Generally, a powder packing machine is versatile equipment that does two fundamental processes, i.e.
- Dispensing powders into premade bags
- Tightly sealing the pouches shut.
That’s why, in most cases, we often call it a powder filling and sealing machine.
Whether you want to purchase or learn about these packaging machines, today’s guide covers all the fundamental aspects of powder packaging equipment.
Benefits of Powder Packing Machine
Some of the main benefits of powder packaging machine include:
Powder filling machine – Photo courtesy: CAM
- Saves pharmaceutical packaging time and cost – whether automatic powder packing machine or semi-automatic packing machine, the process is seamless and easy.
- Comes with easy to change packaging bags; simply adjust the gripper
- Available in different options such as filling bottles, sachets, bags, etc.
- CE and cGMP compliance, with structure made from stainless steel
- Guarantee smooth powder filling, low noise, accurate and power efficient
- Fully automated system with user-friendly touchscreen HMI, PLC, etc.
- Offer flexible powder packaging solution
Limitations of Powder Packing Machines
Some of the main limitations of powder packaging machine include:
- Initial investment for fully automatic powder packaging machine is higher than the manual powder packaging machine and semi-automatic powder packaging machine.
- It’s only suitable for powder material with a particular level of flow.
- Though versatile machines are available, most come for specific applications
Note: The limitations will vary from one machine to another depending on the:
i. Powder packaging mechanism
ii. Design of the machine
iii. Working principle of the machine
Powder Packing Solutions in Pharmaceutical Industry
You can package all types of powder in different containers.
All you need is an appropriate pharmaceutical packaging machine.
Here are some of the most common packaging options:
1) Sachet Powder Packaging
The sachets offer some unique variety of both consumer and manufacturer satisfaction.
They are convenient and requires little time to pack adequately.
Sachets packaging is undoubtedly a common trend in various sectors due to its multiple benefits.
With the sachet powder packagings, you guarantee your consumers the quality of the products inside.
When opened, the product inside still maintains its freshness.
Powder packaging in sachet
Sachet brings about affordability.
To pack a sachet, you only require a little amount of material and less space.
Therefore, the overall costs go down.
Most of the sachets are eco-friendly.
Finally, it’s easier to customize these packs to make them more appealing to your customers.
2) Powder Packaging Bottle
Bottle packaging is unique compared to the ordinary powder packaging bottles.
They are available in different materials, i.e. Glass bottles, plastic bottles, metal bottles, and cardboard bottles.
Syrup powder packaging
First, they are available in different sizes from 30cc, 3 oz, 4 oz, 6 oz, 8oz, etc.depending on the customer’s specification.
Secondly, most of them are white cylinders though other colors also exist.
Besides, the closures also come in several kinds, ie. brush caps, child-resistant caps, metal caps, dispensing caps, etc.
An outstanding feature of these bottles is the twistable top sifter caps which enhances the dispensation of powder.
Some also got a shrink band which makes them tamper-free and prevents accidental discharge of products.
3) Pouch Powder Packaging
Pouch packagings come in customizable sizes, weights, and designs.
Some are big, others small, elsewhere, others are pre-printed during manufacturing while others come non-printed.
Pouch powder packaging – Photo courtesy: Swisspack
Though, plastic is the standard material for the pouches; there also exist some made of paper, aluminum foils and other materials.
The pouches have seals at the top hence are ideal for preserving the products inside by maintaining its freshness and quality.
Also, the pouches are popular due to their high strength hence making them durable.
They’re also moisture resistant and puncture proof.
Some of the other notable advantages of the pouches include; light in weight compared to other conventional packages, flexible, easy to transport.
Besides, the pouches are customizable to suit the customer’s demands ranging from style, finishes, and material.
4) Stick Powder Packaging
Unlike other forms of packaging, stick packaging brings about small size and a lot of conveniences.
Did you know that a stick pack holds a single serving of the products?
Meaning it contains just the perfect, accurate content making it compact enough to fit right in your purse, or pocket.
The stick packs are easy to open.
Above all, it guarantees the freshness and quality of the powder inside.
Sugar stick packaging
Looking at a stick pack, you’ll notice its fancy and colorful design together with the following features; it has three sides sealed, VFFS (vertical fill, form, and seal) packing.
Paper, plastic, coated aluminum are some of the standard packaging materials for the stick packs.
Those are basically, the usual powder packaging solutions available.
But still, you will find out more available in the market.
Uses of Powder Packing Machine in Different Industries
When it comes to powder packaging, you can use this machine in many industries such as:
Multi lane stick packaging machine
· Food and Beverage Industry
It’s suitable for conveniently packing the following items:
- coffee powders
- Powdered sugar
- Powdered spices
- Milk powder
· Chemical Industry
Typical products in this sector are powder coatings and other non-liquid powder materials.
· Cosmetics Industry
Notable products in this category include baby powders and cosmetic detergents.
Classifications of Powder Packing Machines
Generally, we can classify the packaging machinery based on two major categories:
- Design of powder packing machine
- Working principle of powder packing machine
Depending on the design, there are yet another two sub-classes; Rotary and inline powder packing machines.
According to the mode of operation, we have semi-automatic powder packing machines and fully automatic powder packing machinery.
Let’s explore these machines in details:
Inline PowderPackaging Machine
And more exhaustively, an inline design type of machine packs its products in a straight, orderly line.
Section of inline powder packaging
Meaning that the operations starting point and the final processing point are at the opposite ends.
Usually, this kind of machinery design only has one infeed lane and another single output.
However, with such designs, the machine requires excessive floor space to operate.
The amount of space doesn’t have to be necessarily as huge as it may imply.
Some occupy a reasonable amount of space.
Nevertheless, some users still prefer the inline design of machines.
This is because they consider it to be an easy one to inspect due to the straight alignment of all stations.
Basically, such a design will enhance visibility.
Rotary Powder Packaging Machine
The design for the rotary type is circular.
It therefore means, the beginning point of the procedure is just beside the final stage.
Section of rotary powder filling machine
Again for this kind of operation, it follows a circular pattern or motion.
The circular fashion operation creates a superior ergonomic format suitable for the operators.
Therefore, the machine only occupies a minimal operational floor space.
Compared to the inline design type machinery, the rotary design is popular among users.
The rotary packing machine features a single, double or quadruple in-feed lane, though, one in-feed type is the popular one.
For high speed powder packaging, the machine can have more than a single lane output and in-feed lanes.
Besides, the lanes, a rotary machine design also has separate permanent stations embedded circularly.
Each performs a unique procedure during the packaging procedure.
Approximately, 6 to 10 stations exist in these machines though the number may vary from one machinery to another.
Those with eight stations are also common.
Fully Automatic Powder Packing Machine
Fully-automatic powder packing machine require virtually no human intervention during the operation.
You will key in the right parameters, have both powder and filling container in place.
Quickly, here is a brief operational basis of the fully automatic machine.
The auger screw and the sensors co-ordinate the carrier. And when the hopper is full, the hopper filler sensor stops the ongoing filling process.
Likewise, when the powdered product reaches a predetermined set level, again, the hopper sensor transmits a signal to halt the filling.
As you can see, all these processes are fully coordinated and subsequently run automatically.
Indeed, the human workforce is extremely low, and that makes such kinds of machines very efficient.
It doesn’t suffer from too many human errors.
Semi-automatic Powder Packaging Machine
For this case, the auger screw helps the machine in varying the weight; while a supervisor also holds the ready pack below the filling head to fill powder.
Finally, manual sealing of the bag by use of a heated wire sealing follows.
Now for this case, it’s evident that some procedures automatically occur for example variations of the weight, but others heavily rely on human labor.
So that’s what we mean by a semi-automatic process.
Parts of Powder Packing Equipment
Powder packing machine is an assembly of many parts and component.
For the scope of this guide, the focus will be on the main parts, which include:
Syrup powder filling machine
i. The dosing system
ii. Control system
iii. The drive mechanism
iv. Products conveyor
v. Loading system
vi. Bag opening, detection, sealing, and deflation
vii. Dusting system
viii. Discharge system
Besides, the precise location of all these parts varies according to the machine type.
Let’s have a brief look at the components of each section.
· Dosing System
The dosing system is a vital section of the machine responsible for dispensing and filling the powders into the various packages.
This section has got three main parts, ie. Screw elevator, and auger filler
Normally, the augur filler explicitly dispenses powder products into the bags or packs.
While the screw elevator provides a mechanical action for helping the filler does its work.
· Control System
A fully and semi-automatic machine uses a PLC control system for the complete coordination of all the mechanical parts.
A separate colorful touch screen display is also another option for such machines.
· Drive Mechanism
Various mechanisms drive the machine; this may include a combination of the motor system and power system.
Usually, you will find the power system in the machine cabinet.
· Products Conveyor Belt/ System
Most of these machines use an intermittently moving conveyor belt to transfer the empty bags and filled bags from one station to another.
· Loading System
The loading system is the exact location where you load the ready bags into the in-feed lane so that it passes onto various stages for filling.
This system also comprises a set of bag gripping arms and pouch feeding rollers.
· Bag Opening Systems
Sets of suctions pads act as the zipper reclosures.
Besides, the bag sensors duly detect the packs at this point once they arrive.
A blower jar may also be situated here.
· Dusting System
A few available options for managing dust may exist at this location.
Notable ones being various modifications of the dust collector basin, dust nozzles, dust hood, etc.
· Discharge System
The discharge section handles the complete powder packages.
Afterward, they fall into a receptacle for further optional processing.
As we said, manufacturers may tweak the powder packaging machines to adapt to the unique application needs of the customer.
Rule of thumb always requests a user manual for every machine you intend to purchase.
Working Principle of Powder Packing Machine
The powder packing process is quite a straightforward and direct method.
Although there are always so many modifications each day, the working principle still forever remain the same.
The changes only occur towards the simplicity of the operations.
Here, you’re going to learn all the three modes of powder filling processes:
I. Pouch Powder Packing Machine
Most users acknowledge that the pouch powder filling and sealing process is undoubtedly one of the simplest and direct.
Here is the way the machine works.
- Load the premade pouches directly into the in-feed section. Make sure to single out the bags to enhance accurate picking.
- For a fully automatic machine, a vacuum suction arm grasps each pouch and transfers it the grippers from where the bags move onto the next section.
- The pouch grippers grasp the pouch on both sides of the top of the bags and transfer it to the next stages in line. Stainless steel material reinforces the grippers making them capable of withstanding weights of even up to 10 kg for quite an extended period.
- Optionally, some machines have an inkjet or thermal printers for making codes or prints on the ready pouches. That is just one of the customizations available.
- Next, a combination of opening jaws opens the pouches. Meanwhile, a blower jet blast fresh, hygienic air into the bags to make them fully open.
- With a completely open pouch, the augur filler now dispenses an exact quantity of the product inside the bags. Always remember, that auger fillers also vary depending on the physical properties of your product, ie. Free-flowing or non-free flowing powders.
- During the process, the excess powder in the form of dust recollects at the dust hood just above the filler.
- After that, the full pouches proceed to the deflator plates. Here, the bag gets smoothly squeezed to expel excess air.
Also, a system of hot seal bars closes the top sections of the bags.
- A cooling bar then passes over the now hot seal pouch sections thereby strengthening them.
- Finally, the finished powder pouches track from the machine and drop onto a receptacle and move into the next line for additional processing.
That’s direct indeed, don’t you think so?
II. Bottle Powder Packing Machine
Unlike the pouch machine, the bottle packaging type makes use of the bottles to fill the required powders.
Below is an overview of how the machine operates.
The process, though is quite similar to that of the pouch powder packaging machine.
The significant differences come in the usage of bottles in place of pouches together with other minor design modifications.
Take a look.
- Load the premade bottles at intervals in the in-feed section. Make sure you place the containers in an upright position and preferably shingle them.
- A set of bottle grippers grasps each bottle and transfers it to the various stations of the machine for packing powder products. Durable Stainless steel material is the best for such grippers. Since the equipment uses bottles, the grippers are therefore capable of holding the considerable weight of fills.
- Next, you may customize your machine to include printers and embossing system. For your printer needs, you can choose either inkjet or thermal printers.
- The bottle top opening jaws then holds and pull off the tops. Meanwhile, a blower jet blasts clean, fresh air into the containers to expel any unwanted impure air.
- Once done, the bottle now proceeds to the auger filler. By the help of the auger screw, the filler dispenses the right amount of powder into the containers.
- The now filled bottles get re-capped with an airtight sealing.
- Finally, the machine discharges the finished bottles into a conveyor and down into the line for extra processing and stocking.
III. Sachet Powder Packing Machine
The procedure for packing the sachets is closely similar to that of the pouch packing.
But still one significant difference stands out, i.e. the use of sachets instead of pouches.
The other processes proceed as usual.
Consequently, we don’t have to recover that section.
Note that no matter the type of packing solution in use, the powder packaging procedure remains unchanged.
It’s only a little modification that comes into action.
Nevertheless, always make it clear to your supplier the type of packing solution you want to use.
Considerations when Buying a Powder Packing Machine
Even as you plan to import powder packing machine, you should consider the following key aspects:
Sachet packing machine
i. Control System
A digital PLC blended with a suitable human-machine interface is by far the best control for any equipment.
Besides being user-friendly, it’s easy to deal with and makes the operation proceeds efficiently.
ii. Drive Mechanism of Machine Parts
Vacuum suction, servo motor, VFD, and electric motors are some of the several drive options available for the moving parts of the machine.
Take, for example, a servo motor is the recommended driver for the filling system.
iii. Mode of Operation;
Decide on the kind of service that serves you great.
You may select between a fully automatic or semi-automatic process.
Your choice should entirely depend on your application and convenience rather than prestige.
iv. Machine Design
Scarcely mentioned but indeed the model weighs a lot.
Between a rotary and inline production, which one would you prefer?
Again, for this, you have to compare the pros and cons before taking the right stand.
v. Dust and Pollution Management System
Dust is a notable problem here, that’s why dust vacuum unit, dust hood, load shelf, scoop feeder, and dust collector are necessary since they all help in minimizing the emission of dust.
vi. General Machine Material
For the sake of minimizing chances of corrosion and rusts, stainless steel material (SS 316) is the best for both the general machine structure and contact parts.
SS 314 is also applicable.
vii. Quality Standards;
Quality is a priority when it comes to this kind of machinery.
Always check if the manufacturability satisfies the various standard practices and certifications such as CE, CCC and cGMP standards.
viii. Printing and Embossing
Even though print is an option and customizable, it helps bring out your finished packages in a fashioned manner that’s more appealing to customers.
So always specify to the manufacturer if need be to include it.
ix. Packing Speed
This is another parameter that varies from one equipment to another.
Interestingly, the rate depends on a variety of factors exclusively those of the machine.
Always choose one with a reasonable working rate, e.g., 25 – 60 bags/min.
x. Buying Price
Obviously, every business aims at profit making.
You must be, therefore, careful when making a quotation.
Ultimately consider your budget and capital.
Reminder, sometimes higher asking price is a pointer to quality.
There’re several considerations you may adopt before making a purchase.
It will all depend on your unique powder packaging needs.
Common Problems and Solution in Powder Packing Equipment
Most machines do often breakdown during operations.
We can attribute such issues to be several factors, including mechanical errors, human errors, and many more.
Some of these breakdowns could be devastating, whereas others are usual minor faults.
Nonetheless, we shall quickly go through some of the everyday problems experienced.
Sachet forming section
Faulty Seal Integrity
Whenever the seals aren’t appropriately tight and faulty as well, follow these steps to fix it.
- Confirm whether the sealing jaws are parallel.
- Maintain consistent temperature settings, including those of the sealing jaws.
- If you alter the temperature, do so for both time and pressure.
- Tidy up your sealing tools.
- For a machine with a gusset, check the gusset area pressure.
Weak Seal/ Peel/ Cap
The usual testable solution for a weak seal is by adjusting the temperatures correctly.
Hot – Tack Issues
What of the cases whereby the packaging material beneath the seal cant sustains the packaged contents when heated?
- Increase the sealing area temperature to make the seal stronger.
- Cold air blasts are also capable of increasing the hot-tack strength.
- In case of low pressure, increase the pressure of the sealing jaws.
- You may need to replace the seal with a brand new one if necessary.
Inconsistent Bag Length
- Thread the film appropriately.
- Properly adjust the film feed belt tension.
- Clean the film belts.
Film Doesn’t Track
- Center the roll on the spindle
- Tighten the spindle.
- Properly thread the film on the carriage.
Longer Bag Lengths
- Correctly set the bag length.
- Re-set the bag length.
- Maybe the registration photo-eye isn’t correctly set. Check it.
Of course, there’re several other problems that you can experience with the powder packaging machine.
The undisputable solution is to perform maintenance, lubrication, cleaning regularly, and inspections check to determine the type of problem.
By doing all these, you’ll make troubleshooting easy and simple.
As you can see, there are many mechanisms of packaging powder, it can be in pouches, bottles or sachets.
So, you must be specific on the exact packaging mechanism you need.
Also, you need to consider technical specifications, benefits, and limitations of each machine.
By considering all these, you will get reliable, and high quality powder packaging machine.