The ultimate quality of the packages produced on horizontal flow wrappers requires a complex series of events to form and fill each package and move it through the packaging process. In the following post and “Tech Bites” video we explore the many steps that occur before and after packages are cut and sealed—from the product feed and film unwind through to the discharge belt—that must be fine-tuned to optimize seal integrity, package appearance, and productivity.
Refinements and Forming Set Designs that Boost Productivity and Package Quality
Optimizing packaging performance requires fine-tuning of the entire product flow process—from the way product is distributed into the measuring system through to the filled, sealed, and cut bag or pouch.
Symptoms of product flow issues on vertical baggers include downtime from product blockages and poor end seals and cutting problems due to product contamination of the sealing jaws and knife. Considered in isolation, as one-time incidents, each problem may only cause a relatively short period of downtime and a small amount of product and film waste. But when the cumulative impact of product flow issues is considered over time, the costs can mount.
When product flow issues grow to be chronic, and their costs are recognized, running speeds are sometimes reduced to the threshold where problems no longer regularly occur. In these cases the resulting reduced output levels may become embedded; the presence of a potentially solvable problem is masked, and opportunities to achieve full potential for output and package quality can be missed.
Fortunately, there are a number of refinements that can streamline the product flow process. Read more
When cutting problems occur on horizontal flow wrappers during a production run, what are the best procedures to get packaging lines up and running again and to keep them running? Minimizing downtime, producing consistent quality packages, and managing costs require a balanced approach that includes:
- Knowing which “quick-fix” adjustments will get knives cutting without causing additional problems and downtime. (Faster and easier is not always the best solution.)
- Broad-based, P3 Solutions that consider the entire packaging process to:
• Understand how each adjustment affects the whole system.
• Eliminate procedures that don’t work.
• Diagnose and correct the ultimate causes of problems. (Many issues stem from a combination of factors.)
• Implement solutions that help prevent cutting problems from occurring in the first place and help you Pursue Zero.
When Knives and Anvils Stop Cutting:
The following procedures can help to get knives cutting again or, if knives and anvils need to be replaced, to refine the installation process. In either case, these guidelines will reduce downtime and optimize long-term performance.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for the design of crimpers and sealing jaws on horizontal flow wrappers and vertical baggers; they should be specified according to the packaging film, products, and conditions of your packaging operation.
This post, the last in our four-part series, reviews design options for crimpers and jaws. The optimal combination of serration patterns, materials, and special features can dramatically improve seal quality and productivity when sealing across extra film layers at the end seal.
Transitions on the end seal between varying thicknesses of film created by the fin seal, lap seal, gussets, and wrinkles make it more difficult to maintain the operating window necessary for quality seals:
- Too little pressure leaves gaps, or leakers, at these transition zones.
- Excess pressure can easily crush or split the end seal.
- Overheating distorts the seal and can cause poor hot tack, where the film springs back open at transition zones or “moons,” before the seal can set.
The end results can be packages that fail to protect the product or have little appeal to consumers, as well as lost production time spent attempting to meet package quality standards.
Crimper and Sealing Jaw Design Options
Set-up procedures for knives and anvils can vary according to the make and model of the packaging machine, knife adjustment style, and other factors. There are, however, some general principles that make these adjustments more effective and efficient, reducing downtime and parts costs.
♦ Optimize Knife Design
- Knives ground on a diagonal, or bias–whether they have a zig zag or a straight cutting edge–require less pressure to cut so they are easier to set up and typically last longer.
- Zig zag knives with smaller (more) teeth are also easier to set up and provide longer life.
♦ Set Up the Crimpers First
- Clearance and Pressure Adjustments required to create a good seal can impact the knife and anvil set-up.
How Do You Know Your Adjustments are Correct?
This “Tech Bites” video and blog post from Greener Corporation explains how carbon paper can help you optimize seal quality on horizontal wrappers and vertical baggers. Read more
Even experienced users of forming sets can, over time, become conditioned to accept the hidden costs and preventable constraints of their packaging equipment. As with all waste, however, careful diagnosis of the root causes will lead to implementation of effective solutions.
One such root cause is forming tube misalignment. This can occur if the forming set has been accidentally mishandled and damaged or if the forming set has not been properly designed and fabricated in the first place. Read more
The newest video in Greener Corporation’s “Tech Bites” series demonstrates the benefits of proper cleaning procedures for crimpers and sealing jaws on horizontal flow wrappers and vertical baggers.
Greener Corporation has published a series of white papers devised to help optimize package quality and productivity on horizontal and vertical form fill seal packaging lines. In addition to helping you solve problems, these technical articles provide foundational information you can use to implement proactive improvements—an approach that helps deter problems from occurring in the first place.