GEA SmartPacker announces a breakthrough in ultrasonic sealing for 30 micron films
The key to success lies in keeping the sealing jaws parallel and optimizing the set-up for specific
With an installed base of GEA SmartPacker vertical packaging machines that have ultrasonically sealed more than 110 million bags worldwide, GEA Food Solutions has demonstrated that its execution of the technology is consistently reliable on an industrial scale. The main feature that differentiates GEA’s solution from other vertical packaging machines with ultrasonic sealing is a unique (patent pending) technology that keeps the sealing jaws, independent on machine output, parallel to incredibly tight tolerances as they close on the film
Although ultrasonic bag sealing on vertical packaging machines has been available for several years, until recently the technique could not deliver consistent results with films as thin as 30 microns. These thinner films are in demand because not only do they cost less than thicker gauges, they also reduce the amount of landfill waste after the contents have been consumed. There is a strong lobby from governments, supermarkets and consumers to reduce the environmental impact of packaging materials.
Innovative PATENT PENDING technology to keep the sealing jaws parallel
The new GEA technology eliminates the effect of these external factors, thus ensuring the anvil remain parallel. It is incorporated into both intermittent and continuous operation versions of all GEA SmartPacker vertical packaging machines that are specified with the ultrasonic ‘Zero Reject Sealing System’.
Carla Verheijen, Product manager for the GEA SmartPacker, said, “Before we were confident that our machines could achieve a near zero reject rate with ultrasonic sealing, we had to overcome this technical challenge. The solution we developed has now proved itself in practice with our packaging machines working in the salad, cheese and stir-fry food sectors. We can proudly say we know how it’s done.”
Film evaluation and trial runs
Peter Rietjens added, “Our research into the technology revealed another factor that is critical for seal integrity. We discovered that even films with similar thickness and specifications can vary in composition and therefore sealing performance, so it is essential to know exactly what to use.
To achieve this, we also offer the facilities to analyse a particular film, and determine how to get the best results with it.” At the company’s production site in Weert (the Netherlands), there is a fully equipped Technology Center with GEA SmartPackers that are available to run trials with customer-specific films and products.
The general benefits of ultrasonic sealing are widely known. Instead of using thermal energy to form a seal, the technology uses high-frequency ‘ultrasonic’ vibrations of the sonotrode to bond the two layers of film together at a molecular level. Even if moisture, a piece of leaf or a particle remain in the seal area, an air-tight seal is still possible. This makes automatic case packing possible without seal testing.
With conventional thermal sealing, these obstructions in the seal area prevent an air-tight seal being made. Now that GEA has overcome the remaining hurdle for using ultrasonic sealing with lower cost and more eco-friendly thin films, a wider range of application areas can benefit from the reduction in bag rejects and a shorter repeat length (the seal area is typically 70% smaller than with thermal sealing).
A smaller seal area also results in a more attractive pack style.
Return on investment
Front-runners in reliability
For more press information, please contact Carla Verheijen
GEA Food Solutions
About GEA Group
GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft is one of the largest suppliers of process technology and components for the food and energy industries. As an international technology group, the Company focuses on sophisticated production processes. In 2011, GEA generated consolidated revenues in excess of EUR 5.4 billion, 70 percent of which came from the food and energy sectors, which are long-term growth industries. The group employed about 24,500 people worldwide as of September 30, 2012. GEA Group is a market and technology leader in its business areas. It is listed in Germany’s MDAX stock index (G1A, WKN 660 200) and the STOXX® Europe 600 Index.
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