For many young and growing manufacturing businesses, becoming a more effective and successful production enterprise requires the adaptation of powerful new technologies. Vertical form fill seal (VFFS) machines, like those built by Matrix Packaging Machinery, LLC., are incredible assets in plastic and paper packaging operations, but selecting the ideal equipment for any company is not simple; the selection process may require some additional insights.
Here, we have outlined three very effective and resourceful tips in buying the perfect VFFS machine for your business.
1. Aim for Simplicity and Versatile Operation
In selecting a vertical form fill seal machine, it is important for businesses to carefully evaluate their options and estimate how compatible certain machines and manufacturers may be with their production operation. Many packaging experts will suggest machines that feature reduced or tool-less changeover rates, as this makes the most of precious production time and allows for little to no maintenance when transferring between different product packaging sizes.
Mechanically, growing businesses should seek VFFS machinery that does not require frequent technical maintenance, be it in changeover tasks or general upkeep. All physical processes of the packaging operation should be fluid and seamless, making operation convenient and simple for any production. Additional options to consider integrating with your desired VFFS machine, which can further simplify the production process and increase your production output, include:
- Volumetric cup fillers
- Auger weighers
- Multi-head weighers
- Improved seal jaws
- Dual web capabilities
- Nitrogen generators
- Air blowers
Modern VFFS machines are often programmable and digitally connected with web accessibility. These options present greater control over the production process, and greatly increase the machinery’s ease of operation. Today’s VFFS machines automate the entire packaging process, and assure quality product packaging through a series of checkweighers, feed systems and monitoring software.
Often, the effectiveness of a VFFS machine is not only measured by the production quality and speed of production, but also the ease with which operators control the machine. An ideal machine must be versatile, and accessible to any number of operators; the key here is simple and legible software terminology, formatting and execution.
2. Choose a Machine Appropriate for Your Leading Product
The following is a great tip for growing businesses considering purchasing vertical form fill seal machinery for the first time: Select a machine fitting for your most frequently produced or most popular product. Today’s largest VFFS machines are marketed as all-encompassing tools for packaging products of any size, but this is not exactly the case; while these broadly applicable products are capable of packaging products of many sizes, they are rarely effective at quickly producing this wide range of packaging.
Many packaging experts suggest that, contrary to these large, comprehensive VFFS machines, growing production businesses look into machinery more specifically tailored to produce their highest produced and highest volume products. A machine specialized for packaging your company’s best selling product will provide a greater return on your investment and consume less resources, and the quality of your products will not fall as it may with larger machines.
The cost here is, of course, that the machine will be specialized in effectively producing your flagship product, but may not work as well in packaging other products. At this point, it is important to evaluate the cost and resource savings, and performance efficiency, of a VFFS machine ideally suited for your most popular product. It is far more beneficial to have a machine that flawlessly packages your leading product than one that delivers passable results and quality on a range of products.
With your most popular product as the focus of your vertical form fill seal machine purchase, it is also important to inform the equipment manufacturer of the product and its packaging’s design, dimensions, and weight. By letting manufacturers know that you are seeking an ideal machine for your highest volume product, they can more effectively make suggestions and find the right candidate for your business.
3. Analyze Quality, Initial Cost and Running Cost
It is important for interested buyers to seek not only the most inexpensive VFFS machines, but rather for machines that are able to match lower overall costs with quality results and accessibility. Confusing or difficult to operate machines will only spell trouble when integrated with your business’s production process. Your ideal machine should be simple, easy to use and have acceptable production costs.
A helpful option for VFFS machine buyers to make the most informed decision when selecting a machine is actually seeing the operation of their desired equipment; this can be done in-person, through web demonstrations or video conferences. It can also be helpful to speak with peers in similar businesses who may have or may also be searching for compatible VFFS machines.
The biggest financial factors to consider in selecting an ideal vertical form fill seal machine for your company are, naturally, the base price, annual running cost and potential return value. Smart business owners will know to ask equipment manufacturers what exactly is included in the initial purchasing price. Some manufacturers may not include high-end software options, stainless steel reinforcement or print support in their selling price, all of which are invaluable components to an efficient VFFS machine.
Growing business owners should also generate a reliable estimate of the machine’s annual running cost. This information can be found through analysis of machine options on the web, or through direct contact with manufacturers. In addition to electricity use, vertical form fill seal machines also utilize many parts that can degrade over time, requiring replacement as production progresses.
Learn More About Selecting the Perfect VFFS Machine
To learn more about selecting the right vertical form fill seal machine for your business and product, and evaluate the VFFS options available with today’s technology, contact us today.