Stick Pack Machines

Stick Pack Machines – Process & Operation

Let’s walk through the steps to convert a single roll of laminated film into the oh-so-appealing stick pack packaging that is increasingly popular in the supplements, neutraceutical, and pharmaceutical industries.


Multilane stick pack machines are used in many industries manufacturing powdered, granulated, liquid, and gel products. The stick pack format, also known as the single-serve format, is increasing in popularity among consumers mainly because its portability, convenience, and ease of use are highly sought after by consumers today. Manufacturers and co-packers value stick-pack machines because they achieve high throughputs and save valuable plant floor space. 


The operation of a stick machine is very similar to the more familiar, single-lane vertical form-fill-seal packaging machines or VFFS. Barrier film is unwound and travels through the machine vertically, and various bags are then formed, filled, and sealed. Because of their vertical orientation, they are compact but reach speeds of up to 100 bags per minute. Multilane stick-pack machine models can accommodate up to 24 lanes, and a single stick-pack machine can produce up to 1,800 stick-packs per minute. That’s over 26 sticks per second! Here’s how we do it:


Film Transport & Unwind

Stick pack machines use a single sheet of film material rolled around a core, usually called roll stock. The film is unwound from the film reel, positioned at the rear part of the machine, into the pneumatic shaft to ensure the proper reel positioning. The movement of the cross-seal jaws at the front of the stick-pack machine provides the unwinding process. The two photocells handle the alignment of the reel, which works automatically and can be actuated through the touch screen.


Optional Printing

In order to print variable information, the machine is equipped with a coder, and the film is fed around a registration roller which registers the position of the date stamp on the package positioned perpendicularly to the horizontal seal. The film is threaded over a sensor that reads eye marks regulating the seal positioning with the printing. Aranow can variably install laser, thermal, inkjet, or thermal transfer printers according to customer requisites. 


Film Tension

Dancer arm controls are essential to maintain a constant pressure as the film is unwound from the roll and holds the proper operating position.

The arm incorporates a series of rollers, and as the film is transported downwards, the arm moves up and down to keep the film under tension while also ensuring it will not wander from side to side as it is moving.


Film Cutting

From the nip rollers, the foil moves into the cutting section. In this case, the cutting disk knives are motorized and are made with a blade and counter blade, which produce a quality cut. Motorized cutters help to retain the foil tension. The film passes through the knives, which are in contact with a specially designed roller to obtain individual stick packs as it passes through this assembly.


Stick Pack Forming

From here, the cut film passes over multiple forming tubes (one per lane). As the cut film crests the shoulder (collar), it is folded around the forming tubes, and the two outer edges of the film are overlapped and sealed, resulting in the “stick pack” shape 


The forming tubes can be set to produce a “lap” or “fin” seal. A lap seal overlaps the two outer edges of the film to create a flat seal, while a fin seal marries the insides of the film’s two outer edges, creating a seal that sticks out like a fin. A lap seal is generally considered more aesthetically pleasing and uses less material than a fin seal. Aranow Machinery uses longer forming tubes to seal with a more attractive final appearance.

Changing the length of the stick pack is easy to accomplish via the Touch Screen of all servo-motored Aranow Machines.


Stick Pack Filling and Sealing

Once the film stops moving, multiple vertical seal bars (one per lane) move forward and make contact with the vertical overlap on the film. The vertical seal bar presses itself against the forming tube and creates the vertical seal.

A single horizontal sealing jaw comes together to make the top seal of one stick pack and the bottom seal of the next. While the sealing jaws are closed, the product being packaged is dropped down the center of the forming tubes and fills each bag. A proper filling system, such as a volumetric filler, liquid pump, or auger filler, is used to fill the product into each stick at the desired speed with great accuracy. When packaging liquid products into stick packs, Aranow machines utilise special servomotor systems that seal the stick packs without any contamination or sealing problems. With Aranaow Machinery, you can also control how many lines you want to heat.


Stick Pack Discharge

After the product has been released into each stick pack, the knife moves forward and cuts the bag, or the horizontal seal is “notched” just under the horizontal seal jaw. We can supply different discharge solutions for different secondary packaging.


About Aranow Packaging Machinery

Aranow Packaging Machinery is an international company specializing in the design and production of multilane packaging machinery for single dosage (stick pack and flat sachet) with the possibility of being supplemented with a secondary packaging machine (stand-up pouch, gusset, flowpack, cartoner or tray into flowpack).


Feel free to contact us today to set-up a meeting.

Jean-François Biron

Sales and marketing background in the automation and packaging equipment industries. Strong interest in technologies, new packaging development, sustainability and marketing strategies.