Strip Packing Machine

Strip Packing Machine: An Ultimate Guide

Strip packing is one of the popular packaging solutions. It has changed the face of packaging across different industries by providing tailor-made solutions for each product. The strip packing machine is the tool that makes it all happen.  

So, if you want to learn more about strip packing and its application, you’re in the right spot. This article will serve as the guide you need. Let’s get started!

What Is A Strip Packing Machine?

A strip packing machine is an industry-grade machine for sealing items. It is primarily used in industries where products need to be packed and sealed individually. Its high speed and accuracy in packaging can help users build efficiency and increase productivity in their business. Little wonder it remains a top choice for manufacturers in the pharmaceutical and food industries.

Besides creating a colorful and stylish covering for the products, it is also moisture-proof to keep them fresh and consumable for longer. Strip packing machines are also environmentally friendly as they reduce waste and use biodegradable and recyclable materials.

Parts of A Strip Packing Machine?

Every machine has several components that combine to make the system work, and the strip packing machine is no exception. Some components of a strip machine may differ depending on the specific model and type of the machine.

Some of the most common strip-packing machine change parts you’ll see are:

  • Product Feeder: This part is also known as the conveyor. It is the first part of the machine that carries the products into the machine. A chain of conveyor belts transports the product from different parts of the machine from start to finish.
  • Forming Tubes: These tubes are stamped on the packaging material and help form the enclosure’s shape. They come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate different products.
  • Cutting Blades: The product is usually in a long strip after sealing. These sharp blades cut them into small, marketable sizes. The cutting mechanism is adjustable to accommodate the different lengths of each product.
  • Firm Roll Holders: The materials used in a strip pack machine usually come in rolls. The firm roll holders hold the reel in place and slowly release it to provide a continuous strip of material for packaging.
  • Sealing Jaws: After packing, the sealing bars seal the edge of the material to close the product tightly and prevent air from entering it. The sealing methods may be ultrasonic sealing, heat sealing, or any other method fit for the material.
  • Spacer Bars: These space bars use adjustable sensors to create distinctions between each product on a strip. For example, if there are six tablets in a package, it can detect them and create individual enclosures for each tablet.
  • Electrical and Control Systems: You cannot effectively use a packing strip machine without a proper electrical and control system. The electrical system features wires, sensors, and other tools that keep the machine running smoothly. On the other hand, the control system can be used to adjust things like heat, speed, etc.

Classification of Strip Packing Machine

Discussing the different types of strip packing machines may be difficult because no machine is unique, and each strip machine often shares some characteristics. However, we have put together some factors to look out for to help you make a good choice when purchasing a strip packing machine.

By considering these classifications, you should be able to distinguish a strip packing machine from the next. You can choose:

1. Based on Orientation 

The orientation here refers to the direction in which the products move during packaging. A major factor that will determine the orientation of any machine is the kind of product you will use it for. So before you buy strip packing machines, confirm the product you need it for.

  • Vertical Strip Packing Machine: This packing strip machine is a good fit for products that can be packaged vertically, like candies, some unique capsules, etc. If you have a small space, you should consider this type of packing machine as it occupies less footroom. Regardless of your space constraints, you can complete your packaging smoothly.
  • Horizontal Strip Packing Machine: if you make products you pack horizontally, this is the strip packing machine you need. A capsule strip packing machine is up to the task for products like capsules, tablets, and other medications that would not do well in a vertical orientation. Unlike the vertical strip packing machine, this one occupies more space because of its width and, as such, will need a bigger space for its operation.

2. Based on the Operating Principle

The operating principle refers to how the machines work in terms of motion during production. Some strip packing machines move like robots, while others require interruptions between production to stay efficient. The two common operating principles are as follows:

  • Continuous Motion Strip Packing Machine: This type of machine runs continuously without any intermissions. Once the material is set firmly in place and the machine powered up, it is a seamless process till the end. From the wrapping to the sealing and cutting, every part is synchronized to work automatically. If you do large-scale production of drugs and other consumables, this machine will help you stay efficient in business and increase profit.
  • Intermittent Motion Strip Packing Machine: This machine has no uninterrupted streak like the continuous motion strip machine. It is automated, but it requires human input for it to work. This manual strip packing machine is a good fit for different products because you can stop to adjust the setting at intervals. 

3. Based on the Material Used

The material is the property used in covering the product, that is, the outer film that we see. Undoubtedly, each product is unique and will need a distinct material to protect it from spoiling. Industry standards and regulations also play a huge role in helping you choose a material to use. 

For this classification, we will analyze the most common strip-packing machines based on their compatible materials: 

  • Plastic Strip Packing Machine: This machine mainly uses plastic film to cover products. It is lightweight, and since it usually comes from recycled materials, it is an environmentally friendly option. Most medicine strip packing machines use plastic films to create transparent covers over the medication.
  • Steel Strip Packing Machine: This strip packing machine is durable enough to shape steel bands into desired shapes. Although not as common as their plastic counterparts, they provide a solid finish for packing steel rods.
  • Nylon Strip Packing Machine: This strip packing machine makes the most appealing product packaging. Goods covered with a nylon film are mostly edibles and consumer goods. The packaging often features a combination of strength and flexibility with an attractive appearance.
  • Metal Strip Packing Machine: If there’s any strip packing machine that can shape anything, it is this metal strip machine. It can shape different metal strips, like alloys, aluminum, etc, into protective covering for pharmaceutical products.

4. Based on Multi-Track Capability 

The track combines conveyor belts or chains that move the product around the machine until the strip packing process is complete. While it is common to have a single track, some machines feature many tracks at the same time. A higher number of tracks can increase efficiency and increase product output. Based on their track capability, we can classify strip packing machines into two:

  • Single Track Strip Packing Machine: This machine has only one production line suitable to cater to the production needs at a time. It is a popular choice for small-scale production and instances where the size of the product does not require a wide frame.
  • Multi-Track Strip Packing MachineThe multi-track strip packing machine is similar to its singletrack counterpart. The major difference is that it features multiple production lines. However, the number of production lines varies according to the manufacturer and users’ specifications. For instance, a high-speed tablet strip packing machine may have two or more lines depending on the production needs of the pharmaceutical company.

5.  Based on Automation Level

The primary goal of a strip packaging machine is to enhance efficiency in the sealing process. Hence, they are generally considered automated systems. However, they have different automation quotients depending on how much human effort is required to package products. Based on this, we have the following:

  • Manual Strip Packing Machine: As the name goes, the manual strip packing machine requires a lot of human effort. In fact, someone has to be on standby to operate the machine every time. Otherwise, when a process is completed, the machine will keep running without sealing any product.
  • Automatic Strip Packing Machine: Unlike the hand-operated strip packing machine, the automatic machine is programmable, allowing you to pre-determine the actions it should take. Once set, it needs little or no other human effort to seal your products neatly and on time.

Types of Materials Used In Strip Packing

The beautiful thing about strip packing is that you’re presented with an array of materials to use for your products, depending on what you aim to achieve. Here are the popular packaging materials to choose from:

1. Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is arguably one of the most widely used materials in packaging items through a strip packing machine. From capsules to candies, aluminum foil finds applications in various industries. One reason Alu Alu strip packing machines are a top choice for most brands is aluminum’s lack of susceptibility to moisture and microbes. Moreover, aluminum is quite reflective, making it immune to light rays and its effects on packaged items.

2. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC is used to create various packaging materials, including the popular opaque laminating base (OLB) paper. Owing to safety concerns and the sensitivity of drugs, this paper is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry because of its numerous attributes. Just like aluminum foil, PVC-coated OLB papers are light reflective and resistant to moisture. They are also used in PVC strip packing machines to package groceries like salt and pepper.

3. PVDC (Polyvinylidene Chloride)

PVDC stands out in a PVDC vs. PVC comparison because of its chemical structure which makes it less susceptible to chemical reactions with other materials. Hence, when packaging items that are quite reactive with other materials, PVDC is more suitable. That’s why it’s widely used for packaging groceries like beverages, confectioneries, and meats. It has a high fire resistance compared to its counterpart.

Applications of Strip Packing Machines Across Various Industries

Over the years, many manufacturers have used strip packing machines to facilitate their business and ensure packaging and product delivery safety. Its tremendous benefits have made strip packing popular in many industries for decades.

Some of the most common industries where strip packing machines enjoy regular usage include the following:

a. Pharmaceutical Sector

The pharmaceutical sector and strip packing machines are a match made in Packaging Heaven. They are like peas in a pod; one cannot go without the other. Many tablets and capsules today are sold in strips.

Thanks to the medicine strip packing machine, medication can now stay for longer without any side effects that would have come from moisture, air, or other elements acting on it. 

Beyond packaging medication, this strip packing technology is also used to cover medical equipment like syringes, bandages, and other diagnostic tools. It keeps them sterile and fit for use anytime.

b. Food and Beverage Industry

Another industry that needs strip packing technology is the food and beverage industry. It is vital that manufacturers give only the best quality of products to their consumers to keep them safe and healthy.

Sometimes, these edibles can take weeks or months to reach their respective consumers. Strip packing helps to increase their shelf life and makes them fit for more extended use.

When you use a stripping machine for packing consumables, it is usually in economical and travel-size packs. It is a good fit for snacks and confectioneries as it helps with portion control.

It can also hold dry and powdered products like spices, ground coffee, instant hot chocolate drinks, etc, for individual consumption. Liquid consumables are not left out as they are used for packaging pieces of stuff like ketchup, sauces, dressings, etc, to prevent spillage and wastage.

c. Consumer Goods

Aside from medications and edibles, other consumer goods need strip packing to keep them in prime and usable condition. For example, this strip packaging can protect smart watches, accessories, etc, to prevent them from tarnishing.

It is also a standard packaging solution in the electrical industry. It protects cables, wires, memory cards, batteries, etc, and keeps them in individual cases till they are taken off the shelves and into your homes.

The cosmetic industry also uses strip packing to create sample sizes of products like hair shampoos, face masks, wipes, etc. Strip packing can adequately lock in the moisture in these products and keep them ready for use.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Strip Packing Machines

Before you contact that strip packing machine manufacturer and close that deal, you must be aware of some crucial factors. Failure to consider them will not only leave you at risk of breaking simple rules but can also create unnecessary expenses for you.

That is why we have put this list together to help guide you in choosing your strip-packing machine. So before you swipe that card to complete that purchase, make sure you know the following:

a. Production Capacity Requirements: Your intended product must be well suited for your strip packing machine. For instance, a high-speed tablet strip packing machine will Each product is unique and, as such, will need specific settings on a strip packing machine to get the best results. For instance, a high-speed tablet strip packing machine will not be a good fit for packaging things like syringes or other medical equipment.

Every strip packing machine has a production capacity it can attain per time. When you know the properties of your strip packing machine and the level of output it can provide, you’ll make a more informed choice.

With the correct information, you can now go for a strip packing machine that will match up to your production expectations. 

b. Compatibility with Product Types: Here, you need to test if the machine will be a good choice for your product. The classifications of materials above show that the direction of the machine’s movement can affect the product you can use it with.

Also, the amount of pressure exerted during production is an important factor to consider. You cannot use a steel strip packing machine to package tablets and medication; it’ll crush the tablets before anything else.

To avoid getting a strip packing machine you cannot use, discuss with your manufacturer and let them know what you need the machine for. They are in the best position to guide your choice.

c. Material Compatibility and Flexibility: Nothing is more annoying than purchasing a machine you cannot operate due to material incompatibility. That is why you must test the compatibility between your material and the machine. 

Examine the material efficiency of the machine next. There would be waste during packaging because some materials are not suitable for other materials. Thus, select a machine that can take the material you want to avoid spending too much money on it.

Finally, check out the machine’s roll holder size. Some materials come in large rolls, while others come in smaller reels. An ill-fitting roll holder will be unable to hold the material in the first place and will hinder the packing process.

d. Adaptability for Future Product Changes: If you’re a business owner with plans to expand in the future, you should invest in a strip packing machine with many adjustable and adaptable features.

With some strip machines, you can adjust the height and size to package a different product. For some others, you can package different products simultaneously thanks to the different conveyor belts they have.

We live in an advanced digital space, and as such, you should not have to struggle with using a fully manual strip machine. These machines now have special software that helps control and manipulate the packaging process.

With consistent research and innovation, there will be changes and developments to the software. The sooner you upgrade, the more you can access many fantastic features to give you a seamless packing process.

e. Regulatory Compliance and Standards: If there were no rules and standards regulating several industries, you can bet that many people would have a field day doing whatever they want. 

These standards are not there to restrict your production capabilities but to ensure that the products you churn out from your strip packing machine are of the best quality. So, as you consider choosing a strip packing machine, you should have your industry standards at the back of your mind.

Apart from maintaining regulatory standards with your products, your strip machine should also be of good quality. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has requirements that each machine must possess. Communicate with your machine manufacturer and confirm that their machine is not subpar.

f. Budget: It would be unwise to purchase a strip packing machine without first drawing up a budget. If you do not know your purchasing power, you may not choose one within your range. 

No matter how much you fantasize about a machine, you cannot use it if you do not have the funds to purchase it. So, first things first, consider the amount you have at hand.

Check out other factors like the business cost, cost of materials, electricity bills, and other production costs. By the time you have a total breakdown of your estimated expenses, you will know the right amount to set aside for the machine.

If the amount you have at hand is not substantial enough to give you what you need, you can consider other funding options. Loans and monetary gifts from friends can just ease that burden and cover the purchasing cost.

g. Available Space For Production: Finally, you should evaluate your workstation before you choose a strip packing machine. Ensure that the available space can accommodate the machine comfortably without any constraints.

Also, consider other tools and machines you need to run your business. Working in a cramped space is unsafe and can lead to many work-related hazards. You need ample space to move around during production.

If you can, go for a more spacious workstation or, better still, go for a vertical strip packing machine that would occupy less leg room. That way, you can enjoy better work efficiency in your production plant.

Benefits of Strip Packing

Strip packing technology offers many benefits, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, where it is a popular packaging solution. Some of the fantastic benefits of using strip packing include:

  • Tamper-proof Packaging: Strip packing offers more secure packaging for products that can not easily be broken. Products remain in good condition till they reach the final consumers.
  • Unit-dose Packaging: For people who find it difficult to track their prescriptions, strip packing solves that problem. Sealing the medications in single compartments makes it easy to comply with prescriptions and track usage.
  • Durable Packaging: The combination of a powerful machine and high-quality packing material can only lead to one thing: durable packaging. The pack also protects the product from moisture and other environmental hazards.

Challenges in Strip Packing Technology

Despite the numerous benefits of strip packing technology, it has some drawbacks that are worth considering:

Industry-Specific Challenges and Solutions

  1. Regulatory Compliance: Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up with ever-evolving standards and regulations that govern many industries. Because of how delicate these products are, one must strive to keep up with these standards. Using only the best quality equipment is an excellent way to stay in touch. Manufacturers should also incorporate these standards when making their machines. This way, you will not be at risk of defaulting on these standards.
  1. Product shapes and SizesA good look at tablets in a pharmaceutical store would make you understand how one medication differs from the other in terms of shape and size. To use the same machine to package different items with varying shapes, you’d have to modify the settings for each use. As simple as this may sound, not all strip-packing machines are flexible enough to handle various operations.  However, you can bypass this setback by using an adaptable strip-packing machine. Thanks to the advancement of technology, some strip machines have multiple parts that allow you to package different products at the same time.
  1. Downtime For Maintenance and Changeovers: There is every possibility of a breakdown or technical glitch when using your strip packing machine. If you are not careful, you will always have to pause your production to run checks and repairs. This downtime will make you lose valuable hours you could have channeled towards packaging and improving your product. Instead, set up a schedule for routine checks and maintenance so you can control your time. That way, nothing will catch you unawares, and you do not have to slow down your packing.

Conclusion

Strip packaging technology is arguably one of the most profound innovations of the 20th century, bringing so much ease to lives and transforming how we preserve different items. From pharmaceutical to cosmetics industries, this technology finds applications in several outputs of diverse industries.

As such, it only makes sense that you invest in the right one to enhance your production process and, in turn, your company’s revenue. Still in doubt about the right packaging equipment you need for your products? Check out our list of packaging solutions curated to meet different needs.

FAQs

1. What Are The Advantages of Strip Packaging?

Strip packaging offers a wide range of benefits. Strip packaging offers many advantages, from compact, lightweight packaging to portability and environmentally friendly materials.

2. What Types of Products Are Suitable For Strip Packing?

Products suitable for strip packing are pharmaceuticals, skincare, hair care, and edibles like snacks and confectionery.

3. What Packing Method is the Best?

Determining the best method is relative as each product has its distinct packaging requirement. However, strip packing will offer airtight, tamper-proof packaging for your products.

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