What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using A Form Fill Seal Bag Machine?

What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using A Form Fill Seal Bag Machine? 

Corbi 2 - Logo removed

 

Packaging products for sales and delivery is an important step in getting your goods to customers in good condition. Thankfully, there are many packaging machines you can choose from to get the job done.

Deciding which one best meets your needs involves more than considering what it will cost. You’ll need to balance each machine's pros and cons so that you pick the one most compatible with how you operate. 

Form Fill Seal Machines are a popular choice of packaging machinery. Yet, like all machines, they thrive more in certain circumstances than others. Make sure you’re aware of the below advantages and disadvantages of your potential investment before taking the plunge.

Reduced Costs

There are significant financial benefits to investing in a Form Fill Seal Bagging Machine. It’s versatile, making it ideal for packaging anything from granules and chemicals to grains and powders. 

Some machines have weighers to ensure that each packaged product is the right volume and size, down to a ±0.5% accuracy, to ensure consistency. Other machines have built-in coders to add colour logos, product information and barcodes to packages. These elements can be added at the end of the packaging process.

If you package many product sizes, you’ll save on raw material costs by using a single packaging roll, which is cheaper than pre-made bags. You also won’t have to deal with discarding any packaging trimming, as Form Fill Seal Bagging Machines create each bag to fit the exact specified volume of the product in question.

More Time Saving 

Form Fill Seal Bag Machines can use high-speed continuous or intermittent motion to shape, fill and seal products — often at once. 

Some machines (like the Velocity 2000) can fill up to 2000 bags an hour for bags weighing 2.5 kg, 1500 bags per hour for bags weighing 10kg and 1200 bags per hour for bags weighing 25 kg. It works continuously, with the seal at the top of a filled bag already forming the next bag’s bottom.

The more packages you fill per hour, the lower your capital costs become. This means that if you’re considering short production runs (for example, fewer than 1000 bags weighing 25 kg, per hour), it’s not going to save you money. It works best when you plan on running single bag sizes and weights for at least two hours at a time.

It won’t save you time if you’re packaging products that can’t contain trapped air, such as delicate or perishable items that could perish with oxygen exposure. Most Form Fill Seal Bag Machines cannot remove air from such packages quickly or easily.

IMG_0693 - RS
4 R UMAX     PL-II            V1.4 [3]

More Product Versatility

Form Fill Seal Machines have few limitations with what it can or can’t package. However, it can’t handle liquids and it also has product density limitations. It’s ill-suited and un-economical for packaging fine, aerated and light powders or moist products needing breathing space. 

Form Fill Seal Machines aren’t equipped to work with products needing heavy duty packaging or protection. They're also ill-suited to working with multi-ply materials (for example, a package with an inner foil lining and plastic outer layer).

As customers become more concerned with sustainability and their environmental footprint, you’ll need to consider if they’ll accept plastic packaging.

Form Fill Seal Machines work best with plastic film and can't work with paper. With many governments moving to ban single-use plastic packaging, you need to know what materials will and won't be permitted in future.

Reduced Labour Requirements

 

Form Fill Seal Bagging Machines can operate 24 hours a day, only requiring a simple, 10 minute packaging film change every six hours (this may differ depending on your operating throughput). Apart from this, the entire process is automated and can take place unattended. This frees up staff members you’d typically assign to monitor the process so that they can concentrate on other tasks.

This doesn’t mean that using the machine will require no training or operation. As you’ll make your own bags, your employees will need to be trained to set up and changeover the machine and its film.

Product Packed
Product Packed 2
Product Packed 3
Product Packed 4
Product Packed 5

Easier Cleaning & Maintenance

In the past, less advanced Form Fill Seal Machines were cumbersome to install and time consuming to operate. These days, models are more compact, made of higher quality materials, have fewer moving parts and only require an annual service.

It means that you can have longer product runs and quickly clean the machine between runs. You won’t have to have separate machines for different bags sizes as one machine can now do the job of many.

Despite the above, Form Fill Seal Machines will require different forming tubes in order to produce different bag widths. However, switching from one forming tube to another is easy and quick, and can take place without equipment or tools. This will ensure your machines work quickly and cost effectively when you need it the most.

30042010-DXL_4540 - RS
30042010-DXL_4549 - RS

Work With The Right Team

No matter how well-equipped your final choice of Form Fill Seal Machine is, it won't meet your needs or save you time and money unless you get to know it as well as the people who have manufactured it.

Having the machine’s manufacturers on site as you install the machine is critical to your success. They’ll ensure that your employees operate it correctly, and that it’s optimised to package your products in a cost-effective and efficient manner. 

Webster Griffin can offer you this type of support, and much more. We’re experts in matching form fill bag machines to clients in diverse areas of operation. Entrusting us to help you select the best machine for your needs will allow you to hit the ground running. Contact us today to find out how we can help. 

To Find Out More
About Form Fill Seal Machines

Why Are So Many Businesses Investing In Form Fill Seal Bag Packaging Machines?

Why Are So Many Businesses Investing In Form Fill Seal Bag Packaging Machines?

velocity 1000 third

 

 

As a business owner, you’ll know that the right or wrong product packaging can make or break a sale. In the past packaging only listed product ingredients and serving recommendations.

However, times have changed. Over 80% of customers have tried a new product because its packaging caught their eye. 63% of customers have made a repeat purchase due to a product’s packaging and over 50% have switched brands due to a competitor’s packaging. 

The demand for packaging is also set to grow as the world’s population does, with the global middle class predicted to exceed 5 billion people in a decade. Consumers in this group are also expected to live for longer and have more buying power.

 

It’s only natural you’ll want to investigate the option of packaging your own products so that you can have total control over the process. For this, you’ll need to invest in the right machinery. Right now, Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machines are more popular than ever, and offer a synthesis between the best of film and packaging machinery developments. In fact, the FFS packaging machine market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.82% in five year’s time. Here’s why these machines are so in demand and whether investing in one would benefit your business.

How Form Fill Seal Bag Packaging Machines Help Meet Online Sale Demand

Form Fill Seal (FFS) machines are packaging machines that form, fill and seal packaging on the same machine. A roll of material is shaped and sealed before the resulting packaging is filled, sealed and separated. This continuous roll of film allows you to automate your bagging operation reliably for hours with unattended operation before needing a reel change.

Recent findings by Mordor Intelligence reveal that FFS packaging machines are becoming the machines of choice for many businesses. Vertical and Horizontal Form Fill Seal machines are suited to creating flexible packaging and are quick and efficient in doing so. You can use these machines to package anything from foods and animal feed to chemicals and aggregates.

FFS Velocity 1000 - RS

0

pic 045 - RS

0

pic 057 - RS

0

How has Covid-19 Changed Things? 

The Covid-19 epidemic has helped drive demand for more flexible packaging options. More consumers are shopping online. With increased online sales comes a need for impact and puncture-resistant packaging that can handle being passed from person to person. Packages will also be travelling longer distances and in harsh circumstances in trucks or ships. In this situation, flexible packaging can be used as it can handle being dropped or falling without shattering or breaking.

This flexible packaging is often chosen over rigid packaging in these circumstances as it offers strength at a lower cost. Research shows that flexible packaging production uses less material and creates less waste. Compared to its rigid counterparts, it can weigh up to 70% less. This makes it easier and more affordable to transport and store. It can also be equipped with protection against moisture, dust and UV rays.

Due to Covid-19, customers are buying non-perishables in bulk to prevent repeat purchases. They’re also seeking out individual sized portions of other products. Flexible packaging is preferred by customers as it tends to come in a wider range of size options. And with hygiene and safety concerns, single use packaging will likely remain in demand until the pandemic has passed.

Velocity 1000 - RS

How Form Fill Seal Bag Packaging Machines Help Businesses Lower Costs

As mentioned, the Coronavirus pandemic has boosted online product sales and the demand for flexible packaging made from light and strong films. The food and healthcare industries haven’t been as heavily impacted. However, end-use segments selling nonfoods and premium-goods have experienced reduced demand. Experts believe that this could lead to consumers seeking out lower prices for products in this category. This means that businesses will need to consider reducing their production costs to offset possible losses. 

Investing in a FFS packaging machine could help with this, depending on your desired throughput and what product you’re selling. When compared to using packaging products using pre-made bags from an external source, it will save you money, provided you fill thousands of bags at a rate of over 500 bags per hour, every year.

It does so automatically, eliminating the amount of operators required to be present on the bagging line, freeing them up for other more important tasks. When relying on manual labour, packaging errors can occur and your packaging rate can become considerably slower. Automating your packing line will dramatically boost your productivity, increase your packing rate and reduce human error.

The film used to package products in FFS packaging machines can be printed on before the bags are cut and sealed, further saving you time. Printing it in the machine lets you change product packaging types, batches or lengths without taking time to load a new film roll. It means that a single machine can be used to package an entire product range and offer you various pouch formats with just a few adjustments to the system. 

Modulo Auto Bagger For Resealable Pouches

Maintenance and Limitations 

FFS machines will also save you money and maintenance in the long term. They're easier to clean between batches and with fewer moving parts, they're less likely to break down easily or require constant maintenance. 

There are a few limitations to using FFS packaging machines. They're less suited to short production runs of one bag size (for example, less than 1000 bags weighing 25 kgs each). They’re poorly suited to packaging using paper or storing low density, aerated powders.

It also cannot easily remove trapped air from packages and while it can adjust for different lengths of packages, it’s challenging to adjust for width. Despite this, constant improvements to film sealing technology and powder handling techniques means this could change in the future.

Should Your Business Invest In A FFS Packaging Machine?

It’s apparent that many businesses are switching to using FFS packaging machines to save time and money and better meet the needs of their customers. It could be a solution that benefits your business. If you’re interested in getting one but still have questions or doubts, Webster Griffin can assist. We have over 45 years of experience in providing packaging machinery solutions for businesses big and small. We also don’t believe in offering a single solution to all businesses as we know that every business is unique in its needs. Contact us today so that we can help design a custom packaging solution that ticks all your boxes and leaves you feeling confident in your business’s future.

To Find Out More
About Form Fill Seal Machines

Form Fill Seal or Pre-made Pouches – Which Is Best For My Business?

Form Fill Seal or Pre-made Pouches —                    Which Is Best For My Business?

 

Product packaging is the final step of your business’s manufacturing process. Executed correctly, it will keep your product intact and preserve its quality as it makes its way to the customer. Pick the wrong processes or machinery and you could blow your budget and get set back days in time and labour.

Making sure your products are well packaged goes beyond picking the right packaging material and branding. Your chosen packaging process must also align with your budget, capabilities and needs.

Product manufacturers have two packaging process options: form fill seal machines (which create packages from a material roll before filling and sealing it) or pre-made sack packaging machines (which fills and seal products in pre-made pouches). Here’s what factors you need to consider before making your final decision.

FFS Render 2
Vertical FFS Machine
wagg (FFS Landing - Compacta slider)

How Much Time & Flexibility Do You Have?

Form fill seal machines are faster than pre-made sack packaging machines and can process up to 100 bags an hour. As it's automated it processes higher volumes at higher speeds. It works best with simple packaged products as increased speeds can sacrifice its flexibility. Flexibility is important in today’s market as customers want to choose between single-serve, multi-pack and family options as well as different fitment types and placements.

Form fill seal machines might not save you time if you undertake short production runs with one bag size or often scale your production up or down. If you fill different shapes and styles of bags every day, a pre-made pouch packaging machine would be more suitable. You'll need to balance your need for different pack sizes with your time requirements.

When it comes to flexibility, don't forget how easy the machine is to navigate and work with. For example, vertical form-fill-seal machines take up less space, so are preferable when operating space is tight. You could also invest in more than one machine if space allows it.

What Are Your Cost & Size Requirements?

Form fill seal machines are costlier to invest in than pre-made sack packaging machines. It makes up for its cost by eliminating ongoing labour costs and packaging more products in a single run. 

For this investment to make sense for your business, you’ll need to package thousands of bags a day.

By using a single roll stock of film to create more than one type of bag, you won’t need to order different bag types. You can also stop the production of one bag if needed, without getting left with bags you can't use. It’s estimated you can save up to 50% on material costs this way. Form fill seal machines will need some form of labour, as you’ll need an operator to change each roll once it’s depleted. 

The smaller your business is, the more important costing will be to your bottom line. You might want to start with pre-made pouches and graduate to form fill seal packaging as your production grows. You also won't need to undertake packaging quality checks as instead of manufacturing your own, you’ll use pre-made pouches from a supplier who’ll do these checks for you.

20150226_093507

Vertical FFS - Bags made from roll of flat sheet film

Vertical FFS

Horizontal FFS - Bags made from roll of tubular film

Horizontal FFS

What Are Your Cost & Size Requirements?

While form fill sealing machines package most products and work with most materials, there are exceptions. It can't work with multilayered materials or paper, hessian, jute and woven polypropylene. It also isn’t suited to packaging low density, fine and aerated powders or products requiring 100% airtight packaging. These products will need more packaging time, making their production costs unfeasible.

If you're working with products that sweat, develop mould or swell, you might prefer pre-made pouches. These tend to come in a wider range of options including zippered, stand-up or sealed form and foil, metal or clear material finishes.

As you can calibrate both machines to minimise waste, you won't end up with wasted packaging materials with either option.

CIMG2017

What Kind Of Product Will You Be Dealing With?

 

While form fill sealing machines package most products and work with most materials, there are exceptions. It can't work with multilayered materials or paper, hessian, jute and woven polypropylene. It also isn’t suited to packaging low density, fine and aerated powders or products requiring 100% airtight packaging. These products will need more packaging time, making their production costs unfeasible.

If you're working with products that sweat, develop mould or swell, you might prefer pre-made pouches. These tend to come in a wider range of options including zippered, stand-up or sealed form and foil, metal or clear material finishes.

As you can calibrate both machines to minimise waste, you won't end up with wasted packaging materials with either option.

Which Products can be packed with FFS
Which Product can be bagged with FFS 2

Before You Make Your Final Choice

As with many business decisions, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the best packaging machinery for your needs. You'll need to consider the above factors, as well as the below elements (which will be unique to your proposed packaging project):

  • Your marketing requirements. Based on your branding, you might need to select a bag in a specific style or with a specific amount of advertising space.
  • Your consumer base requirements. You’ll need to consider what your current and future consumer base wants and needs. Consider aspects such as portability, convenience, and whether an option is resealable or easy to open.
  • Your logistical requirements. The weight and shape of your packaged products will impact your transport and shipping costs. It will also impact how easy and efficient it will be to pack and palletize your products. 
  • Your staffing requirements. Are you looking for a machine to complement your current staff’s technical abilities? Alternately, will you invest in new machinery and new and higher-paid staff to operate it? Make sure that the experience of your machine operators, production staff and maintenance crew grows with your budget.

 

In Summary

No two businesses are alike, and a packaging option that suits one might not suit another. Whether you’ll enjoy a form fill seal machine or pre-made pouch packaging machine will depend on your needs.

For pure cost-saving and increased production speeds, form fill machines come out on top. If you produce specific products or need specialised packaging materials, pre-made pouch packaging machines might be more suitable.

Make sure that you know what your product requires and what customers need from your packaging before you decide. Whatever you go with, Webster Griffin can assist. We’re specialists in advising businesses to the right type of packaging machinery for their needs. We manufacture and supply both form fill sealing machines and pre-made pouch packaging machines in sectors ranging from food and beverages to fast-moving consumer goods. With close to half a century of experience in the field, few businesses are as well equipped to assist you as we are. Contact us today to get started.

IMG_0765

To Find Out More
About Form Fill Seal Machines