What Materials Can Be Filled Into Big Bags?

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What Materials Can Be Filled Into Big Bags?

Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers

When you think of sophisticated filling machinery, it's easy to assume that most only cater to small bag sizes. While many machines work with this size designation, it’s also possible to automate the processing of filling Bulk Bags or Big Bags. Integrating the right machine into your operations can ramp up your output and help grow your business. Here’s what you need to know about Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container (FIBC) bag filling machines, what you can store in them, and whether you should invest in one.

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Products That You Can Store In FIBC Bags

FIBC bags (also known as jumbo, bulk or big bags or super sacks) describe any industrial container made of flexible fabric. They’re usually made from woven plastic fibres like polypropylene or PVC. When it comes to filling them, they can store agricultural products like flour or grains; animal feed and pet food; chemical powders; construction products like sand and cement; dry foods like sugar and nuts as well as mining products like coal and ore.

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What If I Don't Sell Any Of The Above?

Even if you don’t sell any of the above, FIBC bags could be an option for you if you’re looking to fill bags at volumes between five and seven pounds. Food safe and chemical-free versions are available that keep out moisture and pests. They can be equipped to contain hazardous products without releasing fumes or generating static charge, making them safe. They can also be reinforced to be strong enough to also travel long distances in harsh conditions. As you can often reuse them, they’re an eco-friendly way to package products.

Using The Right Machinery To Package FIBC Bags

To get the most out of your FIBC bags, you’ll need to invest in the right kind of filling machinery. FIBC filling machines range from basic stand alone units to sophisticated systems to match the budget and capacity requirements of each customer’s application. These machines pour product into open bags placed below them - directly (or via a spout for spout top bags) to avoid spillage. These machines automatically fill each bag, stopping and detaching when it’s filled. If you have an existing conveyor line or pallet/forklift setup, it can be integrated into it.

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Alternatively you can buy a machine with a built-in conveyor to transport materials to your loading site and fill them at once. The specific type of conveyor you choose will depend on the size of your factory as well as what product you’re working with.

If you work with multiple product types on a larger scale, a pneumatic system using industrial vacuums and blowers is an option. This option is also enclosed, making it suitable for food products or anything in risk of contamination.

 

What To Consider Before Selecting A Machine

Before you make your final selection, you’ll need to know what kind of FIBC bag you’ll be dealing with. This includes details on its dimensions, weight and height. You’ll also need to consider your pallet size, transport method and your customer needs.

If you aren’t sure which one would best suit your business, you should work with an expert in pairing the right machines with businesses based on their budget, capacity and requirements.

Webster Griffin has the experience to help guide your decision, so why not get in touch with us for advice?

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An Insight Into Webster Griffin’s Installation For Inspired Pet Nutrition (IPN) Ltd

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An Insight Into Webster Griffin’s Installation For Inspired Pet Nutrition (IPN) Ltd?

The Webster Griffin Process

When it comes to installing Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machines, our approach differs from client to client. Despite this, we approach each challenge with a similar mindset and process.

To give you an idea of what you can expect when working with us, here’s how we planned and executed a FFS machine installation for a major UK-based pet food supplier.

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How Did Webster Griffin Get the Opportunity To Install A Form Fill Seal Machine At Ipn?

Inspired Pet Nutrition (IPN) Ltd approached us to design and install a packaging solution for their North Yorkshire facility. IPN is a pet food manufacturer that produces Harrington's brand of pet foods. Their product range includes dedicated lines for senior dogs or dogs with food sensitivities. They also offer products for other animals like rabbits or mice.

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IPN requested that our solution include a high-speed packing line capable of packaging high volumes of products in various sizes, with minimal downtime and human involvement necessary. The solution would also need to address their palletising and conveying needs.

What Client Specific Challenges Did Webster Griffin Face When Installing The FFS Machine?

IPN needed to reduce their machine’s downtime and cut down on the manual labour required to palletise, wrap and convey their packaged products. Their packaging system would need to be controllable and automated. It would also need to deliver maximum operating efficiency on a national level.

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What Was The Resounding Feeling After The Commissioning Of The FFS Machine At IPN?

Webster Griffin was able to assist IPN from design to installation. Following a training and onboarding process, IPN took ownership of their system and to date have been happy with its output and capabilities. Since then, they've gone on to order two additional palletising lines, as well as an integrated service report contract.

Using a FFS packaging machine can decrease the time you spend packaging products — streamlining the process and removing added steps. It means that you can package more products in less time, with reduced waste and fewer hands involved.

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Is FFS Bagging A Simpler, More Cost-Effective Alternative To Valve Sack Filling?

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Is FFS Bagging A Simpler, More Cost-Effective Alternative To Valve Sack Filling?

FFS Machines vs Valve Sack Filling Machines

In the past, manufacturers packaging high density, light or fine powdered products had to use a valve sack filling machine. While Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machines also existed at the time, early versions couldn’t package these kinds of products well. It meant that businesses were forced to choose between the two machines, forgoing the benefits FFS machines have to offer.

While this might have been true in the past, it no longer is. FFS packaging machines have evolved in leaps and bounds since their invention. Here’s how they currently measure up to valve sack filling machines, and why you should consider switching to one.

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What Do Valve Sack Filling Machines Do?

Valve sack filling machines have long existed and were — and are — primarily used to package powder products like chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foods, minerals, fertilizers, animal feed and more.

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Valve bags are usually made from one or more paper layers, although some are made from polyethylene (PE), which is a light but durable plastic, making it robust and better able to protect products against moisture. Both materials are designed to be easy to handle and palletize.

Most valve sack filling machines excel at filling products into bags quickly and with reduced waste. However, some struggle with removing air from the packaged products, risking the packages later bursting under pressure. They also struggle at preventing product dust from spreading, creating a potential health and safety hazard.

How Do FFS Packaging Machines Compare To Valve Sack Filling Machines?

FFS packaging machines offer aerated and fine particulate product manufacturers an efficient, affordable and safe way to package their products. A common concern when packaging powders is its potential harm to the people exposed to it. The finer the product is, the easier it is to inhale. FFS packaging machines dramatically reduce dust, making it a safer choice for employees.

Another advantage they offer is that they can remove excess air by densifying products and making their packaging more airtight. They’re also more stackable and stable during packing, transportation and storage.

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Many FFS packaging machines also support important functions like weighing and palletizing. The process starts when the product is fed into the hopper or feeder. Once a bag is formed, the product is filtered and vacuumed to mechanically compact it. Following this, specific weights are dosed into each bag before the bag is sealed. The bags are then transported to a palletizing machine via a conveying system.

Using a FFS packaging machine can decrease the time you spend packaging products — streamlining the process and removing added steps. It means that you can package more products in less time, with reduced waste and fewer hands involved.

Choose The Right Packaging Machine Partner

Not all FFS packaging machines are equipped to handle powder products. It’s why it’s important to partner with a company that can customise a packaging system to the specific product you make. Webster Griffin can assist you in accomplishing this, so contact our team today to get started.

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What Factors Should Businesses Look For When Investing In A FFS Machine Besides Cost & Speed?

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What Factors Should Businesses Look For When Investing In A FFS Machine Besides Cost & Speed?

What Other Factors Should I Consider?

When you’re considering buying a Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machine, it’s easy to focus exclusively on its primary benefits. Its throughput per hour and overall cost will be a major deciding factor for your business. However, these shouldn’t be the only elements you focus on if you want to get the most value from it in the long term. To ensure your FFS machine integrates seamlessly into your operations and saves you time and money, here are two factors worth keeping in mind.

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Advanced Technology

In the past, it was standard for FFS machines to operate without an accessible operating interface or network. Businesses had to make do with generic machines simplified to support as many different packaging needs as possible. If any problem occurred, you had to shut the machine down and seek professional help. This resulted in unavoidable delays and a significant loss of money.

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FFS machines should place the power in your hands, allowing you to take over operating and troubleshooting where possible. Some machines are customisable via specialised software. It means you can control and track its packaging film or regulate and control your bag sealing temperatures. Some machines also have bilingual interfaces and touch screens so you can intuitively operate them.

Some FFS machines have USB-based data systems. This means you can plug its USB into a computer to view its analytics, performance and accuracy — allowing you to detect and resolve minor problems in-house. It helps you keep up with its maintenance schedule, keeping downtime to a minimum and maximising productivity. Some machines can even integrate into a line control system, which means they’ll automatically slow down or speed up based on the rest of the production line.

Advanced Flexibility

In the past, businesses wanting high packaging speeds had to buy dedicated machines for different package sizes. If a machine did support many sizes, it usually required time consuming and complex changeovers between runs. This forced businesses to invest in multiple machines for different product ranges and sizes. It also meant they had to invest in a larger factory space and more employees.

We now know that you can get fast packaging speeds without compromising on versatility. It means that your machine should match its high throughput speeds with flexibility. Few markets request a single type and size of product, with most demanding various ranges to meet different needs. A FFS machine should support a range of packaging materials and styles. It should also support shorter product runs with different package types and sizes.

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Your FFS machine can save you even more time by integrating other functions into your packaging line. For example, some machines can automatically remove air from food product packaging, replacing it with gas to extend its shelf life. Others automatically label your products with best by dates or stockist information.

Focusing on how your FFS machine can facilitate the latest technology and more flexibility means that you’ll enjoy high throughput speeds without having to compromise on any other functionality. It also means that you’re paying for a machine that will help you cut costs and grow with your business.

What Now?

If you’re still unsure as to what exactly you need to be looking for when purchasing a FFS product packaging machine, Webster Griffin can help. With years of experience in customising packaging solutions for businesses, we can match you with a system that’s affordable and fast — without compromising on technology or flexibility. 

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4 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Form Fill Seal Machine

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4 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Form Fill Seal Machine

Detecting The Signs Early.

Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machines are popular as they are quick and efficient at packaging products. If you’ve already invested in one, your business will benefit — but not if you keep using it when it no longer meets your needs, requires fixing or modification. 

You don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to detect when this starts happening. Here are 4 signs that your FFS packaging machine needs an upgrade or replacement.

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Your Demand Exceeds Your Output.

Having your product demand exceed your output isn’t the worst problem to have, as it’s a sign that your business is growing. If this hasn’t happened yet, you should decide at which point you’ll need a greater output capacity. This depends on whether you transport your products immediately after packaging or if they remain in storage until ordered. If you calculate that an X amount of increased orders in a timeframe will cause delays, you can plan for a new machine — with time to hire and train more workers if needed.

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Your Throughput Has Slowed Down

Good production speeds require the right workers, machinery, and workload. Place too much pressure on either component and you’ll face a drop in quality and slower throughput. Workers who can’t keep up with your output will end up working under stressful conditions, in turn risking mistakes and injuries. They could also leave, forcing you to find and train workers from scratch. Upgrading to an automatic machine can increase your throughput, freeing up your workers to do other tasks and work at a reasonable pace.

Your Machine Can’t Package New Formats And Sizes

You never know when your product packaging might need to change. Being able to adapt to these changes will keep your business relevant and customers happy. For example, your customers might want to buy a single serving product in a larger package. Some older FFS machines can’t increase bag widths or need a complicated, lengthy process to do so. If demand warrants it, you might need a machine that can package different sizes and shapes in a single line output.

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Your Machine Is Outdated And Keeps Making Errors 

It’s a reality of working with machines that eventually you’ll have to replace them. FFS machines are evolving to do more work in less time and include advancements like the ability to work with resealable closures or metallic materials. Even if your machine offers these services, with time it can start causing errors or working slower than before. One example of this is product wastage. A malfunctioning machine could overfill your bags or seal leaky ones.

Why Us?

If your machine is old or your packaging needs have changed, the thought of reentering the marketplace to replace it can be intimidating. Keep the process simple and stress-free by partnering with a supplier specializing in providing businesses with FFS machinery and other product packaging solutions. Contact Webster Griffin to get the process started.

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Is It Possible For An FFS Machine To Pack Cements & Fine Powders Into Plastic Bags?

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Is It Possible For An FFS Machine To Pack Cements & Fine Powders Into Plastic Bags?

Exploring The FFS Market

Building, infrastructure and construction industries around the world rely on cement for its versatility and wide range of applications. It’s used in everything from small residential projects to massive industrial builds and experts predict that this year, global cement production will exceed 4 billion metric tons.

If you sell cement products and are looking for a new packaging solution, you might be considering purchasing a Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machine. Before you do, here’s what you need to know about this machine’s capabilities.

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How Should Cement Be Packaged?

Paper bags and fabric sacks are popular materials for packaging cement, thanks to their low cost and ease of use. However, they might not protect your product adequately or be a feasible packaging option when you’re scaling up your production volumes. With FFS machines becoming more widely adopted and packaging materials like polyethylene (PE) widely available, you might wonder if this option is right for you. Here’s what you should know.

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Cement requires careful packaging to preserve its quality. You’ll need to protect it from water, dampness or moisture to avoid triggering a chemical reaction that will harden it. You’ll also need to package it securely to keep it from rupturing and spilling. 

Pick the wrong packaging and you could end up selling a poorly performing or useless product. It’s important to remember that a moisture content of just 5% can render a bag of cement useless for construction — and if its packaging allows it to leak, it could lead to workers inhaling it unknowingly.

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Packing Cement Using FFS Machinery

PE has become a popular packaging material as it’s cheap, accessible and can keep air and moisture away from the products it packages. Using it with your FFS machine could help you package your cement products quicker and more efficiently.

Before you make the switch, you should recognise that FFS machines have certain limitations. Cement is a fine and light powder and will need special treatment during packaging. FFS machines tend to trap air inside the packaging when dealing with lightweight and aerated powders like cement. This can cause it to burst or make each package bigger and more challenging to store and transport.

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What's the Solution?

To circumvent this, some FFS machine manufacturers perforate the packaging material so air can escape. This solution might work in the short term but in time will allow atmospheric moisture to enter the packaging and ruin the cement. 

A creative solution is required here. You’ll need to work with a FFS machinery manufacturer that won’t just give you a standard solution and will be willing to adjust the machine to your needs. Your FFS system can integrate a combination of air blasting, deaeration or evacuation technology to keep your cement hermetically sealed.

Why Us?

As a specialist in FFS packaging machines, Webster Griffin can develop a solution for your business that saves you time and money while keeping the integrity of your product intact. For more information on how we do this, contact us today.

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What Is The Future For Form Fill Seal Packaging Industry?

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What Is The Future For The Form Fill Seal Packaging Industry?

No business wants to invest its hard-earned money into equipment that future technological advancements will render obsolete. Ideally, any large purchase should remain useful for long enough for it to recoup its cost and boost your profits. 

If you’re contemplating bringing your product packaging in-house, you’ll want to know that whatever machine you choose will have value for your business in the future. Otherwise, you’ll be better off outsourcing your packaging to another business for the time being.

Form Fill Seal (FFS) and Premade Pouch (PMP) packaging machines are popular options for businesses managing their own product packaging. But will these options remain competitive in tomorrow’s market? Or will one gradually replace the other?

Here’s what you need to know about both.

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Exploring The FFS Market

2021’s FFS equipment market is set to reach USD 19.47 billion — a sizable leap from 2016’s figure of USD 15.31 billion. A combination of factors have contributed to this growth.

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FFS Packaging Machines Promote Food Safety

With the world still grappling with Covid-19, packaging hygiene and safety is a concern for consumers and businesses. Tracking the spread of the pandemic has illustrated just how easily it can be spread through human contact and cross contamination. Many governments have put in place stringent rules to ensure food items are safely produced, packaged and delivered. 

Some FFS packaging machines can facilitate this. For example, many can create a controlled and sterile packaging environment using filtration and sanitization. This helps create an aseptic packaged product with an extended shelf life and reduced need for refrigeration. The machines can also be automated, eliminating human contact to further reduce contamination. 

This allows you to present a safe product to customers and buyers with confidence, while reducing food spoilage and wastage.

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FFS Packaging Machines Integrate Flexible Material Options

Not too long ago, plastic was the material of choice for affordable but protective product packaging. These days, increased awareness of its impact on the environment has decreased its popularity. FFS packaging machines are well placed to integrate flexible food packaging.

These films seal better for improved weldability. They’re puncture-proof and can keep their shape without wrinkling or denting. Some films are even made from bio-based raw materials that can be composed or recycled. These advances will impress customers and help you remain compliant with local regulations.

FFS Packaging Machines Offer Quicker Troubleshooting & Recalibrating

Product packaging rarely remains static. Being able to adapt to changes in branding trends or market demand will help your business stay on top. Today’s FFS packaging machines integrate sophisticated software that captures and tracks packaging data. This information can be shared with external devices, allowing you to access it via a phone or PC, even if you’re offsite. 

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Being made aware of an issue without having to take your machine apart will save you time and money, as well as unnecessary callouts. For example, a smarter machine system integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology could alert you to the fact that your seal is too hot, causing your film to stick and jam in the forming tube.

AI can also help inspect your goods more intelligently, ensuring that each shipment contains the right product in the right quantity. and is going to the right location. Quality inspection is an important part of the packaging industry and in future, FFS machine systems using AI technology will become a staple in food packaging. These machines will be able to detect and identify anomalies, perform quality inspections, classify products, track statuses in real-time, and reduce human error.

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FFS Packaging Machines Easily Offer Multiple Size Options

The number of single-headed households is increasing, and family sizes are also getting smaller. It means that family size and bulk products are no longer the standard when it comes to packaging. Consumers want to control their portion sizes, and no longer have to bulk shop as they can order items online for same day delivery.

FFS packaging machines possess the ability to adapt to small and large packaging demands and style changes. They can do this with little downtime and improved efficiency.

But What About Pre-made Pouches?

While FFS packaging machines are growing in popularity, so is the use of pre-made pouches and the machines that package them. Research shows that the global pre-made pouch packaging market will grow at a CAGR of over 4% for the next 8 years. It demonstrates that PMP packaging machines will retain a foothold in the market. 

So how can your business determine if this option is best for it, or if they should invest in a FFS packaging machine?

As it turns out, PMP packaging machines offer many of the same benefits that FFS packaging machines do. They produce packaging resilient enough to resist damage, increase product shelf life, and reduce waste. They both produce flexible bags in various sizes that are easy for consumers to use and handle. 

Modern PMP packaging machines now include automatic infeeding systems (reducing the number of people required to operate it). Others can run multiple bag formats with height adjustability increasing the number of pouches the machine can run.

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Choosing The Best Option For Your Business’s Future

While FFS and PMP packaging machines have evolved to overcome many common pain points, both still have limitations. FFS packaging machines are a better option if you’re looking for flexibility and fast packaging and changeover speeds. They’re also less likely to drop unfilled bags or incorrectly seal them. PMP packaging machines are more economical for short or limited production runs. They’re also better suited to packaging aerated and low density products.

It means that when it comes to the future of your retail packaging, both forms of packaging will remain popular for different products. Knowing what you’ll be packaging then (and now) will shape your decision. 

For example, pet food (which can come in pellet, chunk or paste form) is sold without refrigeration. It also comes in a variety of sizes (depending on pet type and breed) and is more likely to be produced in long production runs due to its longer shelf life. This would make it better suited to a FFS packaging machine.

Packaging foodstuffs like gluten-free cake flour would require a different approach. This very fine and light product needs more careful packaging. It will also be produced in shorter production runs, as it isn’t a widely consumed product and has a limited shelf life. This makes it better suited to PMP packaging.

Before You Decide...

If you’re looking for unbiased advice on what machinery will help your business meet its packaging needs now and in the future, you’re better off choosing a supplier that offers both machines.

Webster Griffin can help you make the best decision for your current and future product packaging needs. We’ll help you pick a solution that meets your budget and time requirements and most importantly, one that will grow with your business.

To get started, contact us today.

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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? 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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

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

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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.

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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. 

FFS Compacta 1600

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.

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

Form Fill Seal or Pre-made Bags — 

Which Is Best For My Business?

Form Fill Seal or Pre-made Bags — 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 bag 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
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How Much Time & Flexibility Do You Have?

Form fill seal machines are faster than pre-made bag 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 bag 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 bag/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.

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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 bags. 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.

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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 a pre-made bag 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.

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