The Process of Pouch Filling & Sealing
You’ve probably seen a lot of retail products in pouch packaging. Seeds, nuts, frosting, and beverages like juice and milk. Even non-food goods like motor oil and solvents are beginning to ship in pouches.
So why are companies embracing this popular packaging method? More to the point, how does it work?
You’re familiar with your own company’s production and packaging methods, but pouch packaging works a bit differently. In this article, we’re going to give you a complete rundown on how a pouch packing machine works.
Karlville offers a complete line of machines to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. Our solutions for pouch filling and sealing range from the entry SPOUTPRO FC – Mini – BP designed for automatic filling and capping with a small footprint, to the SPOUTPRO IFC- 4 which offers a complete solution for fitment insertion, sealing, filling, and capping with a capacity of up to 2000 pouches.
To give an overview of the process of pouch filling and sealing, let’s look at each step of the pouch packing machine journey with the SPOUTPRO IFC- 4.
From the Supplier to the Machine
The first step in pouch packaging is ordering or creating your pouches. Depending on what you’re packing and what machine you’re using, you may want to use anything from small, 2-inch pouches up to large, 250mm pouches.
Generally, any kind of printing is done beforehand. This process involves special ink that’s formulated not to penetrate through the plastic and into the food. If you are purchasing pre-made pouches, they are then shipped to your facility.
Some of your biggest savings from switching to pouches will come in the shipping process. As we’ve discussed before, a single truckload of pouches holds the same number of packages as 35 equivalent truckloads of rigid packaging.
Once the packages arrive, they need to be fed into the machine’s magazine. This is one of the few aspects of everyday operation that requires human interaction. The higher the magazine capacity, the fewer man-hours it will take to operate a machine.
In the case of the IFC 4-2, for example, there are three magazines: one for the pouches, one for the spouts, and another for the caps. All machines also utilize a hopper for loading your product into the injectors.
From the Magazine to the Spout
Inside the magazine, a rubberized, pneumatic piston will gently press the pouches to one side, ensuring that they feed evenly into the machine. From there, a suction arm collects the pouches one at a time, and passes them off to a series of rubberized conveyor clamps. As they pass the pouches along, the clamps tilt them on an angle, preparing them to have their spouts inserted.
The spouts come through their own magazine, and feed down a stainless steel chute to the dispenser, which drops them into the pouches one by one. When this happens, a pair of heat-seal clamps close in from each side, flash-sealing the pouch to the spout in less than half a second.
From the Spout to Your Product
Once the spout has been sealed, the conveyor clamps transport the pouches to the next station, the air extractor. There, a vacuum tube removes all of the air from your pouches.
From there, they’re quickly handed off to a new set of conveyor clamps, which close directly under the spout to prevent new air from seeping in. These clamps move through another conveyor to a series of filling injectors.
This is another important stop on your package’s journey. This machine has four injectors. By default, they’ll fill four packages simultaneously. However, you can also program the machine to inject one ingredient at a time for multi-part products such as epoxy.
From Your Product to Your Vendor
After your package is full, it gets passed along to the final station for capping. This conveyor uses sealed hoses that connect to your package’s spout. This keeps your product from getting contaminated by extra air while it’s in transit to the capping station.
There, the caps feed from their own magazine through a steel chute, and are securely fastened to the top of your spouts. Your product is now ready to get shipped out to your vendors.
Benefits For Your Vendor
Pouch packaging benefits your vendor by allowing them to reduce shrink on the retail side of their business. Since it’s difficult to partially use a product that’s been packaged in a pouch, it’s hard for retail fraudsters to return products that end up not being salable.
Another significant benefit of pouch packaging is that it allows customers to actually see the product before buying it. This improves consumer confidence, making them more likely to buy your product.
The final main vendor benefit is if product becomes spoiled or needs to be written off for other reasons. The reduced volume of pouch packaging versus traditional packaging saves them money on disposal. Since waste disposal costs are one of the major controllable costs that retailers face, this is a significant benefit.
Benefits For Your Customer
Pouch packaging provides a convenient, easy way to carry a snack, or even consumer goods. The product takes up less space as it’s used up, which helps maximize pantry or workshop space. You’re your customer is done using it, it takes up less space in their trash, saving them trash bags and trips to the curb.
As you can see, a pouch filling machine can do wonders for your company’s bottom line. From lowered shipping demands to decreased floor space requirements, to automating tasks that used to require man-hours, our machines can boost your company’s profitability for years to come.
While the Spoutpro IFC 4-2 provides the widest variety of features, it’s just one pouch packing machine in our large catalog. To see what all of our machines can do, take a look at this handy overview of our machines and features.
If you’d like more information about Karlville’s pouch packing machine options, please feel free to contact us via the web. Alternatively, you can reach our Miami office at (305)-533-1051.