Choosing the right bagging machine

Bagging machines allow the packaging of products whether they are liquids, fluids or solids. They are used in various sectors such as the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Bagging consists of a product preparation stage (weighing, counting, dosing, etc.) followed by a filling stage and then cutting and sealing of the package.

They should not be confused with packaging machines, wrapping machines and other heat sealers.

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  • How to choose a bagging machine?

    Automated Packaging Systems bagging machine

    In order to choose the right bagging machine, you will need to determine what type of product you need the machine for. There are bagging machines for liquids, solids, powders, gels, creams, etc. You will also need to define the material of the packaging you want to use, for example polyethylene or PVC film, and whether it is shrink wrap or not.

    You will also need to ask yourself about throughput:

    • The filling capacity per minute, i.e. the number of bags or sachets per minute.
    • The filling capacity per bag or sachet in milliliters, liters, grams or kilos.

    You will then need to define the type of packaging that your product requires:

    • The dimensions of the bag or sachet which depend on the volume of the product to be bagged.
    • The shape of the initial packaging product, for example a plastic roll or preformed bags.

    Finally, you will need to determine the type of sealing, i.e. whether the bagging process requires a one, two, three or four-sided seal, which depends on the initial shape of the packaging product:

    • A pre-formed bag requires a seal on one side. The filling before sealing can be manual or automatic.
    • Tubular packaging requires sealing on two sides. The product to be packaged must be introduced into a sheath before sealing and cutting it. This type of bag can be used for manual bagging or for fully automatic operation with a form fill seal (FFS) bagging machine.
    • A roll of flat or backfolded film requires a three-sided seal. For liquids or powders, the bag or sachet is sealed on two sides before filling, then the last side is sealed and possibly cut.
    • A four-sided seal can be made from two reels or from a single reel with the film cut in half. With a horizontal bagging machine, the product to be packaged is placed on the bottom film before the top film is applied and sealed on all four sides (e.g. for tea bags). With a vertical bagging machine, the two parts of the film are sealed on three sides before filling, then the fourth side is sealed and finally cut.
  • Horizontal or vertical bagging machine?

    PFM Packaging Machinery horizontal bagging machine

    The type of product to be bagged determines the type of bagging machine you will need:

    • Vertical bagging machines are designed to bag liquids, powders, gels, creams and small parts. They use gravity for filling.
    • Horizontal bagging machines are designed for packaging solid products, whether or not they are in a single block, for example cheese, meat, soap, cookies, etc.
    • Inclined bagging machines are a variation of vertical bagging machines. They also use gravity for filling and are intended for the packaging of fragile products or heavy, aggressive products.
  • What are the different types of of bagging machines?

    Ishida flow-pack bagging machine

    Depending on the type of product you need to bag, there are different types of bagging machines available:

    • Flow-pack bagging machines (VFFS for vertical bagging machines or HFFS for horizontal bagging machines). Flow-pack bagging machines operate in three stages: forming the bag by sealing the bottom from a reel of flat film, tubular film or film with backfill; filling and compacting the product and finally closing the bag.
    • Stick pack bagging machine: stick pack bagging machines are continuous motion machines that allow liquids, powders or granulates to be put into a tube (made by a shaper from a roll of film), then sealed on two sides and cut into bags into sets (several bags strung together) or individual doses.
      For food or pharmaceutical products, the bagging machine can integrate a nitrogen injection system for better preservation of the products.
    • Weight bagging machine: weight bagging machines allow you to fill open-mouth bags while weighing the product inside. The bag is then sealed. This type of bagging machine can be fully automated or semi-automated.
      Some weight bagging machines offer bottom filling to minimize dust emission and ensure hygienic bagging. For very fine powders, you may want to look into vacuum bagging machines that use porous valve bags. For compressible materials such as loose insulation materials, you can turn to a compression bagging machine, which allows you to greatly reduce the size of the bag for the same weight of material and makes it easier to pack your products on pallets.
    • Vacuum bagging machine: Vacuum bagging machines are a sub-category of the bagging machines listed above, as they allow a vacuum draw before the final sealing of the bag or sachet.
  • What other characteristics should you consider?

    Some bagging machines can integrate the marking of bags or sachets, either by inkjet, thermal transfer or laser printing.

    Some manufacturers can offer you bagging machines with additional options, for example:

    • A handle forming unit: this option can be helpful for your customers if you make bulky or heavy bags
    • A double weld at the top, with a perforation for hanging
    • Automatic closing of bags with a clip link
    • Automatic capping
    • Automatic labeling
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