Theegarten-Pactec delivers high performance, sustainable paper packaging equipment upgrade
German-based equipment specialist Theegarten-Pactec has unveiled key new upgrades to its FPC5 chocolate packaging machine line, enabling it to process paper-based flow packs at high speed, reports Neill Barston.
As the Dresden firm revealed to Confectionery Production, the modular system is now capable of performing at 90m/min – equating to handling around 600 40g bars per minute, which the business believes will make a notable impact on manufacturing operations.
The company explained that its latest move to enhance its FPC5 responds to industry demands for sustainable packaging solutions, which was highlighted by a recent Simon, Kucher & Partners study that revealed that for almost three quarters of the consumers surveyed, environmental considerations for the sector were a significant issue.
Notably, paper was rated by consumers as a particularly sustainable material, with 70 percent of them seeing it as an alternative to conventional materials. Not only does this increase the pressure on brand manufacturers to offer appropriate solutions, but the packaging industry also has to step up to the plate.
As Theegarten noted, the sector must respond to the wishes of consumers, retailers and, not least, to the requirements of legislators with resource-saving materials and processes and use sustainable packaging wherever possible. This is a trend that is naturally also being taken up by the manufacturers of packaging machines.
The company’s latest initiative has for some period sought to deliver greater sustainability in its machinery, developing material-saving wrapping methods and optimised its machines for processing particularly thin films.
Its high-performance FPC5 – a modular high-performance packaging machine for bars in flow packs – has been refined so that it can now process paper-based packaging materials: on the one hand by the common cold sealing process, on the other, by the far more complex heat-sealing process.
High performance solution
Theegarten-Pactec has developed a key solution for heat sealing paper-based packaging – in the high-performance range. Where speeds of 80 to 120 m/min are otherwise possible for conventional films in this range, an uprated 90 m/min is achieved for the paper-based packaging material on the FPC5.
Thanks to this solution, the machine can now produce a flow pack package made of barrier paper with integrated heat-sealing capability and a pure paper content of at least 95 percent. Due to the low proportions of sealing material and barrier layer against grease penetration, moisture or other environmental influences, the packaging produced can be fully recycled in the paper waste stream and reused for new applications.
Specifically, optimal processing of paper-based packaging on the FPC5 is achieved by precisely preheating the longitudinal sealing and cross-sealing areas of the paper. For this purpose, the sealing area is already preheated during the unwinding process.
Thanks to a technically sophisticated pre-drawing section, the paper does not deform during this step. In this way, the paper reaches a higher initial temperature in selected places before the chocolate bars are packaged and heat-sealed. This appreciably reduces the amount of time for which heat must therefore be applied to the paper via the sealing tools during the actual sealing process to achieve the optimum sealing temperature.
Thanks to this shortened sealing time, the high speed of 90 m/min can be achieved. In order to protect the sensitive packaging material, Theegarten-Pactec has also proactively adapted the sealing profile or the sealing jaws to the paper material to achieve a perfect match. Adjustable heating temperatures allow the process to be optimally adapted both to the requirements of the packaging material and the characteristics of the product to be packaged. This prevents damage to the packaging material and product and ensures that both are processed with particular sensitivity by the machine.
And the special nature of the sustainable packaging material was also taken into account in another area: Theegarten-Pactec has modified the forming shoulder for the production of paper-based form-fill-seal bags on the FPC5. Due to the material used and the geometry adapted to fit the packaging material, there is no risk of the paper creasing or even tearing during the formation of the flow pack.
Theegarten-Pactec has even taken the packaging process with the sustainable material a step further. For example, the FPC5 is equipped in such a way that so-called “gusseting”, i.e. indentation of the packaging material at the cross fin, can be easily accommodated with the paper packaging, ensuring that the paper does not tear at this point either.