frame for added robustness. The Carrera 5000 is engineered to be integrated into a fully automated continuous workflow.

For its part, packaging and processing solutions group GEA has released its latest SmartPacker TwinTube vertical packaging machine for the European confectionery and snacks market. As the company revealed, the machine has been redesigned as a future-proof modular system with increased functional efficiency promoting higher operational uptime and ease of use.

The updated version reduces operational costs and energy use thanks to sealing technology advances. Plastic as well as functional paper can be used for bag production. Developed as a continuous motion vertical machine, it’s suitable for packaging small-sized, food products such as candy, nuts and dried fruits and other on-the-go products in pillow bags of different sizes. It is part of a complete packaging process with upstream and downstream equipment operating in a dry manufacturing facility. The line operates with two parallel forming tubes, achieving combined speeds of up to 500 bags per minute (weighing 10 to 18 g each).

It is also possible to run a different film reel for each tube, meaning calorie packs of different widths or designs can be simultaneously filled. A new feature to the machine is the Jumbo Roll, which allows film reels of up to 100 kg to be used for long production runs, which boosts operational efficiency. Another notable development this year, which had been due for release at Interpack, was PFM’s Solaris Evo, a time saving vertical form fill and seal wrapper.

The machine features a smart two-way film transport system that enables standard pillow bags, steelo-bags, block bottom bags and doy style bags to be produced without the need to rotate the reciprocating sealing unit. Designed in stainless steel for hygiene benefits, the R700 series of flexible vertical form fill and seal packaging machinery will also be exhibited. These unique solutions, which can process a range of different, bag styles, feature automated film reel set-up, eliminating one of the most difficult and time consuming tasks for operators

 

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