In today’s blog post, we are walking through the steps to convert a single roll of laminated film into multiple finished stick packs.
Multi-lane stick pack machines are used in many industries for powder and liquid products. The stick pack format is popular for single-serve products which consumers love for their portability, convenience, and ease of use. Manufacturers and co-packers love stick pack machines because they achieve high throughput and save valuable plant floor space. But how do stick pack machines work?
The operation of STICK PACK MACHINES is very similar to more common, single lane vertical form-fill-seal packaging machines where a roll of film is cut and formed into single bags. Then, the bags are filled with product and sealed, all in a vertical fashion, at speeds of up to 100 bags per minute. Multi-lane stick pack machines can accommodate up to 24 lanes, therefore 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 referred to as rollstock. The film is unwound from the film reel, positioned at the rear part of the Machine, into the pneumàtic shaft to ensure the right position of the reel. The film unwinding process is done by means of movement of the cross seal jaws, located at the front of the stick pack machine. The two photecells controls the alignment of the reel which works automaticaly and also can be actuated thru the touch screen.
If the machine is equipped with a coder or printer, the film is fed around a registration roller. This helps to register the position of the date stamp on the package in relation to the horizontal seal. The film is threaded over a sensor that reads eye marks and controls the position of the horizontal seal in relation to the printing on the film. Aranow can install the following types of printers, laser, thermal printer, inkjet and thermal transfer printer.
Next, the film is fed through a set of nip rollers. The nip rollers keep even pressure on the film to help to keep it at a constant tension, thus keeping the dancer arm in cubethe proper operating position.
During unwinding, the film is unwound from the roll and passes over a dancer arm which is a weighted pivot arm located at the rear of the machine. The arm incorporates a series of rollers. As the film transports, the arm moves up and down to keep the film under tension while also ensuring the film will not wander from side to side as it is moving.
From the nip rollers, the foil goes into the cutting section. The cutting disk knives are not motorized. In our case this cutting is motorized and is made with blade and counter blade to have a better quality cut. The motorized cut helps to control the foil tension The film is passed through the knives which are in contact with a specially designed roller. The film is cut into individual stick packs as it is pulled 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) on each forming tube, it is folded around the tube so that the end result is a ‘STICK PACK’ shape with the two outer edges of the film overlapping each other.
The forming tubes can be set up to make a lap seal 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 two outer edge of the film to create 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.In the Aranow Machines are using longer formin tubes, to seal with better final appearance.
Changing the lenght of the stickpack is very easy to do from the Touch Screen of all Aranow Machines, which are equipped with servomotors.
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 makes the vertical seal.
Then a single horizontal sealing jaw comes together to make the top seal of one stick pack and the bottom seal of the next one. While the sealing jaws are closed, the product that is being packaged is dropped down the center of the forming tubes and fills each individual bag. A proper filling system, such as a volumetric filler, liquid pump, or auger filler is used to accurately fill product into each stick at the desired speed. I you need to fill liquid products into stick packs, the Aranow machines have special servomotor systems to seal the stick packs without any contamination or sealing problems. With the Aranaow Machines, you can control how many lines do 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 specialised 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, tray into flowpack).
Feel free to contact us today to set-up a meeting. link-pack.com/contact