Troubleshooting Extra Layers of Film at the End Seal – Part 1 of 4

Refining and Eliminating Wrinkles and Creases on Horizontal Flow Wrappers

Varying thicknesses of film at the end seal can cause sealing problems, especially at the transition point between two and four layers created by the fin seal, gussets, wrinkles and creases, as well at the corners. Applications of pressure and heat (if applicable) must be great enough to cause the sealant layer to flow into and seal off these voids. Excess pressure can easily crush or split the end seal, while overheating distorts the seal and can cause poor hot tack, where the film springs back open, or “moons,” before the seal can set.

Package Quality Issues_Greener Corporation

The operating window for creating quality seals can be elusive, resulting in packages that leak, are distorted, and have little appeal to consumers.

An important step in troubleshooting these issues is to eliminate unintended wrinkles and creases. This post, the first in a four-part series, will examine this process on horizontal flow wrappers; Part 2 considers these issues on vertical baggers.

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Troubleshooting Intermittent Seal Quality Issues

When end seal issues such as leakers or splitting occur, an important initial step is to determine where, and how often, the trouble shows up. For problems that occur inconsistently—perhaps leakers on every other package, or splits only on the top or trailing end seals of the package—you need to determine if the bad seals show up randomly or according to a pattern. Do the problems occur on every package? On both ends of the package?

Start out by collecting a series of packages produced by the machine during production conditions. Number the packages sequentially and mark the machine flow direction. If you are working on a horizontal wrapper with multiple crimpers, label each pair (ex: A, B) and mark each seal according to the set of crimpers it came from. Now you can trace the problem seals back to the place they occur.

packages-numbered-and-labeled_greener-corp_hff-4-descriptions_4
Following is a list of procedures that will help you troubleshoot intermittent seal problems. You can find additional details by clicking on the links or images in each section: Read more
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HEAT: Improving Seal Quality and Consistency

For heat seal applications, each packaging film structure has a Seal Initiation Temperature (SIT), at which the sealant layer is heated enough to flow into and seal off gaps in the end seal and provide a minimally acceptable seal, and a Maximum Temperature, beyond which the film distorts, fractures, or has inadequate hot tack (seal strength and integrity while the seal is still warm). The temperature range between the minimum and maximum is the film’s Operating Window.

For a number of reasons, regulating heat is not as straightforward as simply adjusting the temperature setting within the operating window for the film you are running.

 The sealing face of crimpers and sealing jaws is often hotter in the middle than at the ends, where heat dissipates more quickly. These inconsistencies are readily apparent in the thermal profile shown below:

Stainless Steel Crimper Thermal Profile

Stainless Steel Crimper Thermal Profile

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Case Study: Packaging Material Cost Reduction

Project Goals

The corporate engineering department at a large, international company commenced a project to reduce material costs for a variety of products that are individually packaged on horizontal flow wrappers. Greener Corporation was invited to participate in a series of meetings that defined the project’s initial goals:material cost reduction_Greener Corporation

  • To reduce the cut-off length for each package by reducing the overall seal width, thus allowing the product envelope to remain unchanged.
  • To achieve material savings without degrading seal integrity or productivity levels.
  • To achieve a project payback period of twelve months or less.

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Clearance and Pressure on Horizontal Wrappers: What’s the Difference?

Greener’s latest “Tech Bites” video explains how proper clearance and pressure adjustments optimize horizontal flow wrapper performance.

Clearance and pressure settings on horizontal flow wrappers are critical for achieving quality packages, minimizing downtime, and controlling costs. We’ve noticed that the differences between clearance and pressure, and the proper occasions to adjust each of them, are not always clear to those making these adjustments. Greener’s latest “Tech Bites” video and blog post differentiate the function and adjustment of clearance and pressure. Read more

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White Papers: From Problem Solving to Proactive Improvement

Greener Corporation has published a series of white papers devised to help optimize package quality and productivity on horizontal and vertical form fill seal packaging lines. In addition to helping you solve problems, these technical articles provide foundational information you can use to implement proactive improvements—an approach that helps deter problems from occurring in the first place.

End Seal Leaks at the Fin Seal Fold

End Seal Leaks at the Fin Seal Fold

Serration Pattern Design

Serration Pattern Design

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