Seal in Freshness
A wide variety of automated and semi-automated bag closing systems are available for snack and bakery foods operators of all sizes.
Locking in freshness and maintaining the product’s integrity is critical when packaging breads, rolls, tortillas and other baked goods. For bakers, tamper-evident packaging can provide both of these crucial elements, says Kurt Miller, sales director-technical services for Burford Corp.
“We took a proactive approach to food safety. Something had to be done,” Miller explains. “It is our responsibility to do as much as we can to make the package safer.”
Burford’s Tamper Evident Closure System (TEC-100) and Bag Tail Flattener (BF-100) can provide a 100% seal with a consistently flat tail, the company notes. The system creates a perforated seam just below the seal for opening. It works with existing closure equipment including the Burford Servo Twist Tyer, existing bagging equipment and existing packaging materials.
The patent-pending hot air flow system can seal up to 2 mm. bags at rate of 100 ft. per minute.
In addition to giving the appearance that the package is safer, tamper-evident packaging provides a less expensive way to seal in freshness without the need for double wrapping, Miller explains.
“It can help extend shelf-life and provide premium positioning for your products without the need for double wrapping,” he says. “The sealed package addresses consumers’ concerns about food safety and provides a point of differentiation from their competitors’ products.”
Miller adds that interests in tamper-evident is not only an issue of concern in the United States, but also it’s being addressed by the international baking community.
“The good news for bakers is that we have a proven system for tamper-evident packaging,” Miller explains.
The baking, cookie, cracker and snack industry has a wide variety of automatic and semi-automatic bag-closing systems for both large and small operators.
Advances have been made in the automation of bagging and closing of donut and cookie bags, thanks to Bedford Technology LLC and Bedford Industries Inc.
According to Bedford Technology’s Lloyd Tinklenberg, vice president sales and marketing, these advances came as a result of a union between Bedford’s equipment group and its closing business.
Specifically, it involved the integration of its double-wire tin-tie reclosures with bag preparation and/or filling machine, explains Beth Radloff, marketing research specialist for Bedford Industries, Inc.
“Twist-ties, on bakery and snack items, continue to be consumer preferred because they are easy-to-use, maintain product freshness, and offer package recloseability,” she says
Bedford’s twist ties are available on spools for automatic in-line applications and make an economical closing alternative. In addition, the company offers double-wire tin-tie closures, which offer an inexpensive way to add a reclosable feature to packaging.
“Consumers like the ease of use and that it keeps products fresh,” Radloff notes.
The double-wire tin-ties also are available on continuous spools and in a variety of standard colors and can be custom color-matched as well.
Bedford Technology has developed a system to finish donut-type bags. The system accepts filled open bags from an automated filler and then gussets the bags to prepare them for closing and finishing. Once gusseted, the bags are run through a double-wire tin-tie applicator/bag closer.
“[This] is where the reclosable feature is added and the bag tops are double-folded and glued,” says Tinklenberg. “This system greatly increases the output and production efficiency along with labor reduction.”
Additionally, the company has automated cookie packaging in pre-made bags, made more efficient with its tray inserter. The system opens the pre-made bag, inserts each tray of cookies, gussets the bag and places it on a transport conveyor. The bag is then transported to a bag-finishing machine, where it is double-folded and glued. The double-wire tin-tie feature also can be added here.
Tinklenberg indicates that an additional machine can be added to plow down the finished bag top and place a label on it to hold the top down in place. This provides the appearance of a squared off top and provides a tamper-evident feature.
Many snack manufacturers are looking for higher speed/capacity in smaller floorspace, according to Toby Steward, regional sales manager at TNA Robag. Those companies want the same production to come out of fewer machines, giving them room to expand within their walls.
Steward also says that smaller portion sizes are in demand as well, and that the wide range of abilities of TNA’s machines helps manufacturers meet those demands.
“TNA’s patented stripper-tube closer system produces higher speeds with less waste,” Steward explains. “Offering single-jaw, dual-jaw, and triple-jaw formats allows manufacturers to target specific markets while keeping production flexibility.”
Chris Wanthouse, director of sales and marketing for KeyPak Machines, says his company’s EL Series machines, which form/fill/seal a gusseted, block-bottom, stand-up bag, have demonstrated strong crossover potential.
“Widely known in the coffee and tea industries,” Wanthouse says, “this style bag is showing up in many bakery ingredients and spice packaging applications for both institutional and retail markets.”
The EL Series is a less expensive option for bakers and snack manufacturers who want a bag of this variety but don’t want to sacrifice quality in the machine.
Kliklok-Woodman’s two newest bagmakers, the Polaris II and Compak II, take advantage of improvements in technology to boost reliability and lower maintenance needs. The Polaris II features full servo control, the Insight Color Touch Screen, automatic machine timing and a Yaskawa “off-the-shelf” PLC control system. The Compak II boasts a larger size range in the same compact footprint as the original Compak bagmaker, and includes the Insight operator interface, advanced electronics and servo motors.
Kwik Lok Corp. offers a printer that can put product information in real time on the plastic Kwik Lok. The company has teamed up with Markem and Squid Ink, who supply printers so that bakers could put the packaged products time, shift, date, operator ID and line number on Kwik Lok closer. In case of a recall or some other issue, the company says, the information is right there in front of consumers and customers.