Four types of Vertical Form/Fill/Seal Equipment: Your Guide to VFFS Packaging
Aug 16, 2023
1 min read
Welcome to Package This — your guide to packaging machinery and materials, where today we’ll explore vertical form/fill/seal equipment, also known as vertical baggers.
Vertical form/fill/seal machines, often called VFFS, are quite distinct from pre-made bag systems we explored in another episode. As the name implies, these machines form bags from plastic rollstock, fill products into the newly formed bag, and immediately seal them – all on the same machine. How’s that for efficiency?
First, let’s check out the pillow pouch machine, a true classic in the VFFS world. These machines create bags that have seals on the top, bottom and back of the package. A pocket of air inside the flexible bag puffs up the flexible film, adding a layer of protection to the precious cargo that’s inside the bag, such as pretzels or chips.
As the machine unwinds filmstock onto a forming collar to create a tubular shape, sealing jaws create a bottom seal. The bagger then measures and deposits the precise amount of product before creating the top seal, which becomes the bottom seal of the next bag. The film is then cut and packaged for shipping.
Let’s see a pillow pouch bagger from Syntegon in action
The Woodman Apache CM bagmaker features a patented, high-speed sealing motion that provides extended seal dwell time, and superior seal integrity across a range of film materials for high density foods like nuts, fruits, gummies, candies, and cookies.
Another pillow pouch bagger model is the Woodman P3c, a continuous-motion VFFS bagmaker designed for light, low-density snack foods like potato chips and extruded snacks. Its product clamp and settler stop and shake products falling through the film tube. Its jaw stripping motion sweeps the end seals clear of any smaller particles that may interfere with the seal. Both the Apache and the P3c are built on a Flex-Mount frame that bears the weight of small weighers, augers, and volumetric fillers.
The Woodman SVX Agile is the newest VFFS bagmaker in Syntegon’s lineup. The SVX can reach speeds up to 300 bags per minute, thanks to its revolutionary new cross-seal drive system with four independently controlled servo motors.
If you think VFFS systems are just for snacks – think again! Vertical baggers can handle a wide range of solid products, including non-food items as we will see now.
Rennco offers a cost-effective sealer on its vertical baggers that handle a wide variety of products that are packaged in center folded polyethylene or polyolefin films. From bagging bulk packs of rigid trays, to wipe cloths, to stacks of paper plates and multipack bags of aspirin, Rennco can customize machines from its broad range of semi-automatic vertical baggers to handle a wide range of solids. Baggers feature specially designed product handling, counting, accumulating, and feeding devices for complete automation. Rennco’s vertical baggers also handle bagging rolls of industrial tape and even printer cartridges vertically Whether using a standard sealer for a hand-loaded application or integrating a system to completely automate a packaging line, Rennco is committed to providing state-of-the-art, quality equipment to its customers.
Now, let's dive into the liquid world! VFFS technology doesn't shy away from liquids or semi-liquids. Soups, sauces, condiments can all be filled hot on VFFS machines. They also do cold filling for dairy products, keeping them cool, smooth, and creamy!
Quad-seal bags feature four seals. Taking on a fabulous rectangular shape these bags stand out on store shelves due to their prominent squared-off appearance. They’re a great choice for coffee products, nuts, snacks, cookies, and other powdery or granular goodies.
Portion pack bags, or sachets, use the same vertical bagging technology described earlier, except for much smaller package sizes. These little guys hold just enough product for a single portion or use. With sachets, the roll stock will be cut into small strips, filled, and sealed on four corners to form square- or rectangular-shaped bags for items such as condiment and sugar packets used in food service applications. Examples of non-food items typically packed in sachets include aspirin samplers, facial mask packs, and airline earphone packs for commercial airlines.
Next, we turn to stick packs. They are like the sleek siblings of sachets in that they also carry small portions of products perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle. However stick packs feature a long, tubular shape. Because stick pack machines work with such small amounts per package, the forming, filling and cutting of stick packs demands a great deal of precision. Tubes are sealed with a bottom and top seal only much as with pillow bags, just on a smaller and thinner scale. Stick packs can be used for dry goods such as powder drink mixes or pharmaceutical products or squeezable viscous fluids such as mayonnaise and honey.
From popcorn bags to soy sauce sachets to stick packs for on-the-go powdered drinks, vertical baggers have you covered. It’s easy to see why so many brands in different industries depend on VFFS technology for their efficiency, speed, and versatility in forming, filling, and sealing bags in a single, seamless operation.
For more videos on packaging machinery and materials, please subscribe to our full Package This series on YouTube. And for a deeper dive into the vertical form/fill/seal technology we discussed here, explore PMMI ProSource, a searchable directory with 1,000 packaging and processing suppliers. Visit ProSource.org to search suppliers by package type, material, or features. Thanks for watching!