Innovation is prevalent in the area of closing and bagging equipment as well as twist ties, clips, zippers and package resealing. Thanks to product introductions and equipment upgrades, these systems run faster and are easier to use. Quick changeover is an important feature that allows the use of different types of bags at high speeds. That’s good news for bakery and snack producers because a wide range of their products can be packaged on this equipment.
Demand from consumers and retailers is driving this innovation. High volume and efficient production are key demands of the current marketplace. Higher production rates, intuitive touchscreens and ease of operations are critical as bakery and snack producers struggle with an inconsistent workforce, according to manufacturers who supply the bakery and snack market.
All Packaging Machinery
Conveyorized Machinery & Semi-Automatic Bag Loaders
All Packaging Machinery, Ronkonkoma, NY, manufactures conveyorized bag and pouching machinery as well as semi-automatic bag loaders for wicketed bags. The company’s dual-heat horizontal band sealer can seal bags at rates of up to 100 feet per minute. A dual-heat vertical band sealer can seal standup pouches at speeds of up to 60 feet per minute. The vertical band sealer can be used alongside automatic fillers and auger systems.
Mini Tyer Pro, ClipBand, Roll N Close
Bedford Industries, Worthington, MN, has introduced the Mini Tyer Pro, a table top twist tie machine that is compatible with Bedford Twist Tie spools. The machine features fast tying (up to 60 closures per minute), easy string-up and operation, and multiple color options, according to Beth Radloff, marketing specialist. It also has a compact footprint, which is ideal for bakeries that are tight on space and need a quicker way to apply twist ties to their baked goods.
Bedford Industries also offers ClipBand, a double-wire reclosure that pinches around the neck of a package, resulting in a “fanned out” appearance. “ClipBand is a popular closure on specialty breads and for bakery and snack producers who want to give their products a high-end appearance. It can be applied automatically with Bedford’s ClipBand Applier,” Radloff notes.
Roll N Close, another Bedford innovation, is similar to Double Wire Tin-Tie, but functions as a vertical closure for flexible packaging. Pressure-sensitive adhesive sticks to the middle of a flexible package, so consumers simply roll—or fold down—the bag and pinch the tie closed between uses. “Roll N Close is ideal for flexible snack packages and may be applied with Bedford’s semi-automatic Roll N Close Applier,” Radloff adds.
Formost Fuji, Woodinville, WA, offers the GTS horizontal bagging machine, which features an easy-to-operate human machine interface (HMI). Its bag opening system provides greater tolerance to irregularities, while assuring gentle product handling and tightly bagged products, according to Angela McDaniel, marketing coordinator. “Built to operate at speeds of up to 90 packages per minute, the GTS bagger is ideal for bagging a wide range of products. There are several options for changeover between bag wickets, one being a rotary bag feed system which allows for continual operation and a quick bag change. This is an important benefit, especially in high-speed bagging operations where time is critical.”
Artic Side Seal
Harpak-ULMA Packaging, Taunton, MA, offers vertical baggers and horizontal flow wrappers with a variety of resealable options. “For vertical bagging, we have options for customers who would like to run various bag styles from pillow bags, gusset bags, flat bottom and quad seal bags all on the same machine, and with the possibility to use modified atmosphere for extended shelf life,” says Josh Becker, bakery segment product manager. These machines are suitable for small rolls, chips, pretzel bites, snack cakes, cookies, and crackers.
For horizontal flow wrapping and bagging, Harpak-ULMA Packaging has introduced the Artic Side Seal with a recloseable zipper for food processors who are venturing into the premium package market. “This is an ideal machine for flat breads, wraps, pizza crusts, gourmet cookies, and other artisan-style bakery and snack products. With cycle rates of 80 to 100 packages per minute and the ability to use film from roll stock, this system can outpace a pre-made bag packaging machine running the same items,” Becker adds.
Kwik Lok, Yakima, WA, has introduced the Kwik Fresh closing machine, which works well in in-store bakeries. The Kwik Fresh 093A measures 10.25 x 6.5 x 18.5 inches and weighs 12.5 lbs. It closes up to 30 bags per minute and can be portable or mounted. “The machine is compact and easy to use. It closes a wide variety of bakery items quickly and keeps them fresh,” says Karen Reed, global director of marketing and communications.
Demand for sustainability is driving innovation in closing and bagging as more consumers demand that product packaging to be recyclable or compostable. “At Kwik Lok, our engineers are working to improve the materials we use in our packaging closure products to meet these sustainable packaging needs,” Reed says. “We also know that closing equipment is an investment and that new sustainable closure options must be compatible with our equipment, with little or no adjustments needed.”
In addition, it is important that the closures themselves function reliably, Reed continues. “If the closure breaks after one or two uses, it’s not meeting the requirement and the risk that the product may be wasted increases. For customers concerned about sustainability, this is very important because food waste is a huge source of green house gas emissions.”
What technological advances do manufacturers see happening in the near future? Erwin van Kessel says that Syntegon is putting a lot of effort into ease of operation of closing and bagging equipment. Quicker size changeover and software that increases packaging efficiency are topics the company is seriously looking into, as well as application-specific and higher-output solutions.
Matrix, Saukville, WI, offers the Morpheus vertical F/F/S machine with AutoPro changeover capability. Multiple key changeover points are automated, allowing for rapid and repeatable changeovers and maximum production efficiency, according to Steve McConnell, regional sales manager. “This eliminates manual adjustments such as hand cranks and thumb screws in favor of precision electronic motion control. This is ideal for snack and bakery co-packers who handle a diverse array of SKUs.”
Syntegon, Waiblingen, Germany, manufactures modular vertical form/fill/seal (F/F/S) machines that can be set up for specific bag styles. The company was the first to introduce the Doy-zip bag-style on vertical bag makers, according to Erwin van Kessel, technical sales manager. “We can offer the same technology for 11 bag styles on one machine platform, which gives users the ability to adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace. We also offer solutions to reduce product damage during the packaging process. We typically pack small-sized products on our bag makers, but we also offer the flexibility to use our band sealers to handle manually packed products in pre-made bags.”
Triangle Package Machinery Co.
The Delta family of baggers from Triangle Package Machinery Co., Chicago, provides a small footprint and a sanitary design that features a stainless-steel frame and full 360-degree machine access. The baggers also offer IO-Link technology for simple setup and replacement of sensors, and adjustment through an HMI. “This is an ideal machine for products such as bakery mixes, powders and snack foods,” says Ralph Hernandez, vice president sales and marketing.
Triangle also offers a compact Delta bagger that provides an even smaller footprint at 36 inches wide with the ability to pair up two machines in the same footprint as a typical bagger. This allows users to run multiple bag sizes at the same time, from the same filling system, an attractive feature for contract packagers who may have to run 8-oz. and 12-oz. bags.
In addition, Triangle has integrated the Herrmann Ultrasonic Sonotrode into its PLC controls and designed the ultrasonic sealing jaws to allow easy adjustments in all three planes. “This makes the bagging system more productive,” Hernandez notes. “Ultrasonic sealing improves the package’s seal integrity. The high-frequency vibrations (30 kHz) remove all particulates from the seal area and produce a smaller seal (1/16 inch versus 3/8 inch for heat sealing).” The improved seal integrity provides greater product freshness while the smaller seals allow the use of less material, lowering the overall film cost to the food producer.