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What is the point of Food Packaging Machines?

By food packaging machines, we are covering in this topic a broad sense of machinery from primary to secondary and tertiary packaging machines, let it be a flow wrapper, premade bag packaging machine, cartoning machine, or case packer.

A food packaging machine can either be a specific machine for example a VFFS, or a term that just refers to any packaging machinery that is designed and built to work for packaged foods. And when it comes to food application, various regulations and standards may be applied, and then from the final user’s end, they can also put forward some specific requirements.

We will be discussing those primary concerns and the point of a packaging machine for packaged foods:

  • What are the critical features of a food packaging machine?
  • What makes a food packaging machine compliant?

What are Packaged Foods?

Pizza as Packaged FoodPackaged foods are products that have been processed and packaged for sale in supermarkets, convenience stores, and other retail outlets.

These foods are typically pre-prepared or partially prepared and are often designed to be convenient and easy to use. Examples of packaged foods include breakfast cereals, snack bars, frozen dinners, canned soups, and bottled beverages.


What are Food Packaging Machines?

The food packaging machine is a term that does not refer to a specific kind of packaging machinery.

Food packaging machines can be any automated packaging equipment used to pack and package various food products. These machines are designed to efficiently and effectively package food items, ensuring they are properly packed for the purpose of protection, preservation, and convenience of handling, as well as serving as a medium of information for marketing.

A food packaging machine can be

  • Multihead Weigher: A Multihead Weigher is a type of weighing machine that is commonly used in the food industry to accurately measure and portion food products. It consists of several weighing heads, usually between 10 and 24, each with its own weighing bucket.
  • (Vertical or Horizontal) Flow Wrapping Machine / Form Fill Seal Machine: Flow Wrapping Machine is a type of packaging machine that is used to wrap food products in a continuous film of plastic or other materials. The machine works by feeding the food product into the machine on a conveyor belt, which then guides it through the wrapping process.
  • Cartoner: Cartoner machines are in fact not restricted to packaged food, yet they can also be referred to as a kind of food packaging machine now that cartoners can be used as well for a wide range of packaged foods such as pizza, snacks, cereal, dry foods, frozen meal, etc.
  • Thermoforming machine: Thermoformers have been acquiring popularity in recent years due to their flexible packaging for vacuum packaging, skin packing, modified atmosphere packaging, tray packaging, snack packaging such as pretzels, chips, and candy bars, then even for liquid products.


What are the Critical Features of a Food Packaging Machine?

Food packaging machines are nothing different than those other packaging machines regarding the primary features to concern when purchasing them, such as those suggested by PPMA that when buying a packaging machine, people should take into consideration the budget, production rate – the number of packs produced, energy usage, etc.

However, what makes food packaging machines different is that they should also comply with related food-safe serving standards and regulations, as well as fit the complex environment at a food processing and manufacturing facility. 


SUS Construction and Avoid the Use of Galvanized and Coated Metal

Food packaging machines should avoid the use of galvanized and coated parts, and they are better for rugged, robust, and solid stainless steel construction with some use of aluminum and plastic parts.

Coated or Galvanized steel and iron are not USDA-approved food contact materials. Generally speaking, they would not cause severe health problems yet in some specific conditions they would be so. As stated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, coated and galvanized metal should not be sued for food contact surfaces of packaging equipment.

Such is a typical issue when you are purchasing packaging machines from China where a lot of resellers and trading companies would claim that “we use heavy load and solid stainless steel”, while in fact there are bunches of use of coated iron such chrome-coated and zinc-coated parts. They may not necessarily have knowledge about the use of material when it comes to engineering or simply that they have no control over what the real manufacturer would do. But admittedly, every extra penny deserves its value, don’t expect a packaging machine of solid SUS construction at a cheap price!

galvanized metal parts are not food safe serving

Christine Kleen of the American Galvanizer Association once commented that metal parts with Chrome, nickel, tin, and zinc paintings can cause problems when they are in contact with acidic foods and beverages. Another concern is that with time going, coated and galvanized metal parts will deteriorate in chemical stability and lead to harmful substances.

Anyway, the truth is that – It is not safe for serving food with galvanized steel.


Washdown Construction and IP Ratings

Washdown construction is important for food packaging machines because it helps ensure that the machines are hygienic and safe for use in food processing environments.

Food packaging machines that are not designed for washdown environments can accumulate dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants over time, which can pose a risk to food safety. Washdown construction typically involves using materials and design features that are resistant to water, chemicals, and high-pressure cleaning methods. For example, stainless steel is a common material used in washdown construction because it is durable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to clean. Additionally, washdown machines may have enclosures sealed electrical components, and other features that prevent moisture from penetrating into areas where it could cause damage or contamination.

By using washdown construction techniques, food packaging machines can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized without risking damage to the equipment or compromising food safety. This helps ensure that food products are packaged safely and efficiently, while also minimizing the risk of contamination that could lead to product recalls or other costly problems.

IP RATINGSThe IP rating of a food packaging machine determines its level of protection against water and dust ingress.

Washdown of a food packaging machine involves the use of water to clean and sanitize it. The IP rating of a food packaging machine is important in determining the suitability of the machine for washdown applications.

A higher IP rating indicates a greater level of protection against water ingress, making the machine more suitable for washdown applications. For example, a machine with an IP69 rating is designed to withstand high-pressure washdowns making it ideal for use in the food industry where hygiene is critical. And of course, they are extravagant!


Other common concerns when buying a packaging machine

The rest concerns are no other than what should be considered commonly for all kinds of packaging machines:

  1. Automation: A food packaging machine should be highly automated to reduce human error, increase efficiency, and improve productivity.
  2. Flexibility: The machine should be able to handle different types of food products, sizes, shapes, and packaging materials.
  3. Accuracy: The machine should be able to accurately weigh and measure the food product to ensure consistency in packaging.
  4. Hygiene: The machine should be easy to clean and sanitize to prevent contamination and ensure food safety.
  5. Speed: The machine should be able to operate at high speeds to meet production demands.
  6. Durability: The machine should be made of high-quality materials that can withstand the harsh conditions of the food processing environment.
  7. Safety: The machine should have safety features such as emergency stop buttons, guards, and sensors to protect workers and prevent accidents.
  8. User-friendly interface: The machine should have a user-friendly interface that allows operators to easily control and monitor the packaging process.
  9. Maintenance: The machine should be easy to maintain, and spare parts should be readily available to minimize downtime.
  10. Cost-effectiveness: The machine should provide a good return


About the Authors

Zixin Yuan
Digital Marketing Coordinator
Zixin Yuan - LinkedIn

Zhiwei Bao
Company Owner
Zhiwei Bao - LinkedIn

About the Company
ÉLITER Packaging Machinery Co., Ltd
No.1088, Jing Ye Rd, Economic Development Zone, Dong Shan District, Ruian Wenzhou Zhejiang, China 325200
+86 (0577) 6668 2128
ÉLITER Packaging Machinery