Horizontal Packaging Machine: The Ultimate Guide
The horizontal packaging machine is an equipment that fills products into a pack and seals it.
In this guide, I will take you through different attributes of the machine, including its advantages and disadvantages.
We will also look at vertical versus horizontal packaging machines, their uses, and parts.
It is also crucial that we explore the working principles of this machine before we finally delve into the things you should consider when buying it.
Advantages of Horizontal Packaging Machine
This is an automated machine that uses film to produce a type of sealed poach.
It folds a poach, automatically fills the products into it and seals it.
This poach can contain both wet and dry products.
The packaging process is the final step in the production line.
Many companies prefer adding horizontal packaging to their product line-up.
This is because of its advantages, as listed below.
Horizontal automatic packaging machine
- Helps faster and cheaper production process because it incorporates all stages of production automatically. This makes the whole process of packaging quicker.
- It is a flexible solution to packaging. It can fill and seal solid, liquid, or dry products without any problems.
- With this type of packaging, there is provision for more surface area for Graphics and writing messages.
- It protects the goods from damage, dust, and moisture. It reliably ensures product hygiene by eliminating hand contact for food and medicines.
This machine has a safety device and stops as soon as it detects abnormal air pressure and heater disconnection alarm.
- It has improved inventory since it stacks similar products together. This reduces product separation that can make counting time-consuming.
- This machine is easy to operate, clean and maintain, and user-friendly. It has an automatic checking function.
- The machine provides consistent pharmaceutical packaging solution that is relevant for goods that are being exported.
Disadvantages of Horizontal Packaging Machine
Just like any other machine, this one also has some limitations that can influence shying away from using it.
Products from horizontal packaging machine
- Some brands have limited production capacity.
- Even an automated horizontal packaging machine still requires an operator. For semi-automated ones, their workload is even much more.
- For it to be flexible, it must have a compromise in at least one key area. These areas include performance, speed, price, changeover time/consistency, footprint, or complexity.
- The operation of this machine requires discipline. It needs both mechanical and electronic adjustment to establish centerlines needed to run a particular product.
Vertical Packaging Machine vs. Horizontal Packaging Machine – An Ultimate Comparison
There are more similarities than differences between vertical packaging machine and horizontal packaging machines.
These can be seen in their operations, the products they package, specifications, and considerations for buying them.
However, there are some differences between these two machines.
Therefore, in this topic, I would like us to look at the ultimate comparison of the two.
This will be in terms of design and structure, benefits, and limitations.
i. Design and Structure of the Machines
Vertical and horizontal packaging machines operate in different ways.
The horizontal machine takes a film roll and runs it over a plow creating a bottom of the gusset.
This horizontal fill path reduces the force required to pull the film through the machine.
Horizontal packaging machine
On the other hand, the vertical one uses more force as compared to the former.
This is because the film roll is unwound in an up-word direction.
ii. Film Folding
Horizontal machine film gets folded flat with only two dimensions after being moved over the plow of a machine.
In addition to this, the film can run over subsequent seal stations.
This can allow it to be pre-heated, heated, and cooled in a series of indexing cycles.
In a vertical packaging machine, both seals production and the bag filling happen at the same time.
Any further pre-heating, heating, and cooling are dependent on the time within a single cycle.
This may result in a less refined look that may not meet your approval.
iii. Product Filling Process
A horizontal machine fills the products into the film through the top while the bag is pulled open.
It has a full bottom gusset.
This provides a 100% fill volume when used.
Most of the horizontal bags are either ⅔ to ¾ full.
With a vertical packaging machine, it is difficult to achieve this fill.
This is because the bag is formed and simultaneously filled through the sides of the bag.
Here the gusset is not fully open; thus, bags are not filled with the right volume.
iv. Benefits of the Machines
They are both cheap and aids faster production process with reduced labor cost since only one person operates the machine.
Both protect the product from damage, contamination, dust, or moisture since the package is reliable with less human contact.
There is improved inventory because the packaged products are stuck together.
This makes counting much easier and less time-consuming.
Besides, the machines are user-friendly, easier to use once given an orientation.
Also, they are very easy to clean and maintain.
Both vertical and horizontal packaging machines have an automatic checking function.
They can detect if the bag is present or not, open or closed.
This reduces wastage of the bags or materials.
Additionally, these packaging equipment use safety devices.
When they detect any abnormal air pressure, the heater disconnection alarm rings to notify the operator.
For both, the packaging procedure is consistent.
This is very useful for products being exported to other countries.
In both machines, human contact with the product during packaging is minimized.
Contamination of the environment and effects on human health are therefore reduced.
v. Limitation of the Machines
Vertical packaging machine cannot use rigid materials like paper, poly or foil because it uses more force than horizontal packaging counterpart.
On the other hand, monolayer-like straight PE films cannot be run on horizontal packaging machines.
They both have limited production capacities, which may differ from individual machines.
Both machines cannot operate on their own without an operator.
There has to be someone to set and run it.
Some of these machines compromise some critical areas like speed to achieve flexibility.
Both machines require operator discipline because most products have their own centerline that needs to be adjusted.
Failure to do so may cause a loss of efficiency during the packaging process.
Uses of Horizontal Packaging Machines
Many industries rely on these machines to pack their products in solid and liquid forms.
These applications include:
Sections of horizontal packaging machine
· Food Processing Industry
Companies that produce egg dried fried standardly dried and filled pasta use this application for packaging.
Bakeries use it for packaging bread, cakes, pizza, breadsticks, biscuits and bread crumbs.
It is used to package beverages like milk, water, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic drinks.
This machine offers reliable standard bags with seals on all sides.
Packaging of candy, chewing gum, toffee, and bubble gums also use this application.
It is also used to package both dry and wet pet food and dental.
· Cosmetic Industry
Wet wipes for cleaning cosmetic, babies, refreshing and cleaning pets use this application.
· Pharmaceutical Industry
They use it for packaging gauze bandages, syringes, blisters, and drips.
· Agricultural Industry
The packaging of seeds and chemicals also relies on the horizontal packaging machine.
Parts of the Horizontal Packaging Machine
The horizontal packaging machine is made up of many parts.
These parts have their functions that enable the equipment to perform its functions effectively.
Main parts of horizontal packaging machine
Feed link/ in-feed conveyor: This part uses 304 stainless steel powder injection code that aids in packaging products safely and in a hygienic way.
Pull film structure/ film former: Here we have a multi-linked film that is used to coordinate the pulling of the film. It also enables the smooth rolling of the film.
Coding machine: This part of the machine uses ribbon printers to print date, logo, or any desired text on the pack. It positions the print more clearly and accurately.
Smart touch screen: It’s a colored touch screen that aids in setting the parameters in the machine before it can be used.
Automatic sealing: Rotates hot air incision before and after packaging to ensure all the two ends are correctly sealed.
Finished product delivery/ Product discharge area: This is the area where the packaged products are discharged through in readiness for packaging into cartons.
Working Principle of Horizontal Packaging Machine
It has an in-feed conveyor, a film feed assembly known as back-stand and a film forming area called former.
It also has a bottom seal sometimes referred to as fin-seal, a cutting head, and a discharge area.
Here is a video illustrating the working principle:
Place food and non-food products generated during production on the infeed conveyor of the flow wrapper.
You can do this manually or using an automatic feeding solution machine.
The conveyor delivers the product to the forming area.
The film is drawn from the film feed assembly into the form area.
This section forms the film tube around the product and creates a fin-seal.
It then delivers it to the cutting head.
This cutting head creates the end seal while it cuts a part adjoining wrapper into individual packages.
The sealed package moves to the discharge area where it can be cartoned.
Below is an illustration of the entire horizontal packaging process.
Vertical packing process
Consideration when Buying Horizontal Packaging Machine
When you want to buy this machine, you have to consider many factors.
Let us see how the following factors can influence the choice of machine.
1) Model or brand
There are many models and brands for horizontal packaging machines.
Some models use 4 servo motors that enable quick and easy changeover and adjustments.
There is reduced wastage of both film and product during production and ease of maintenance.
The servo drives help to ensure precise positioning, smooth acceleration, and deceleration.
Such also has standard features pre-programmed with store product set up and stainless steel frame construction.
The diagram below shows one of such models of Horizontal packaging machine.
Horizontal automatic packaging machine
There are also those that use 5 servo motors to create quick and easy changeover and adjustments.
Remember, there are also brands that combine the characteristics of both horizontal and vertical wrapping machines in one state of art new compact machine.
This model is the latest wrapping machine and can be used in many applications.
Furthermore, the vertical position is ideal for automatic bagging and product loading into the machine.
The horizontal position has trays and containers.
Some have a length detection sensor and an operational logic.
This can be used to adjust the length of the product in each cycle.
The adjustments enable the making of the bags according to the length of the product.
2) Specific Application
The choice or the right horizontal packaging machine will also depend on the task you want it to perform.
Some of these machines, for example, are better at packaging smaller products but cannot effectively package larger ones.
3) Technical Specifications
Each type of horizontal packaging machine has its own technical specifications.
Some, for example, have higher power consumption and are only preferable when the production levels and product types demand.
4) Type of Horizontal Packaging Machine
Choice of these machines can be tricky because there are a number of things to be considered.
For the best choice, assess technical capabilities, labor requirements, worker safety, and maintainability.
Also, look at the serviceability, reliability, and ability to integrate into the packaging line.
Additionally, it’s essential to consider the capital cost, floor space, and flexibility in terms of changeover, materials, and multiple products.
Lastly, you have to look at energy requirements, quality of the outgoing packages, and qualifications for food and pharmaceutical products.
We have two main types of horizontal packaging machines.
Semi-automatic Horizontal Packaging Machine
This machine can be used to package many products in mutable pack size in small batches.
It is suitable for both laminated and non-laminated premade pouches for packaging.
It is used to fill and seal non-free flowing powder chemicals, pharmaceutical powders, food, beverages, and cosmetics.
For accuracy to be achieved, the powder is filled with a PLC-based controller which comes with an in-built pulse.
The auger rotation pulse is modified and adjustable through a touch screen system for accurate weight compensation.
Fully Automatic Horizontal Packaging Machine
This machine grips on a preformed pouch fills it with the product and seals it.
This happens at a speed of between 40 and 200 bags per minute.
It has a positioned circular layer where the bags are moved intermittently to different stations.
Each station performs a different packaging function.
There usually are between 6 to 10 stations, but the most common configuration has 8.
Fully automatic horizontal packaging machine
An automatic pouch filling machine can be designed with single, double, or four lanes.
Therefore, let us look at these stations in more details.
· Bag Loading
The operator manually loads the preformed pouches into the bag magazine in front of the automatic pouch sealing machine.
Figure 11 Loading section
A bag feeder then conveys the bags to the machine.
This machine has a robot bag infeed with a vacuum that grasps individual bag, loading them to the bag gripping area.
· Bag Griping
This has a proximity sensor which detects the bag, after which the vacuum bag loader picks up the pouch.
It then transfers it to different sets of grippers, which hold the bag as it moves around the rotary units to different stations
· Printing/ Embossing
If this is desired, the machine will do this through both thermal and inkjet printers.
The print can paste the data and lot codes on the pouch.
· Zipper/ bag Opening and Detection
Bags with zipper enclosure are opened by a vacuum suction pad which opens the lower part of the pre-formed pouch.
The opening jaws catch the top side of the bag, thus opening it.
It does this by separating the outward to open the top of the bag by inflating using air blower.
At the bottom of the bag are two sensors that aid in detecting its presence.
If it’s not detected, both the filling and sealing stations will not engage in the packaging process.
If the bag is detected but has not been placed correctly, it will not be filled and sealed.
· Bag Filling
The products are dropped down the funnel into the bag using a multi-head scale-like auger filler.
For liquids, the product is pumped into the pouch with a nozzle.
The apparatus doing the filling is responsible for correct measurement and release of discrete quantities of products being dropped.
· Product Setting and Other Options
It’s in this station that you have to ensure that loose content settles at the bottom before sealing the bag.
To achieve this, shake the premade bag well.
Other options in this station include second sealing of liquids to provide maximum seal integrity.
· Bag Sealing and Deflation
There are two deflators that squeeze the remaining air out of the bag before sealing is done.
After that, a hot seal bar closes on the upper part of the bag.
Using heat pressure, the sealant layer of the premade pouch are then bonded together to make a strong seal.
· Cooling and Discharge
A cooling bar is then passed over the seal to make it strong and flat.
The machine then discharges the finished bag into a receptacle.
It can then be transported to other carton packaging machines.
Production capacity varies with an individual machine, ranging from 40-200 per minute.
There are high-capacity horizontal packaging machines like those used in cosmetics pouches
• Power Consumption
Different types of these machines have different power consumption rates.
For example, some horizontal packaging machine models require a phase power consumption of 500W.
Others like bath soap pouch machines consume 2 kW.
· Quality Compliance
This machine is made in accordance with international set quality standards using supreme quality components under the supervision of experienced professionals.
A good horizontal packaging machine should conform to the CE, CCC, cGMP, RoHS and ISO standards, among others.
A good machine should be able to deliver high performance with reliability.
It should also form, fill, and seal in a single process.
It should be safe for both the products and the operators using it.
The technology for manufacturing these machines has developed to a high-speed performing which can run 24/7.
It is simple in design and easy to operate and maintain.
This technology has been widely accepted globally because it is accurate in delivery.
This also varies with different models.
For example, there are those that have a dimension of 3990 mm L x 1100 mm W x 1950mm H Approx.
Others have a dimension of L70-420xW140xH80 mm, and there are many other sizes.
The horizontal packaging machine is very relevant in today’s market for safety and reliability of products.
Many foods and non-food producing companies have adopted this technology because it is cost effective.
It also gives maximum protection to their products.
It can be used to package a variety of products ranging from small to large size packs.
Because of increasing interest in this application, more efficient machines that limit human exposure to toxic products have been developed.