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Trends > Going green

GEA ultrasonic sealing innovation helps cut waste

By Rod Addy , 14-Feb-2013

GEA Food Solutions has devised an ultrasonic bag sealing machine that gives consistent results for films as thin as 30 microns.

The move is significant because many firms are moving towards the use of thinner films, as they cost less than thicker packaging materials and reduce the amount of packaging waste going to landfill.

The GEA SmartPacker automates the sealing process and uses a patent-pending technology, which keeps its sealing jaws parallel to incredibly tight tolerances.

‘Extreme demands’

“The gap between the closed jaws when sealing a 30-micron film is just 60 microns, which places extreme demands on the engineering tolerances of the assembly, and on the components that control its movement and alignment,” said GEA Food Solutions, which is based in De Fuus in the Netherlands.

A deviation from parallel position of just microns at either end of the jaws can result in an incomplete seal, said the company.

“Even external factors such as climatic conditions can negatively influence the seal integrity. The new GEA SmartPacker eliminates the effect of these external factors, thus ensuring the anvil remain parallel.”

Air tight seal still possible

Instead of using thermal energy to form a seal, ultrasonic technology uses high frequency ultrasonic vibrations to bond two layers of film together at the molecular level. Even if moisture or small particles of debris remain in the sealing area, an air tight seal is still possible. This is not the case with thermal sealing.

As a result, ultrasonic sealing makes automatic case packing possible without seal testing.

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