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Sustainability Benefits

See also:
Man Invents Machine To Convert Plastic Into Oil >>>

Sustainability is about reducing the packaging material as much as possible. New and innovative solutions using Ultrasonic sealing technology reduce the amount of material being used for packaging. In addition Ultrasonic sealing improves the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and reduces the energy consumption.

Material Reduction

Ultrasonic sealing offers new solutions to reduce the amount of material used to seal plastic packages for the following markets: salad, beverage, coffee, dairy, retort, pasta, ready cook meals, and powder applications.

One of the primary benefits of ultrasonics sealing is its ability to seal through contamination in the sealing area, for example fluids, oils, powders or fibers. Ultrasonics will vibrate and cut the contamination out of the sealing area then create a strong hermetic seal. A typical Ultrasonic seal is 50-80% narrower than a heat seal, which results in significant material savings.

A new and smaller package design with less head space and a narrower seal requires significantly less packaging material. Due to potential smaller packaging sizes secondary packaging sizes can also be reduced.

There are new Ultrasonics technologies that allow sealing in intermittent or continuous modes while creating longitudinal and cross sealing lines. this new technology enables film suppliers to simplify structures by downgrading high priced coax layers, reducing the sealing layer gauge, and utilizing lower cost mono resin based structures.

Machine Performance Improvement

Ultrasonics sealing solutions have been successfully implemented in Form/Fill/Seal, carton and blister machines. Ultrasonic sealing stations can be implemented directly by the machine builders (OEM) for new machines or upgraded in the field for previously installed machines.

Ultrasonic sealing is a closed loop system. Measurable feedback can be obtained in the amount of energy consumed during each weld. Once a seal has been verified, process windows can be programmed to measure and validate each seal, which allows easy SPC monitoring.

Direct comparisons with installed heat seal stations have demonstrated that the leaker rates are significantly reduced. In addition, the simplicity of having a cool sealing system ready at any time increases the overall throughput of the machine.

Ultrasonics

The Ultrasonics station consists of an ultrasonics stack, a generator and an anvil. The stack includes a sonotrode, a booster and a converter which are driven by a generator. Due to the short cycle times and high sealing pressure required, specially designed converters and generators are required. Anvil design is a crucial component to consistently achieve the required sealing strength. The anvils are verified with FEA to ensure proper frequency behavior and durability.

The entire Ultrasonic sealing station has to be installed in an extremely rigid manner including rigid sonotrode mounting. In some cases the machine may need to be stiffened. Special attention is required when designing the force build-up assembly.

ROI

An Ultrasonics sealing station is a significant capital investment. Depending on integration levels and machine complexity, past experience has shown a ROI between 6 months - 3 years. See the chart for possible cost variables to be considered for Ultrasonic projects.

 

Cost Variables Heat Sealing Ultrasonic Sealing
Film Costs
Material required for cross seal 5-20mm wide 2mm wide
Material required for fin seal 3-10mm wide 2mm wide
Reduced layer for film - Lower gauge
Down gauge
Cohesive - Eliminate
Consumables
Teflon Tape Replace 2 x per shift N/A
Maintenance
Parts cost to replace heating station or Ultrasonic generator Lower Higher, but less frequent replacement
Parts cost to replace cartridges or sonotrodes Lower
Very frequent
Resurface Sonotrode
Seldom
Time to change Teflon Tape min./day N/A
Time to clean the system Hot station (burns) Cool station
Time to replace heating station or Ultrasonic generator Same Same, but less often
Time to replace cartridges or sonotrodes Faster Slower, but less often
Energy cost
Energy cost for sealing station 100% hot 20-50% during sealing time
Energy cost for cooling station incl. cooling 100% Not required
OEE
Set-up time Frequently Robust - one time
Start of system Delay
Product loss
Instant-on
No preheating
Machine speed Fixed Seal can be faster
Variable machine speeds Wait for new Temperature set Change on the fly (no change of seal settings)
Increase machine reliability
MTBF, MTBA, MTTR, MTTA
- Reliable robust sealing station
Inspection
Internal product inspection
USDA inspection
Up to 100%
Less quarantine products
Close loop sealing
SPC controlled process
- Inspect only questionable products
Leaker rates   Significant reduction in leaker rates

 

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