FAWEMA packaging and bagging machines
by Mark Wild, Sales Manager at Fawema, Germany
With 97 years of history behind them, it would be fair to say that Fawema´s know-how and experience in the field of packaging and bagging is quite unique. But while having a long and rich heritage is of course important, ensuring a consolidated and bright future is even more important and it was with exactly this sentiment in mind that Fawema, located near Cologne in Germany, decided in recent years to dedicate their vast technical capability and resources to developing a new range of automatic packing machines, which is today radically revolutionizing the way in which flours and other powder and granulated products are packed into bags.
In much the same way in which the automobile industry has utilized servo-drive transmission to guarantee reliability and an easy driving experience into motor vehicles, Fawema has successfully introduced servo-drive technology into the new range of FA217 flour packing machines and the results have been truly incredible.
Thanks to servo-drive, the new Fawema packing machinery offers the user a modern machine, which is extremely reliable, totally hygienic and delivers high capacity performance of up to 110 bags per minute. An intelligent energy recovery system ensures that no power is wasted and thanks to this incorporated recovery system, the complete machine benefits from substantial overall energy savings.
The new range of machines do not require oil sumps, grease or lubrification and with increased dust aspiration ducting it all signifies a machine which is clean, perfectly hygienic and with no risk of contamination. All machine movements are precise and with no mechanical slipping or wear and tear, the results are optimal with vastly reduced costs on parts and service and improved reliability.
Changing trends: Paper and plastic packaging materials
Kraft paper in the form of ready-made, block-bottom bags has long been the preferred packaging material when it comes to retail-size flour packs from 500 grams to 5kg. Used by mills in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Australia, kraft paper bags lend themselves well to flour packaging for a number of reasons such as competitive cost, easy to source, allow for rapid internal flour settling, easy to store and transport in brick pack form and presents well to the consumer at point of sale. Recently however, a trend in the market towards utilizing plastic packaging material has become evident and Fawema has designed, built, delivered and installed a large number of machines during the last three years for packing flour and flour-based products into retail-size plastic bags.
Plastic packaging materials come in two forms – printed reels or ready-made, block bottom bags and the characteristics, quality and thickness of the plastic vary depending on several factors such as the types of packs to be made i.e. pillow packs or stand-up brick packs, weight of the pack to be made and whether or not secondary or tertiary packaging will be utilised.
Why are some millers changing to plastic bag packaging?
The millers themselves point to three key factors:
1. Plastic material is stronger than paper hence the mills get far fewer claims and returns on damaged or broken bags.
2. The bags are closed by heat seal and then in the case of brick packs the top is folded and held down either by a resealable label or by hot melt glue. This creates a pack that is leak-proof.
3. Glossy printed plastic is an ideal marketing material, which is attractive and appealing to the consumer.
These three points are important although paper producers and paper bag suppliers will argue that there is much more to the debate than just this and that the listed points are general theories rather than specific proven case studies. Quality in both paper and plastic can vary greatly. In the case of SOS kraft paper bags, the structure quality of the bag itself depends on the type of converting machine being employed to make the bag (type of machine, manufacturer of machine, age of the machine, quality of glue used for closing the seams and whether or not the machine is set up perfectly to make consistent quality bags in large volumes).
Another major factor is the paper quality. Important paper suppliers such as Billerudkorsnas from Sweden who supply premium-quality paper to converters who then manufacture the flour bags, will rightly argue that if a good quality paper is deployed and the converter uses the correct paper thickness for the bags, the paper bags will be just as strong as plastic bags. Furthermore, a good quality print is achievable on paper bags comparable with that of plastic if the paper quality used is the right one. The paper suppliers will also highlight the environmental issue when comparing plastic v paper and the simple fact ist hat paper bags are 100 percent recyclable – something which the plastics industry are unable to claim.
The question of sealing is a topic which has many pros and cons. Naturally, if a plastic bag is hermetically sealed then product leakage should not occur and the advantages are obvious.
The downside to this is that before a plastic bag can be closed, all of the internal air must first be evacuated otherwise the bag will resemble a balloon, be susceptible to bursting, be unstable and will result in a physically unattractive package. Evacuating air takes time and therefore a longer than standard product settling track is required on the packing machine. Paper bags have the feature of being porous to air so any air inside a paper bag will eventually be evacuated even after the bag is closed.
Versatility and simplicity are key
In today´s ultra-competitive business world, capital equipment investments are essential to stay ahead of the field. Market demands constantly rise and packaging trends driven by consumers who are increasingly more sophisticated in their buying habits are always changing, therefore the milling industry must address the challenges of packaging as one of the primary elements of their business.
‚Retail is detail and when it comes to retail food, the consumer is even more conscious of the need for quality in both the food product itself as well as the packaging. The need to make the right investment in a packing machine or system has never been more important and versatility and simplicity are key factors to be considered in selecting the right equipment.
A machine must be as versatile as possible in order to meet the ever-changing trends and requirements, but it should also be user-friendly and simple to operate. At Fawema, our belief is that we have created a range of flour packing machines that meet these criteria. The new Fawema equipment designed and built for the 21st century is versatile, reliable, simple to use and offers the very best solutions to high-capacity throughputs, weight precision, energy savings and food safety.
Innovation never stops
Innovation is never-ending and research into new technology and future improvements in flour packaging is always a top priority at Fawema. Please watch this space because even more exciting new things are coming soon!
February 2017 - Milling and Grain