Refining and Eliminating Wrinkles and Creases on Vertical Baggers
Varying thicknesses of film at the end seal can cause sealing problems, especially at the transition points of multiple film layers created by the fin or lap seal, gussets, wrinkles, creases, and at the corners. Applications of pressure and heat must be great enough to cause the sealant layer to flow into and seal off these voids. However, 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.
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 second in a four-part series, will examine this process on vertical baggers; Part 1 covered these issues on horizontal flow wrappers.
Any impediment that disturbs the even flow of film can distort packages and create leakers; a combination of factors is often to blame. To find the causes of these problems and fix them we recommend a comprehensive analysis of design, condition, and adjustment, beginning with the film roll and following along sequentially as the film is unwound, formed, filled, and sealed.
Film Contact with the Forming Collar
The wing of the forming collar should completely and evenly support the film as the flat web is formed into a tube. Too much, too little, or uneven tension can cause wrinkles and creases.
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:
Even experienced users of forming sets can, over time, become conditioned to accept the hidden costs and preventable constraints of their packaging equipment. As with all waste, however, careful diagnosis of the root causes will lead to implementation of effective solutions.
One such root cause is forming tube misalignment. This can occur if the forming set has been accidentally mishandled and damaged or if the forming set has not been properly designed and fabricated in the first place.Read more
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.