Packaging material weight saving
The addition of I.S. back sealing will deliver a further 1% film saving in addition to the average 10 – 15% saving from the cross seal technology. This 1% film area reduction will save an additional ca. £1,500 per year per bagging machine, based on a two shift, six day a week operation using a 35 micron OPP type film. If implemented across the UK fresh produce industry this could save approx 55 t of packaging film per year, or almost 700 t per year if combined with the cross sealing technology.
A gauge reduction from 35 micron to 30 micron would save a further 14% in terms of weight of film but whether this gives a 14% price reduction will depend on the policy of the film manufacturers, but certainly a further substantial saving. In weight terms this could save over 750 t of film if implemented across the UK fresh produce sector, and almost 1500 t is both technologies are adopted.
Product shelf life benefits and reduced wastage
By improving the product quality and extending the shelf life several benefits can be delivered. Firstly, with product lasting longer in the pack, there is a greater likelihood that the consumer will not throw as much away through premature decay. Currently fresh salads are often dated with matching display and use by dates so technically the product should be consumed on the day of purchase. In many cases this will not happen and the average consumer will use their senses to decide on whether to use the product. If the leaf still looks good and smells ok then it will still be used. Currently with leaking packs the leaf very often struggles to maintain quality but with Integrity Seal the leaf will last longer and be more likely to pass the consumer “sensory test”. It may also be possible to extend the “use by date” helping the consumer plan ahead for meals. The main financial benefit of extended shelf life is the opportunity to optimise production scheduling and distribution. Although stores now primarily use daily deliveries any potential to reduce delivery costs and impact on the environment should be looked at seriously. The extra shelf life of 2 ‐3 days with no loss of quality could allow for less frequent deliveries to store. Reducing the frequency of store deliveries will reduce fuel costs and help reduce the impact on the environment.
The improvement in the shelf life of fresh salad and reduction of in store waste will also reduce costs. Retailers have stated that store shrinkage can be as high as 8% at certain times of year when the leaf is delicate. High wastage gets charged back to the supplier so a reduction of this wastage is financially beneficial.
Other productivity and financial benefits
The better temperature management with all 3 systems, i.e. the impulse and low mass heated wheels and bars reduces the heat distortion common with back sealing of the overlapped area and helps eliminate the pinhole leaks at the edge of the sealed area.
In the case of the Impulse system the heat is only applied when the seal in being made so energy is not wasted. It is also not necessary to keep the heat on 24 hours a day, as is common with traditional cartridge heaters. Cartridge heaters frequently fail if switched off over night because the moisture present following the hygiene clean down short circuits the electrics. The I. S. Seal bars are fully protected to IP65 rating and the element itself if moisture resistant.
The impulse bar cools after every cycle so is safe to touch so when operators are working in the vicinity of the product tube.
The impulse bars are easily cleaned with a fibre glass pencil. The bar also has an easy clean function. This is used when polymer build up becomes excessive. A 5 second pulse is given to the bar when it is open and away from the film and product tube, resulting in polymer simply falling away from the bar and any film which was stuck to the bar is instantly cleaned.
Integrity Seal is being offered to the market on a range of terms, leased or purchased, and is sold as a profitable system.
Integrity Seal provides the user with many advantages over the current technology, and should be considered as a combined solution for bag sealing, both cross and back sealing. If only one of the bag seals is improved, i.e. cross or back seal, the weakness in the remaining seal will reduce or negate the potential benefits:
- The 8 – 20 % film saving from using a shorter bag and the potential to use thinner gauge film without loss if integrity, delivers a substantial environmental benefit. For every 5 micron of gauge reduction an additional 14% saving is possible
- The improved product quality possible with hermetically sealed bags will help reduce food wastage caused by premature loss of shelf life.
- Integrity Seal is being offered to the market on a range of terms, outright purchase or lease purchase and is sold as a profitable system.
- The appearance of the bag is improved with improved opening characteristics
Hermetic sealing benefits
- Air tight seals ensure there are no micro leaks , so headspace gas in controlled by the film permeability not leaking seals.
- High pressure sealing improves the seal strength verified by the tensile tests.andom creases are ironed out by the embossed profile seal so are hermetic.
- Better temperature is possible with Integrity Seal making it easier to handle the thinner gauge films which the industry is moving towards.
- Operational benefits
- The system can be retrofitted to existing machines or built into new machines.
- The seal bars or wheel assembly are simply screwed to the existing cross frames of the machine.
- The impulse bar is cold after every cycle so safe to touch.
- Wear components – Teflon tape and Rubber anvil are easily and quickly replaced ensuring the seal quality is easy to maintain.
- The impulse system is immediately ready to run when switched on – no bar heating time. Also the low mass wheels and bars are quicker to heat than conventional cartridge heaters.
- The impulse bar does not require Teflon tape
- Seal bar electrics are IP 65 rated
- Temperature changes are instant with the impulse system or very quick with the low mass bars and wheels.
- The chilled water system can be centralised to feed multiple machines and positioned away from the high care area. It can also be taken from the cross seal jaws.
- The chilled water system is a closed loop system so does not use copious amounts of water.
- The chilled water has an antimicrobial additive to prevent legionella and other bacteria.
Product Quality Benefits
- Longer shelf life potential on fresh product applications due to air tight seals (as seen in the cross seal project)
- Sensitive Fresh leaf salads quality improvement - no oxidation
- Sensitive Fresh leaf salads shelf life increased from 5 days to 8 days
- Non sensitive leaf varieties e.g. Spinach, shelf life increased from 7 to 9 days
- Fresh vegetables – better quality due to improved CO2 control.
- Snack products - comparable shelf life at 12 weeks on single bag applications.
- Saves a minimum of 1% film area.
- Ensures the benefits of the hermetic cross seal system are not negated by leaking back seals.
- IS makes hermetic seals on thinner gauge films, i.e. 30 mic down from 35 mic: a further 14% reduction in packaging material usage.
- Higher line efficiency reduces total manufacturing costs.
- IS seals all types of thermoplastic polymers.
- Hermetic seals on multi bag applications prevent the bag deflating over time so look better on shelf.
- The embossed seal never looks overheated and blistered as can happen with flat seal bars