As the IQF vegetable market moves towards stand-up pouches, ILAPAK is at the ready with a new generation of versatile bag makers that can switch seamlessly between films and formats, whether LDPE pillow packs or laminated PET/PE pouches.
“There is a growing trend towards the use of stand-up pouches for packing frozen vegetables, as this format optimises freezer space and enhances the visual appeal of products. However, most companies still need the facility to produce conventional pillow packs, and to switch between formats - particularly if they are packing for several different customers on one line. This is where our VT Vegatronic bag makers come into their own: they can run off the full range of vertical bag styles, including pillow, block-bottom, Quattro and pouch packs, with fast and tool-less changeover,” says Andrea Boccolini, VFFS Division Product Manager at ILAPAK.
Besides being able to run the gamut of bag styles, Vegatronic bag makers can cope with a variety of films, including LDPE - the nemesis of many VFFS designers.
“LDPE has a reputation for being difficult to work with because it sticks to the sealing bars, increasing maintenance requirements; sometimes it leads to drastic drops in overall efficiency. On top of this LDPE is sometimes very flimsy and stretches easily, making it hard to maintain the constant film tension that is essential for high speed-high quality performance. ILAPAK machines have been engineered to deal with these challenges and are equipped with quick release sealing bars and spare kits so an operator can easily change the wear-and-tear parts such as the Teflon tape while the machine keeps running with very short work change-over. We also use rubber coated rollers to prevent the LDPE from stretching and to keep tension consistent on its way to the sealing jaws in order to get the best presentation for our bags,” says Andrea.
He continues: “There are very few bagmaker manufacturers in the world that offer a full range of open frame machines like ILAPAK. Hygiene is one of the top requirements of this industry and our machines make minimal use of assembled parts, giving our customers assurance that there are no cavities where dirt and debris can accumulate compared to traditional closed frame machines. Some people are sceptical about having exposed components when there is no frame to protect them but ILAPAK machines have been engineered with full wash-down components and having no frames for product to slip into is a massive advantage in preventing bacteria from harbouring.”
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