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Flexible Packaging

Equipment Modifications are Essential to Run Sustainable Films

Interested in switching to more sustainable flexible packaging materials? You’ll need to make some changes to your equipment first.

In a new video, Greener Corp. outlines some equipment issues to take into consideration before testing or converting to sustainable packaging films on flow wrappers and vertical form-fill-seal (VFFS) baggers.

Changes to packaging equipment setup and component designs may be required to maintain consistent package quality and operating efficiency when switching from conventional films to paper-based recyclable or compostable materials.

Greener points out that differences in the new sustainable material’s machinability and sealability can affect the packaging process in many ways, from film unwind and package formation all the way through cutting and sealing.

Sustainable materials may be thicker or stiffer than conventional films. In addition, they may require a different sealing temperature range — a narrower range, potentially.

These materials may fold and bend differently than conventional materials, and they may wrinkle or be damaged more easily, which can cause sealing and cutting headaches, as well as cosmetic flaws in the finished package.

Packagers should evaluate the design and setup of their sealing jaws and knives and adjust them accordingly for the new material. The video points viewers to resources, such as carbon impressions, that can help identify and solve sealing and cutting problems.

The sustainable material’s specific characteristics should dictate the design of sealing jaws. For consistent quality, packagers should standardize sealing-jaw design across flow wrappers and VFFS baggers on packaging lines in all their packaging facilities.

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