February 17, 2023
Harpak-ULMA's Tight-Bag machine for poultry is now available in North America. The Tight-Bag technology combines vertical bagging with an air extraction process to automate vacuum bagging for many food products.
The Tight-Bag machine produces leakproof bags without perforations and includes HMI-adjustable air volume – a process that can facilitate up to 15% more bags per case for some products.
The Tight-Bag process includes forming film around the vertical tube, which delivers product, and then uses specialized cross-sealing jaws with venturi air evacuation to seal each bag to the desired degree of air content. The machine can accommodate various packaging films, including the breathable film used in some fresh, crust-chilled poultry applications.
The company's solution for poultry, Tight-Chicken, combines automated product loading and vertical bagging to take the place of manual processes associated with fresh poultry bagging. This machine ensures that each bag fits the product like a second skin, eliminating the risk of leaks and ensuring that the product arrives at stores in compliance with applicable hygiene regulations. Eliminating separate vacuum chambers and bagging stations reduces the footprint of a processing line. The production yields up to 35 bags per minute.
Once bagged, packages are processed through a hot water shrink tunnel and on to end-of-line packing operations.
“Until now, packaging fresh poultry required two separate systems – one to open the premade bag to insert product and one to extract air and seal the bag. Compare footprint of the processing line by eliminating separate vacuum chambers and bagging stationsed to Tight-Chicken, that’s more costly, less efficient, and requires more physical plant space – both for installation and associated maintenance. In addition, traditional whole chicken packaging processes require more manual repetitive labor — operators manually loading bagged chicken onto the conveyor platforms and transference into vacuum chamber systems,” said Hugh Crouch, Harpak-ULMA Flow wrap manager. “In comparison, Tight-Chicken executes the forming, sealing, and air extraction continuously, like an assembly line. The result is a more attractive and hygienically safe package and about 4x productivity factor over manual systems. Another bonus is that Tight-Chicken shrinks the total packaging surface area, excluding any need for additional point-of-sale plastic packaging...”
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