ULMA Packaging Ltd. claims to offer the solution to overcome many of the issues that have hampered the food industry caused by excess air in the bag.
The company has developed a VFFS Air Extraction System (Tight Bag) to tackle excess air in the bag which often leads to bigger boxes resulting in fewer packs per pallet. To get over this challenge many manufacturers will make a hole or micro perforations in the bag, but when the product is stored for long periods this can result in the food becoming tainted.
Cereal manufacturers have for many years experienced a problem on mixed products where the heavier ingredient falls to the bottom of the box (bag in box) during transport. ULMA's new 'tight bag' jaws make the pack tighter by removing air via a patented jaw design that will not damage product as per conventional options such as bag deflators. A tighter bag means mixed products are held in place during transportation.
To meet the market needs to remove as much air as possible from the packs of frozen products, without affecting the integrity of the packaging, ULMA's patented new system creates a controlled vacuum before sealing the bag – an innovative method which does not compromise packaging speeds but does reduce logistics costs.
The 'Tight Bag' system is incorporated in the horizontal cross seal area allowing the machine to reach pack speeds of up to 90 per minute, whilst controlling how much air is withdrawn from the bag. Smaller boxes mean an increase in the number of packs that can be stored on pallets, saving fuel miles, while preventing the risk of external contamination of the product due to punched holes or perforations. On some products this can mean up to an extra 20% more product per pallet/ boxes.
VFFS Business Manager at ULMA, Steve Brooks, said: "Our patented air extraction system is perfect for the food sector - the bag is automatically sealed and is not pierced which means you get full seal integrity whilst maintaining a tight bag. The amount of air that remains in the bag can be controlled directly from the HMI panel and can be adjusted during production to suit a variety of products.
"During trials we achieved at least 10-20% more packs per pallet meaning logistics costs can be reduced while at the same time speeding up delivery of products to customers."
ULMA's latest technology has already been sold into Europe and is now available in the UK. Other bag manufacturers offer similar equipment but reduce packing speeds to compensate, whereas ULMA's 'tight bag' solution has minimum impact on production rates.
In addition, ULMA, which prides itself on being part of the Mondragon Co-Operative committed to the global packaging machinery marketplace, offers a full range of stand-alone packaging options and automated lines ideal for many other sectors including fresh produce, poultry, meat, seafood and processed food.
The company launched the TSA 680 P and TSA 875 P automatic tray sealers earlier this year, specifically developed for the fresh produce industry. Meanwhile another VFFS system for herbs and loose-leaf salads, which uses a device that pulls the product down to the bottom of the bag (with Air) at speed before sealing it without damaging the herbs/leaf, is now also available in the UK.