By Peter Miller, managing director of Tisomi Ltd.
Figures suggest that since the start of the 21st Century there has been a three-fold increase in the use of automated packaging machinery in the global food sector and flow wrapping systems are influencing this transformation, allowing a vast array of jobs, once done manually, to be performed with greater speed, accuracy and efficiency.
At Tisomi we specialise in flow wrappers – the packaging of choice for many in the fresh produce, bakery, morning goods and confectionery sectors. Flow wrappers are also ideal for wrapping odd-shaped and difficult houseware and novelty items, from candles, napkins and paint rollers to dusters, sponges, wipes and cloths.
Quick turnaround, high performance, rugged construction and reliability are all key requirements, coupled with superior levels of technical back-up and sustained investment in research and development. Technical support is crucial during the initial installation of a flow wrapper to sort out any teething issues. To be successful, machine suppliers like Tisomi must offer comprehensive product trials to ensure accurate product alignment, a secure seal and the best possible product presentation, in effect we need to support the customer's needs from start to finish.
Sourcing a machine supplier that offers this total package, which should include excellent customer service and a comprehensive stock of spare parts, is as important as choosing the right equipment solution in the first place – if the customer is to achieve speed to market and flexibility in an ever more demanding marketplace.
Flow wrappers are highly-versatile packaging machinery which can improve productivity, enhance a products' pack presentation and performance and protect the integrity of goods, especially important with the rising popularity of internet shopping.
Ideally, all machine suppliers need to work closely with their customers to achieve the desired results of reliability, efficiency, ease of use and hygiene. Take chocolate for example. This temperature sensitive product is traditionally flow wrapped and there is now a cold seal option so that when it's unwrapped it keeps that audible snap when chunks of the bar are broken off.
Radfords Fine Fudge Ltd, an artisan manufacturing company of over 50 years standing specialising in traditional fudge and other confectionery products, reported improved presentation and a more than five percent reduction in costs after installing a Tisomi flow wrapper to replace the manual process of weighing and sealing individual bags of its delicious fudge.
Delicate food items need the gentle touch. The extensive choice of flow wrapping equipment for fruit and vegetables is leading many supermarkets to make it their preferred packaging for hard fruit. Fresh produce suppliers, irrespective of size, might have to consider investing in flow wrappers if they are to remain competitive when dealing with high street chains.
Machine manufacturers need to work in partnership with materials producers, machinery users and ultimately, the retail industry to be able to truly understand the powerful influences that are shaping packaging design, particularly in areas such as horizontal form, fill and seal equipment, which has been a traditional mainstay of many packing lines.
For film producers, new materials technology is constantly moving forwards and it is essential that machine manufacturers maintain close links to ensure they are up to speed with these developments. However, companies like Tisomi take on board the requirements of the retailer and the producer, whilst working with the best available film materials to ensure maximum packaging line efficiency.
It's a great assurance for all users to know that flow wrappers can comfortably handle an immense array of products. Businesses cannot stand still, so their ability to add value to existing products through better pack presentation and performance by using machinery that comfortably facilitates new product development, has immense long-term value.