HFFS & VFFS - Form-Fill-Seal Packaging Material Solutions
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Maintaining freshness, quality, color, aroma, and structure of food products is extremely important. XtraPlast stocks a complete rollstock line for HFFS packaging operations. There are also several different package sealing and material options that can drastically improve or shorten shelf life and freshness. Below is a short primer on what you need to know about sealing and material composition.
Form Fill and Seal - Film Structures:
- Polypropylene (PP – OPP) Film:
Polypropylene is the most commonly used film for horizontal form fill & seal (HFFS). It is used to over wrap snack foods, candy, baked goods, etc.
- Polypropylene (PP – OPP) Opaque Film:
Polypropylene film is also available in an opaque film. This film provides a nice white appearance and also provides for very attractive graphics when printed. This film is commonly used for chocolate bars and ice cream treat over wraps.
- Metalized opp:
Used for candy bars, breakfast bars and in some applications pharmaceutical applications where it replaces foil laminates. Most polypropylene films run in a temperature range of 225F – 425F, depending on thickness of film, sealants, coatings and speed.
- Polyester (PET) Film:
Polyester films are commonly used as an outer layer in laminations with other materials. Polyester has good heat resistance which performs well in high speed applications. This film will not shrink due to high temperatures like polypropylene will. The polyester layer in a laminate also adds some strength to the film structure. Light gauged polyester has become the standard over wrap material for toaster pastries. Because of its heat resistance, polyester wrapped products can be heated in microwaves. Variations of polyester are ovenable and can withstand high temeratures.
- Polyethylene (PE) Film:
Polyethylene film comes in three common versions:
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) commonly used in shrink applications such as pizzas, soap bars for South America and a variety of other shrink bundle applications. LDPE can also run on a fin seal type horizontal wrapper if the film is
produced with a sealant layer on the inside. Typically EVA is used for a sealant layer.
This film is primarily used for wrapping plastic cutlery, syringes for the pharmaceutical industry and literature over wrap. Sealing temperatures for LDPE with an inside sealant layer are usually in the 225F – 250F range.
- Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is used in laminations of materials to add tear resistant properties to the finished film structure. It can also be used as a sealant layer in laminated films.
- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) requires a sealant layer in order to seal on a fin seal type horizontal wrapper. It is used as an outer layer along with LDPE and an EVA sealant layer.used for: waffles, crackers and plastic cutlery, to name a few applications. Sealing temperatures for HDPE blends are typically in the 250F - 300F range.
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) commonly used in shrink applications such as pizzas, soap bars for South America and a variety of other shrink bundle applications. LDPE can also run on a fin seal type horizontal wrapper if the film is produced with a sealant layer on the inside. Typically EVA is used for a sealant layer.
- Foil Laminations:
Foil laminations are made up of an aluminum alloy sheet sandwiched between another film layer and an inside sealant layer. These laminations can be several layers thick depending on the desired film properties. Thickness of the foil layer can also vary widely. Foil laminations are used for: pharmaceutical products and light sensitive products.
- Paper/polyethylene Laminations:
Paper/poly laminations are commonly used to wrap gauze bandages. Used for frozen food products such as pot pies and burritos are wrapped in paper/poly films.
- Shrink Film:
The most commonly used shrink wrap is POF polyolefin t is available in a variety of thicknesses, clarities, strengths and shrink ratios. The two primary films can be either crosslinked, or non crosslinked. Shrink films can also be made from an ethylene-propylene copolymer and multi-layer polyolefin. These films are always run on a wrapper using a bottom lap seal and a hot knife end seal. Product wrapped using shrink films include compact disks, candles, greeting cards, box over wrap and trays of frozen product.
- Also included in the shrink film category is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). PVC is used because of its high clarity and stiffness.
Material Sealing Types
When High-Integrity Seals are Required,
XtraPlast Hot Seal Film is the BEST Option.
One of the most important characteristics of XtraPlast HFFS/VFFS rollstock material is its ability to produce an excellent seal over a wide temperature range. Regardless of what the sealing material looks like (clear, colored, or printed) or the moisture barrier properties. The sealing material is not functional on a horizontal flow wrapper if it does not have a flexible sealing temperature range. If the material seals poorly, or if its sealing range is so narrow that a complete seal continuity cannot be maintained, product packaging efficiencies and seal integrity will suffer.
Hot Seal Film from XtraPlast Assures an Excellent Seal, Every Time.
Sealing HFFS/VFFS rollstock material with a good moisture and flavor barrier properties can lose out to sealing materials with less protective qualities - e.g. if the film has poor seal continuity. XtraPlast Hot Seal rollstock film for HFFS/VFFS has excellent sealing properties whether you run four packages per minute or hundreds.
Cold Seal Film consists of a base material (carrier) and a thin layer of glue is printed on the film.
The sealing of this film is achieved with pressure. By pressing the two layers of glue together seal (can be supported by heat), the active adhesive layer form the package seals.
- Cold seal film can be used at high film speeds
- Beneficial when dealing with temperature sensitive products, such as chocolate
- Does not offer the same protection and hermetic seal qualities as heat seal film
- Needs to be stored in a temperature controlled environment otherwise the adhesive properties of the glue can be negatively affected
- The cost for cold seal film is generally higher than heat seal film.
XtraPlast Knows Your Machines & Material
XtraPlast film produces an optimum seal on a vertical or horizontal form-fill-seal machines and only ocasional adjustments may
be required to asure smooth operation. A need for making these adjustments can
be created by many variables. Some of these are: worn sealing jaws,
fluctuation in electrical line voltage, change or variation in sealing material
and also speed changes in the equipment. In many cases more than one
product and sealing material are used on a single wrapper which
necessitates making adjustments.
In order to correctly make the temperature adjustment to compensate for a change or degradation of seal quality, it is important to know what is required to produce a seal on a thermoplastic coated material
Find the Right Packaging Solution, Right Now
The XtraPlast team is comprised of industry-leading packaging consultants that can assist you in determining the right material for your operation. Our team has decades of combined industry experience as can offer you a wide variety of options.
At XtraPlast we listen closely to our customer needs. One consistent need we heard was graphic design help. So, we started our own team. Now we have a full-time graphic design professional as a part of the XtraPlast team. We can help you take your packaged product to new levels with new label design or speciality printed films.