Vacuum packaging machine is a very popular packaging equipment to remove the air in the package to obtain a “vacuum” environment inside the package and heat-seal the packages to keep the “vacuum” status for a certain period of time. The food industry is the most important field where vacuum packaging technology plays a role. In the food industry, vacuum packaging can effectively extend the shelf life of food and facilitate the storage, circulation and sales of food. Vacuum packaging technology is also very common in the packaging of medical equipment, which is used to isolate and inhibit bacteria and ensure the aseptic properties of medical equipment. The textile industry also often uses vacuum packaging technology to package textiles to achieve the effects of moisture-proof, insect-proof and product volume compression.
The use of commercial (industrial-grade) vacuum packaging machine is so extensive that it is necessary for us to understand the related knowledges, including the purchasing, installation, main structural components and working processes of the machines, etc. If you are a vacuum packaging machine pro or would rather contact us for related information, please skip this article to the product page, where the details of the vacuum packaging machines we supply are listed.
There are many types of vacuum packaging machines. In terms of machine structure and workflow, semi-automatic and fully automatic vacuum packaging machines are completely different. In this article, we will take the double chamber vacuum packaging machine as an example to present the knowledges of the semi-automatic vacuum packing machines. Please understand the following contents are for reference only, machines from different manufacturers might be different in many ways.
How to purchase vacuum packaging machine
1. Decide if vacuum packaging is the right packaging method for your product. Do not vacuum pack fresh vegetables and fruits without pre-processing because anaerobic respiration will accelerate spoilage. Powder products requires specially designed vacuum packaging machines. Crisp products requires nitrogen-filling to prevent squeeze and smash. Cooked meat and ready meals need sterilization after vacuum packed.
2. Get to know the product dimension and package dimension. Semi-auto vacuum packaging machines are used to pack products in premade vacuum pouches. It is important to clarify the vacuum pouch dimension and package dimension (length*width*height, after product is loaded into the pouch) to determine vacuum packaging machine dimension.
3. Packaging productivity requirement (packs/hour). You might need a small machine for small productivity, or larger machine for larger productivity, maybe even multiple sets of larger machines. Vacuum packaging machine productivity is determined by package dimension and machine size.
4. Find a professional manufacturer and supplier of vacuum packing machines. Benefits:
- You will get professional advices from professional supplier
- Guaranteed machine quality
- Direct communication, quick answers to questions, saves time and energy
- Guaranteed after-sale services
- More options to optimize the machine, flexible design
- Perfect combination of machine quality and price
5. Provide related information to machine supplier to get a quotation:
- What product to pack
- Product dimension
- Packaging dimension
- Product condition before/after vacuum packaging
- Productivity requirement
- Specifications of vacuum pouches to use
- Local power supply
- Payment and delivery method
6. Negotiate price and terms, sign contract, make payment and wait to receive the vacuum packaging machine.
Installation of vacuum packaging machine
After receiving the purchased vacuum packaging machine, you should first check whether the outer packing box is damaged. If so, you need to take pictures first to communicate with the seller to solve the problem. We usually use strong fumigation-free wooden boxes to pack the vacuum packaging machines to ensure that the machines will not be damaged. But in extreme cases, if the machine is damaged, the seller should be contacted immediately. Generally, when shipping, the seller will purchase marine insurance to ensure that the loss of the goods is compensated.
If everything goes OK, the next step is installation.
- Vacuum packaging machine shall be installed on a flat, solid and clean ground, fixed and firmly.
- The working environment of the vacuum packaging machine should have an appropriate temperature, low humidity, and low salt content to reduce the probability of the machine being corroded. Although the machine is made of SUS304 which is anti-corrosion, the electrics parts are more likely to rust. For fish and seafood processing facilities where contain high humidity and salt, it is highly recommended to prepare drying equipment to reduce the moisture and salt content in the air to prolong the service life of the vacuum packaging machine.
- Power supply connection. Commercial vacuum packaging machines usually require 3 phase electricity. The most commonly used voltage of 3 phase electricity in the world is 220V, 380V, 400V, 415V, 50/60Hz. Make sure your supplier has customized the electric parts according to your local power supply specifications.
- Cooling water connection. This is only applied to the belt-type continuous vacuum packaging machines. The cooling water must be clean and able to cool down the temperature of heating elements after each heat-seal cycle is completed.
Working process of (double chamber) vacuum packaging machine
Step 1, Preset vacuum time, heat-seal time, cooling time, heating temperature from the control panel. The value of these parameters shall be set according to vacuum chamber volume, vacuum pouch material and thickness.
Step 2, Put the products into premade vacuum bags, make sure the cleaness of the bag’s sealing area, avoid oil and water contamination to ensure the sealing strength and prevent leakage. Different food products require vacuum pouches made of different materials, check this article for reference.
Step 3, Put the vacuum pouches onto the working plate of vacuum packaging machine, sealing area of vacuum pouches right on the silicone strip, use the metal bar to press the sealing area.
Step 4, Vacuum and seal. Press the vacuum chamber cover for 2-3 seconds (for double chamber vacuum packaging machines with automatic chamber cover swing function, it’s not necessary to press the chamber cover manually), limit switch will be triggered to start the vacuum pump automatically. The air in the vacuum chamber as well as in vacuum pouches will be evacuated, vacuum meter will show the real-time vacuum degree. The vacuum and seal step details:
- Vacuum. Meanwhile the heating wire is heated
- When the vacuum period reaches the preset vacuum time, vacuum pump stops working
- Air bag inflates to push the heating element (heating wire, heating isolation cloth) down to press the sealing area of vacuum pouches. The vacuum pouches are heated and sealed for a few seconds
Step 5, Magnetic valve opens to allow air flow back into the vacuum chamber, heating element bouce back to position, vacuum chamber cover slightly bounces up automatically
Step 6, Repeat the cycle in another vacuum chamber
Main components of vacuum packaging machine
1. The vacuum chamber. The bottom part of vacuum chamber is the working plate, which is fixed. The bottom vacuum chamber is the chamber cover, which swings alternatively between the 2 sides of the double chamber vacuum packing machine. There is a silicone sealing gasket mounted in the side groove of the chamber cover to prevent air leakage during vacuum process.
It’s important to make sure the vacuum chamber is strong enough to resist the powerful negative pressure during vacuum pump works to evacuate air. So vacuum chamber usually is made of SUS304 stainless steel 3-4 mm, reinforced construction prevents deformation caused by negative pressure.
2. The vacuum chamber cover open, move and balancing facility. The chamber cover of double chamber vacuum packing machine moves from one side to another during each packaging cycle, with the help of 4 connection rods. The four connecting rods are fixed on two long shafts, and there are tension spring shift forks on the long shafts. The lower part of the two tension springs is positioned on the frame, and the upper part is positioned on the tension spring shift forks to balance the operation gravity. The two long shafts are positioned by two sets of bearing seats, and the upper parts of the four connecting rods are also inlaid with miniature bearings, so the left and right displacement is very easy. When the vacuum is started, a little pressure is applied, and it can be opened automatically after the air return is completed. The four connecting rods supporting the displacement of the upper vacuum chamber, the front and rear two on each long axis must be kept parallel, and the left and right two sets of connecting rods must also be relatively parallel to ensure that the upper vacuum chamber is the same as the lower vacuum chamber at any position on the left or right. Keep parallel, otherwise, the upper and lower vacuum chambers cannot be kept parallel, and the operating pressure will increase significantly, and even the vacuum cannot be established normally in severe cases.
3. Heat-sealing and printing devices. Heating assembly is composed of a phenolic rod to support the whole heating system, a sealing wire (nichrome) for heating and sealing, a PTFE cloth to prevent vacuum bags burning, a airbag to press sealing wire, and other devices to install and fix the elements. Heating assembly is installed on the top vacuum chamber cover. For printing, there are molds for characters (numbers and alphabets) that can be installed in the silicone stripes.
4. Vacuum system. The vacuum system of double chamber vacuum packaging machine includes vacuum pump, vacuum meter, magnetic valves, and vacuum pipes. Vacuum system is the heart part of a vacuum packing machine, it’s important to use powerful and durable vacuum pump. We usually use China top brand vacuum pump or Busch vacuum pump. Vacuum meter indicates the vacuum degree of vacuum chamber in real time so you can check the vacuum status any time. Two vacuum magnetic valves are usually used, one is a ￠5 two-position three-way magnetic valve, and its main function is to control the work of the upper and lower positions of the hot-press sealing device. The other is a ￠15 two-position two-way magnetic valve. Its main function is to open the passage after vacuum and heat sealing, so that the atmosphere returns to the vacuum chamber, otherwise the vacuum chamber cannot be opened.
5. Electrics, including time relays, transformers, and contactors. We can also supply vacuum packaging machine with PLC and touch screen control upon request.
6. Vacuum packaging machine frame construction. Most industrial-grade vacuum packing machines are designed to stand on floor, so a solid frame construction is important to support the whole system for very long time (5-10 years). The frame and base shall be made of reinforced SUS304 stainless steel, and sturdy castors shall be equipped for each moving of the machine.
Daily maintenance of vacuum packaging machine
After we purchase a vacuum packing machine, we certainly want to use if for as long time as possible. The durability of a vacuum packaging machine is of course determined by it’s quality, but daily maintenance of also important. Effective maintenace can reduce machine downtime, prevent unpredictable failures, prolong machine’s service life.
- Vacuum packaging machine must be operated and maintained by trained person
- Clean vacuum packaging machine before and after each working shift
- Keep watching the oil level and oil color of vacuum pump from the observation window. If the oil level goes below the 1/3 part of the observation window, of color of oil goes black, you should refill oil or replace oil. Usually the vacuum pump oil shall be replaced after 500-2000 working hours, depending on the working environment.
- Lubricate the connection rod and springs periodically
- Keep an eye on sealing wires, PTFE heating isolation cloth and time relays
The double chamber vacuum packaging machine is a conventional packaging equipment with a relatively simple structure, easy to use and maintain. Generally, problems can be solved by users themselves.
1. Vacuum pump doesn’t work/ loud noise
- The power supply phase is missing or the fuse is broken. Solution: check the power supply line or replace the fuse.
- The vacuum pump is reversed. Solution: power commutation.
- The main contact point of the IC is in poor contact. Solution: adjust or replace it with a new one.
- The ISJ normally closed contact is in poor contact. Solution: adjust or replace it with a new one.
- The vacuum pump does not stop overtime. The reason is that the time relay does not work. Solution: repair or replace it.
2. Low vacuum degree or no vacuum
- The vacuum pump oil is too little or polluted. Solution: add oil or change the oil.
- The vacuum pump smokes or leaks. Solution: clean the vacuum pump, replace the exhaust filter, and check the back-pressure valve.
- The vacuum pipe system is not sealed tightly. Solution: check the vacuum pipes, repair or replace leakage points.
- The magnetic valve 2DT iron core is stuck and cannot be reset. Solution: overhaul or cleaning.
- Bad quality vacuum pouches
- Magnetic valve 1DT doesn’t work. Solution: Repair or replace
3. Not sealing or bad sealing quality
- Sealing wire broken
- Air bag broken
- Inappropriate vacuum/sealing time
- The heat sealing circuit is loose or broken.
- The main contact of 2C is in poor contact
- 2C doesn’t work
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