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How To Choose A Back-End Packaging Machine For A Beverage Filling Line?

In a complete beverage filling production line, we must not only use bottle rinsing machine, filling machine, capping machine, labeling machine, conveyor system, date printer, but also use the back-end packaging machine.

What Is A Back-End Packaging Machine?

The back-end packaging machine is to pack the filled beverage bottles into a whole in a certain arrangement. Ease product storage, transportation and sale.

What Are The Packaging Forms?

In the beverage industry, film packaging and carton packaging are now common forms.  Among them, film packaging is divided into shrink film packaging and stretch film packaging. Carton packaging is divided into grab type, drop type and wrap type.  Next, we will specify these packaging forms.

1. Shrink Film Wrapping Machine

Shrink film packaging began in the mid-20th century, developed rapidly in the 1970s. And it is now widely used in the packaging industry. It is a method of using shrinkage plastic film to wrap the goods, and then heating Film. Then the film shrinks according to a certain proportion. And then goods are wrapped closely.

Films suitable for heat shrink packaging are PE (polyethylene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PVDC (polyvinyl chloride), PP (polypropylene), PS (Polystyrene), EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) and ionic polymer films, etc. Among them, PE film has the most amount of usage, followed by PVC. These two types account for 75% usage amount of the total shrink film.  

In the beverage industry, PE film dominate.  This is mainly because PE film has high impact strength, low price, strong seam sealing, and is very suitable for shipping packaging.   The shrink temperature of PE is 70-190 degrees.  Therefore, the rear section of the shrinking tunnel is equipped with a blower cooling device.

Shrink packaging process is generally carried out in two steps:

Pre-packaged and heat shrinking.

1). Pre-packaged.  

Wrap the item in a shrink film, leaving the mouth and seal necessary for heat sealing.   When prepackaging, the film size should be 10% to 20% larger than the size of the goods.  If the size is too small, the feeding of the good is inconvenient, and the film may be torn due to excessive shrinkage tension.   If the size is too large, the shrinkage tension is not enough, and the package is not tight or uneven. The thickness of the shrink film can be determined according to the size, quality and required shrinkage tension of the goods. For example, PE film is generally selected with a thickness of 0.08 ~ 0.1mm.

The wrapping method of shrink film is divided into single roll film and double roll film.   Double roll film, that is, place one roll of film on top and bottom of the machine.  Single roll film i.e., place one roll of film at the bottom of the machine.  Double roll film packaging machine speed is less than 20 packs / min.  Single roll film packaging machine speed up to 20 packs / min or more. Suitable for high-speed filling lines.

Double Roll Speed 10 packages/min

2). Heat shrinking.  

Place the prepackaged goods in the heat shrinking tunnel.  A heat shrink tunnel is a box-shaped unit with an insulating wall. In order to ensure that the hot air is evenly blown to the packaging goods, the heat shrinking tunnel adopts an automatic temperature adjustment device to ensure that the indoor temperature is constant (the temperature difference is ±5 °C). And the hot air circulation is carried out by a forced circulation system. When heating, the hot air velocity, flow rate, conveyor belt structure, entrance and exit shape and material all have an impact on the shrinkage effect. Due to the different characteristics of various plastic films, the appropriate heat shrinkage tunnel parameter relationship should be selected according to the characteristics of various films.  The following table shows the main parameter relationship between commonly used shrink films and heat shrinking tunnel.

NO. Plastic filmThickness /mmTemperature /°CHeating time /sWind speed /m. s-1remark
1PVC0.02~ 0.06140~ 1605~ 108~ 12Because of the low temperature, it is suitable for food
2PE0.02~ 0.04160~ 2006~ 1015~ 20Strong fastening
3PP0.03~ 0. 10 0.12~ 0. 20160~ 200 180~ 2008~ 10 30~ 606~ 10 12~ 16The contraction time is long, and the heating is stopped if necessary

It is also worth noting that the mesh chain of the heat shrinking tunnel is available in stainless steel and Teflon.   Compared these two types, the temperature of stainless-steel mesh chain conveying is greatly affected by the shrinking furnace, and the temperature is high. It is easy to fuse the joints of the packaging film together.  Longer shrink furnaces are required and cooling times are longer.  So, the blower cooling device also needs more. The advantage is that it takes a long time to use.  Teflon mesh chain conveying has a short service life and needs to be replaced regularly.  

2. Stretch Film Packaging Machine

Stretch film packaging was founded in 1940.  Mainly to meet the needs of supermarkets selling poultry, meat, seafood products, fresh fruits and vegetables and other product packaging. It is a method of stretching the film at room temperature by using a stretchable plastic film to wrap the packaged goods.

Commonly used stretch films are PVC (polyvinyl chloride), LDPE (low density polyethylene), EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer) and LLDPE (Linear Low-Density Polyethylene).

The following are the properties of several tensile films:

NO. Stretch filmTensile /%Tensile strength /MPaSelf-adhesive /gPuncture strength /Pa

Stretch packaging is divided into sales packaging and transportation packaging. In the beverage industry, it is mainly transport packaging. Wrap and secure the stacked beverages. Prevent stacked beverages from falling during handling.

Stretch packaging machines are available in goods rotary type, packaging arm rotary type and goods mobile type.

1). Goods rotary type.  

Place the goods on a platform that can be rotated, attach the end of the film to the goods, then rotate the platform, stretch the film while rotating, cut the film after a few laps, and stick the end to the item.  

2). Packaging arm rotary type.  

Packing arms rotate around the goods.   Mainly suitable for large goods, goods that are not convenient to rotate, or goods that move on conveyor belts.  

3). Goods mobile type.  

Goods move forward on the conveyor belt.  Two film rollers stand upright on either side of the conveyor belt.  When starting the packaging, the end of the two rolls of film is first heat sealed on the front of the goods, when the goods moves forward, the film is wrapped on it, while the film is stretched, after reaching a certain position, the film is closed and cut off with a sealer, and the end is pasted behind the goods.

In the beverage industry, goods rotary and packaging arm rotary type are the more commonly used methods.

3. Grab-And-Drop Carton Packaging Machine

Cartons are mostly used for transport packaging. Packaging cartons can be divided into cardboard boxes, corrugated cardboard boxes, honeycomb cardboard boxes and so on according to the structure.  Corrugated cardboard boxes are the most widely used for long-term storage and transportation.  

Corrugated boxes come in a wide variety.  In general, there are mainly folding, fixed and sheet cartons.

Grab-and-drop packing Use folding cartons. Both are “Put In” packing type.  That is, the finished, counted, and arranged bottles are loaded into the box from the opening of the carton.  The basic packing process is:

Take the box – box forming – box bottom sealing – put bottles in box – box sealing – finished product

The difference is that the grab-type cartoning machine uses a manipulator to grab the arranged bottles and put them into the box.  Drop cartoners rely on products gravity falling into cartons. Grab-type is mainly used for glass bottles and other heavy, easy to break product packaging.  Drop type can be used for plastic bottles and other products that are not easy to damage. In terms of price, the grab type is more expensive.  When the bottle changes, the grapple head also needs to be replaced.

4. Wrap Type Carton Packing

Wrap type carton packing is the use of corrugated cardboard sheet or thick cardboard sheet to wrap the arranged product around the perimeter. And glue seal the carton.  The basic packing process is:

Carboard sheet – pre-folding – bottle packing – wrapping – glue – sealing

Compared with ordinary packing, the product can be tightly wrapped in the box, reducing the collision of the products in the box during transportation.  Unlike ordinary packing, which uses tape to seal the carton, wrap-type packing uses hot melt adhesive to seal the box.  It is more conducive to the recycling of cartons. But therefore, it is not as strong as ordinary boxing, and is not suitable for glass bottles, alcohol, etc.  Its speed is up to 60 packs per minute and it is more material-efficient and suitable for high-speed filling lines.

Wrap-type carton packing is becoming increasingly popular.  Widely used in cans, plastic bottles, sterile bricks and other fields.   However, pay attention to the use of high-quality wrapping machines, glue sprayers. In order to avoid the phenomenon of loosening of the sealing part during transportation.

High Qulity Glue Device

When choosing a packaging machine, it is necessary to fully consider the production line speed, container material, shape, the cost of packaging materials and local labor costs.

If you are producing glass bottled beverages, a grab-type cartoning machine is a better choice. When the production line speed is low, manual packing is also a good choice with only one sealing machine.  

If the local carton packaging materials are more expensive, and there is not much restriction on plastic packaging materials, you can choose a shrink film packaging machine to save the cost of machines and packaging materials.

If it is milk, natural mineral water and other high value-added products, generally choose a wrapping machine to enhance the image of the product.

Linho will recommend the right packaging machine according to the customer’s budget, product details, and production line size.   Contact us for your exclusive solution!

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