Extreme conditions for seal seams
Nelson Morales, Product Manager for films and consumable materials at MULTIVAC Chile, advised the customer on the selection of suitable packaging material, and summarizes the criteria as follows: “Because the film pouches at Compass are exposed to three different temperature ranges and enormous variations in altitude, the seal seams must remain sealed at temperatures between 0 and 100 °C and must be able to withstand pressure differences between 600 and 1000 mbar”. When the pouches are filled with the hot meals, they are exposed briefly to very great heat between 90 and 100 °C. They are transported and stored at 0 to 5 °C, and before being served they must withstand a temperature of 80 °C for two hours. “The reheating in particular posed a trial of strength in the truest sense of the word for the seal seams - the film pouches kept on bursting”, reports Luisa Lobos on the test runs at MULTIVAC, which took place in the search for a suitable material. Eventually one film proved to be durable enough and this had a composition of polyethylene on the inner side and polyamide on the outer side. “We introduced intensive quality control at the same time as the new film, so that we could quickly eliminate any weak points that might arise, and we now have the ideal solution thanks to the outstanding support of MULTIVAC”, says Luisa Lobos with satisfaction.
Since the middle of 2013 Compass has been filling and packing around 80,000 of these durable film pouches per month on a MULTIVAC C 500 double chamber machine and on a compact C 200. Both models are equipped with automatic, progressive ventilation, allowing them to pack either soft, liquid or delicate food products gently and reliably. Since the sealing temperature on the two chamber machines can be set very precisely, users can rely on the high quality of the double-seam sever sealing.
More robust, longer shelf life, more compact
Having made the decision for one tabletop machine and one double chamber machine, Compass has the right machine for every order volume. The compact C 200 with its chamber height of 150 mm is suitable for smaller quantities, while the C 500 impresses with its efficiency: while a film pouch is being loaded in the one chamber, the packaging procedure is running in the second chamber. Thanks to sealing bars that can be quickly changed and filling plates for adapting the pouch to the sealing height, different products can be packed in various pouch sizes without lengthy conversion of the machine.
“The introduction of a new packaging solution has paid off for Compass in every respect”, says Luisa
Lobos in summary. She cites the most important improvement as the durable packs, thanks to which losses due to burst seal seams are a thing of the past. The fact that the robust film pouches can even be filled with hot meals gives Compass two other benefits: firstly, a lot of time is saved by not having the cooling phase, and secondly the shelf life of the packed food has been increased to five days due to hot packing. But that is not enough for Luisa Lobos: “The MULTIVAC service technicians helped us to exploit in full the potential of our new packaging solution: thanks to our new space-saving method of packaging, we can fit more pallets than previously into a container, so that we also save money on transport. We can pass on this price benefit to our customers and therefore continue to retain our competitiveness”.