Intermittent motion packaging machines vs continuous motion packaging machines
• Principally designed for liquid filling, the HFFS continuous motion machines offer an increase of up to 60% in production levels compared to the HFFS intermittent motion packaging machines, as the pouch is in constant movement, which allows for greater line speed.
• Apart from being able to fill packages with liquid products, the intermittent machines can also fill solid products and apply top-caps as well as corner and front caps.
Every day, several million packs – 4 sided sealed sachets, stick pack, stand-up pouch and other flexible packaging – are filled by Mespack packaging machines. With more than 1,700 pieces of equipment in service around the world, the Duravant Group company has a large catalogue of flexible packaging solutions at its disposal. This is divided into two main groups: “On the one hand, we have a wide range of horizontal machines, which can be divided into either rollstock-production or pre-made pouches, and in turn can be continuous motion filling or intermittent filling. On the other hand, we have a wide range of vertical multilane machines for stick pack or flat pouches, which are all intermittent motion filling”, explains Santi Alberich, Mespack’s Marketing Manager.
Pouches in constant movement
Principally designed for liquid filling and large sizes (from 750 ml to 3 l), regardless of whether they produce the pouch from rollstock (like the HCM-Series), or from pre-made pouches (SCM-Series), they have the special feature of combining a continuous unwinder, intermittent pouch forming and continuous filling. This last feature, Alberich explains, increases the equipment’s production speed, achieving a much higher production capacity (up to 60% more). “As the pouch is in constant movement, the filler moves alongside it, so that when filling the pouch with the liquid product we avoid a wave being created inside, by the inertia, which disrupts the intermittent (stop-start) machines. In this way we can fill faster and seal the pouch perfectly, as there is no risk of contaminating the sealing area.”
Furthermore, these machines allow a complete, automatic changeover, both in the forming and filling areas, which reduces the format change to a few minutes, with little operator intervention (“changes of sealers or cutting patterns, for example, must be done manually”, the company’s Marketing Manager points out).
Mespack is working to improve its HFFS continuous packaging solutions for filling solid products.
Both intermittent and continuous packaging machines offer the same quality of finish for the pouch
The pouch progresses step by step
The machines which are not continuous, the horizontal H-Series and SC-Series, or the vertical MS-Series and ML-Series, carry out the different processes intermittently (except for the unwinder which is also continuous starting from the H-150). In Alberich’s words this also makes them perfect for working with any type of product other than liquids: powdered products, granulated products or tablets. “We can work faster [with solid products] than with liquid products as the machine’s intermittent movement does not affect the product’s behaviour inside the pouch.” The intermittent machines also offer different levels of fast size changing, although this requires somewhat more user intervention than the continuous machines. Lastly, another difference (apart from the necessary investment) regarding the continuous machines is that the intermittent machines can apply top-caps as well as edge and front caps. Both types of equipment offer the same quality of finish for the pouch, Mespack’s Marketing Manager assures.