With modifications and using a preapplied zipper film, this horizontal f/f/s machine is capable of running the Easy Pour Bag. Photo: FLtecnics via Pro Mach
A second responder was also willing to go on the record: Troy Snader, senior vice president, Pro Mach Flexible Packaging Group. “I think it’s a very interesting idea, and I agree that the cereal industry will probably be most interested as we are seeing them look pretty hard at stand up pouches now,” he says. “At first glance, producing the side resealable pour spout bag on FFS equipment appears feasible. A couple options might include:
“It would also be interesting to make bags on a FLtecnics machine and then run them on a TYJ,” says Snader.
For operations with many changeovers, a proposed hybrid setup pairs the FLtecnics machine (top of page) with this pouching system. Photo: Toyo Jidoki via Pro Mach
Our third and final contributor, a major supplier of vertical f/f/s systems that wished to remain anonymous, also responded with a technical assessment along with Olin’s responses in bold:
One of the main issues that we can see with these type of bags is that zippers and other resealable closures have a rigidity to them that holds the opening closed. As a result, the zippers will need to be relatively long—approximately 4-6 inches—so that that they can be deformed enough to make a suitably large opening for product to exit.
This has two consequences. Firstly, the need for a long zipper means the opening will be relatively large so product will exit over a wide distance, which could potentially cause spillage.
Olin: The opening will need to be around 5 to 6 inches and, because it is located along the side of the bag, there will more control and less spillage compared to bags that pour out of the top. The video on the website shows how easy it is to pour from this type of bag.
Secondly, if the bag itself is only about 15-inches tall then it could only be filled to about 50% as the filling of the bag cannot exceed the height of the bottom of the zipper to prevent contents from spilling out once the zipper is opened.
Olin: A 15-inch tall bag with a 5-inch-long opening will allow the bag to be about two-third's filled. Most current stand-up bags and pouches are not filled up much higher than this.
Depending on the weight of the product, this could also have a consequence on whether the bag will be able to support itself. For example, while the bag might be able to support itself if it contains a heavy product like pet food, a half full bag filled with a light substance may not be able to stand up without the support of a box. In addition, while self-supporting bags may have some environmental benefits over bags in boxes, they are less stackable and will take up more space on a shelf as the contents expand the bag towards the base.
Olin: I agree that a very light product weight will make the Easy Pour Bag, as well as all the other current standup bags/pouches, less stable. In regards to stand-up bags vs. the bag-in-the-box, I feel that the sustainable features of reducing packaging and food waste outweigh the stacking disadvantage.
Adaptability to vf/f/s:
There are also a number of considerations when it comes to the practicability of the bags and their use on vertical form-fill-seal machines. One of the main issues here is that longitudinal seals on VFFS machines require jaw widths of the same length to seal the zippers, should they require a post-seal process. However, our high-speed vf/f/s systems are typically fitted with jaws that are one inch or less, so supplying jaws that are six inches or thicker would not be in line with our commitment to providing our customers with the best levels of performance. As a result, manufacturers would probably need to source premade film with the zipper already applied to run these types of bags on high performance vf/f/s machines, which it’s likely going to increase their overall production costs.
Olin: I agree that pre-applied zipper film would be the best way to make the Easy Pour Bag on vf/f/s equipment and this could add some cost; however, it would probably save a lot of time.
In addition, manufacturers will also need to consider the type of film that is being used. With this type of format, it seems that the top of the bag needs to be pushed towards the base of the bag to deform the zipper to make the opening. While this may work well on bags made of a relatively thick, rigid film, it could be impractical for bags made of thinner, more flexible films.
Olin: On a vertical f/f/s machine the bag would be filled from the side of the bag as explained previously in this article. Also, larger stand-up bags typically require stronger or thicker film regardless of where the reclosable feature is located.
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