Heat Sealing Machine: A Key Player in Food Preservation and Packaging - Obeeco - Processing & Packaging Equipment

In the realm of food preservation and packaging, a heat sealing machine stands as a cornerstone technology, playing a pivotal role in extending product freshness, ensuring food safety, and minimising waste.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into heat sealing machinery and the role it plays within food preservation and packaging, helping you decide whether or not it is the right choice for your operation’s needs.


Why Use a Heat Sealing Machine for Food Packaging?

Heat sealing technology has permeated various industries, from large-scale food production to small-scale retail packaging. Its versatility and efficiency have made it a staple in the packaging landscape, revolutionising the way we handle and store food products.

Here’s a list of reasons why it is used within food packaging.

Extended Shelf Life

Heat sealing creates an airtight barrier around food, preventing the entry of oxygen, moisture, and microorganisms that contribute to spoilage. This hermetic seal significantly delays the degradation of food, extending its shelf life and reducing waste.

Maintains Nutritional Value

The sealed packaging protects food from oxidation, which can cause nutrient loss. By preserving the nutritional integrity of food, heat sealing ensures that consumers receive the maximum benefits of their meals.

Preserves Sensory Appeal

Heat sealing helps maintain the colour, texture, and flavour of food, keeping it visually appealing and enjoyable to consume. This preservation enhances the consumer satisfaction when consuming the product.

Improves Food Safety

By eliminating the risk of contamination from external elements, heat sealing contributes to food safety. This is particularly important for delicate products like fresh produce and prepared meals.

Minimises Packaging Waste

Heat sealing produces durable, tamper-evident packaging that is less prone to tearing or opening. This reduces the risk of product contamination and minimises packaging waste, which in turn promotes sustainability.

Versatile Packaging Solutions

Heat sealing can be used to create a wide range of packaging formats, from clamshells and pouches to trays and retort pouches. This versatility caters to various food products and storage needs.

Resealable Packaging

A heat sealing machine can also be used to produce resealable packaging, allowing consumers to easily store and reseal opened food items. This convenience promotes waste reduction and enhances consumer satisfaction.

The use of heat sealing machines in food packaging offers a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond mere convenience. This technology plays a pivotal role in preserving the quality, safety, and nutritional value of food products.

What Are The Limitations of a Heat Sealing Machine?

Heat sealing machines, while highly beneficial in many aspects of packaging, do have certain limitations. Understanding these limitations is important for deciding whether or not to incorporate the technology into your operation.

Here are some of the key limitations:

Material Restrictions

Heat sealing is typically limited to materials that are heat-sealable, such as certain plastics and thermoplastics. Materials that cannot withstand the heat or do not bond well under pressure are not suitable for this method.

Energy Consumption

Heat sealers, especially industrial-scale models, can consume a significant amount of electricity. This can lead to higher operational costs and a larger carbon footprint.

Maintenance and Downtime

Regular maintenance is required to keep heat sealing machines in optimal condition. Over time, elements like the heating bar may wear out and need replacement. Failure to maintain the equipment can lead to downtime and reduced efficiency.

Precision Requirements

Properly operating a heat sealing machine often requires a lot of training and practice. In order to achieve a perfect seal, you need precise control of temperature, pressure, and dwell time. Inconsistencies in these parameters can lead to weak seals or damaged packaging.

By considering these limitations, businesses can make more informed decisions about integrating heat sealing into their packaging processes and take steps to mitigate potential challenges.


Tailored Methods for Food Packaging and Preservation

Below, we have outlined some tailored methods for food packaging available at Obeeco. These include;

  • Vacuum Sealing: This method removes air before sealing the package, which is excellent for extending the shelf life of food products. However, it requires specialised vacuum sealing equipment.
  • Shrink Wrapping: Shrink wrapping involves enclosing a product in a loose piece of plastic film, which is then heated. Upon heating, the film shrinks tightly around the product, creating a secure seal.
  • Vertical Form-Fill-Seal (VFFS) Packaging Machinery: This method is a highly automated approach that forms, fills, and seals packaging from a single roll of film. VFFS machinery is especially common in the food industry for packaging snacks, powders, granules, and liquids.

These are just some tailored methods of food packaging machinery, however it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each technology in order to find the best match for your operational needs.

How Does a Heat Sealing Machine Work?

A heat sealing machine utilises the power of heat to create a hermetic seal between food and packaging, effectively isolating the product from external elements like oxygen, moisture, and microorganisms.

It works by using heated elements to melt and fuse packaging materials together, here’s a brief overview of the step-by-step process.

  1. Packaging Material Loading: Packaging materials like plastic or foil are fed into the machine and positioned between heated sealing elements. This could be roll stock fed continuously or individual packages/bags.
  2. Clamping: Once the material is loaded properly, the sealing elements then clamp together, pressing the materials to be sealed between hot surfaces. The pressure ensures good contact.
  3. Heating and Cooling: As the heated sealing elements press together, they transfer heat into the plastic or other sealable materials, partially melting and fusing them. After a preset sealing dwell time, the power is turned off and sealing elements cooled either by ambient air or water cooling lines.
  4. Seal Setting: During the heating and then cooling, melted packaging material solidifies to form a new bond and seal. The seal strength will depend on sufficient heat, pressure and time.
  5. Unloading: After cooling sufficiently and setting the new seal, pressure is released and the fully sealed packaging materials exit the heat sealer machine.

The above is a brief overview of how the technology works. Different types of heat sealing machines are designed for specific applications and product types, for example, a benchtop sealer is suitable for small-scale packaging tasks, while tabletop and in-line sealers are used for larger-scale production.

Final Thoughts

The versatility of heat sealing technology ensures its continued importance in the food industry and beyond. From preserving perishable items to enhancing product presentation and promoting sustainability, heat sealing machines play a vital role in packaging and preservation practices.

About Obeeco

Obeeco is an Irish distributor of packaging machinery and consumables. We have been in business for over 40 years and specialise in supplying machinery for the food, beverage, confectionery, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, electronics, and many other industries.

Here at Obeeco, we offer a wide range of machinery, from simple hand-held heat sealing machines to fully automated packaging lines. We also supply a full range of consumables, including packaging films, ribbons, inks, and labels.

Obeeco is committed to providing our customers with expert advice and support, and we offer a comprehensive range of services, including machine installation, training, and maintenance.

Get in contact if you would like to find out more about the range of heat-sealing machinery or other types of packaging technology available at Obeeco.