Vacuum packaging machines are a variety of packaging devices that are designed for vacuum packaging of food and non-food products for the purpose of prolonging shelf life, moisture proof, product volume reduction (often used for textiles), etc. Yide Machinery Co., Ltd. offers a wide range of commercial vacuum packaging machines with different working process and output capacity to meet unique needs of customers all over the world. Generally, there are 2 types of vacuum packaging machines: 1. Vacuum sealing machine for premade vacuum bags; 2. Thermoforming vacuum packaging machine that uses film rolls rather than premade vacuum pouches. If you are not sure which machine to use, please contact us for suggestions.
Vacuum Packaging Machines
What is vacuum packaging machine
Vacuum packaging machine is a series of packaging equipment that evacuate the air in plastic vacuum bag and seal the bag, so as to keep the vacuum status inside the pouch for a certain period of time to prolong shelf-life of food products.
The ultimate purpose of a vacuum packaging machine is to make sure of minimum oxygen and air residual inside vacuum bags. The vacuum packaging process combines air-evacuation and vacuum bag heat-sealing, either of which is important and indispensable.
How does vacuum packaging machine work
Although there are several types of vacuum packaging machine with different automation grade and productivity, the basic working process is similar. The main vacuum packaging process involves vacuum system (vacuum pump), vacuum bag (pre-made or thermoformed), and heat-sealing system.
- The first step is to put food products into vacuum bags. Make sure the hot-sealing line area is clean without contamination of oil, water or food residue.
- The second step is completed inside the vacuum chamber. The vacuum bags with food products inside are conveyed into vacuum chamber, then vacuum chamber is closed without any leakage. Vacuum system starts to work, vacuum pump suck all the air out of the vacuum chamber, including the air inside the vacuum bags.
- The third step: heat-sealing, is also completed inside the vacuum chamber, guarantees no air-leakage, which is important to keep the vacuum status inside the vacuum bags.
Why vacuum packaging machine is important for food packing and preservation
Because vacuum packaging machine plays the most important role in creating dependable vacuum packaging for food products to prolong the shelf life.
Food is the basic needs of people to live, throughout the human history, people have been struggling to get food and keep food edible for as longer time as possible. Many food storage methods were invented, but until 1940s, the invention of vacuum packaging started the REAL scientific storage solution. Vacuum packaging is meant to evacuate all the air in containers like plastic bags, trays and jars, to restrain the growth of aerobic bacteria, for the purpose of prolonging food products’ shelf life.
Vacuum packaged food is very popular. On the retail side, whether it is a large supermarket, or a small and medium-sized food store, a lo-mei store, and a barbecue restaurant, you can see all kinds of vacuum-packaged food everywhere, the most common of which may be various styles of vacuum-packaged sausages, hams and Bacon, Spiced Braised Eggs, Spiced Chicken Legs, Salted Duck Eggs, Roast Chicken, Roast Duck, Bacon, Sauce Beef, Crispy Hairtail, Spicy Squid, Small Packages of Mustard, Pickles, and Some Braised Duck Necks, Duck Gizzards, Frozen Durian, etc. If you walk around the supermarket, you may be able to count dozens of vacuum-packed foods on sale.
At the same time, on the wholesale side, large-scale frozen meat, seafood and aquatic products are often stored and transported in vacuum packaging. For example, we have many customers who are engaged in aquatic products. Automatic thermoforming vacuum packaging machines are directly installed on ocean-going fishing boats. After the seafood products are caught, they are directly cleaned and vacuum-packed, and then frozen for storage.
Advantages of vacuum packaging
In vacuum packaging, the product is tightly sealed in a low oxygen permeability vacuum bag, and the air inside is evacuated completely. Vacuum packaging offers various advantages for food packaging and storage.
- Longer shelf life. Vacuum packaging kills and inhibits the growth of aerobic bacteria, minimize the deleterious oxidative reactive in the food during starage. Together with appropriate sterilization method, and low-temperature freezing storage, the shelf-life of food products can be prolonged to up to 24 months.
- Low risk of post pasteurization contamination. Food products are sealed tightly in plastic pouches or jars, so as to avoid any risk of leakage of air or water.
- Food products in vacuum packages are easy to handle. They can be easily organized in cartons, piled up, or moved around, as each unit is well packed.
- Vacuum packages act as oxygen and vapor barrier, and are oil resistant, chemical resistant, which protects the food products from hazardous contaminations
- It maintains the quality of food products, prevents flavor change and color changing.
- Vacuum packaging prevents freezer burn of food products stored in freezers. Freezer burn ruins food taste and texture if the food is exposed to air without any protection. Vacuum packaging can help protect food from freezer burn and dehydration because air does not come into contact with water crystals around food.
- vacuum packaging guarantees product safety and reducing economic loss of stored food products
- Conducive to brand building and market expansion: vacuum packaging at the retail end can use vacuum bags or color films with company LOGO and company information to deepen the impression of consumers. After the food is vacuumed, it can be sold to a wider market, even foreign markets, not only the local market. It is very beneficial to brand promotion and improve operating income.
How does vacuum packaging machine prolong food’s shelf life
Vacuum packaging machine evacuate the air in vacuum bags, which helps to prlong food shelf life in 2 ways: Inhabit aerobic bacteria and Prevent oxidation.
1. Inhabit aerobic bacteria. The main function of vacuum packaging machine is to remove oxygen from the packaging, thereby preventing food spoilage. The principle is also relatively simple, because food spoilage is mainly caused by the activities of microorganisms, and most microorganisms (such as mold and yeast) need oxygen to survive. Vacuum packaging machine can remove the oxygen in the packaging bag and food cells, so that the micro-organisms lose the environment for survival and reproduction. Experiments have shown that when the oxygen concentration in the packaging bag is less than or equal to 1%, the growth and reproduction rate of microorganisms will drop sharply. When the oxygen concentration is less than or equal to 0.5%, most microorganisms will be inhibited and stop multiplying.
It should be noted that vacuum packaging cannot inhibit the reproduction of anaerobic bacteria and the deterioration and discoloration of food caused by enzymatic reactions. Therefore, in order to achieve the purpose of extending the shelf life of food, vacuum packaging needs to be combined with other auxiliary methods, such as refrigeration, quick freezing, and dehydration. , high temperature sterilization, irradiation sterilization, microwave sterilization, salt pickling, etc.
2. Prevent oxidation. In addition to inhibiting the growth and reproduction of microorganisms, another important function of vacuum packaging is to prevent food oxidation. Because oily foods (such as different fish) contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids, they are easily oxidized with oxygen, which changes the color and flavor of the food. In addition, the oxidation reaction also causes the loss of vitamins A and C, and the unstable substances in the food coloring are affected by oxygen, which makes the color of the food darker. Therefore, vacuum packaging can effectively prevent food spoilage and maintain its color, aroma, taste and nutritional value.
With our trusted vacuum packaging machines, the oxygen residual is minimized to less than 0.5% and vacuum bags are sealed firmly without leakage, so you never need to worry about the shelf life of your food products.
What can be vacuum packed by our vacuum packaging machines
A wide range of food products and non-food products can be vacuum packed by our vacuum packaging machines. Combined with appropriate storage temperature and environment, shelf life of vacuum packed food products can be extended to 3-5 times longer than without vacuum packed. Visit our packaging solutions page for vacuum packaging samples.
1. Meat and poultry products. It is ideal to vacuum pack meat and poultry products no matter they are complete pieces or fillets/cutlets. The meat and poultry products for vacuum packaging can be fresh, frozen, or marinated/smoked. Frozen pork, beef, chicken, etc. can be vacuum-packed to retain moisture and prevent freezer burn.
Kindly noted that it’s better to vacuum pack fresh meat and poultry products and storage in frozen environment, because it cannot be sterilized by high temperature, and microorganisms are still active. If it is stored at room temperature, the meat will rot and deteriorate quickly.
On the contrary, cooked, marinated and smoked meat/poultry products (such as Sausage, ham, bacon, roast chicken, cooked quail, dried meat, duck gizzard, sauce beef, chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs, etc) can be sterilized in hot water (such as autoclave sterilizer retort) after vacuum packed, so they can be stored at room temperature environment for a long time (only if they are sterilized).
2. Fish and seafood products. Same as meat and poultry products, fresh and frozen fish and seafood products shall be stored in freezing environment after vacuum packaging. But if they are processed, for example, smoke fish or dried fish, they can be vacuum packed and stored at room temperature. With our vacuum packaging machine, you can vacuum pack various fresh fish, frozen fish, whole fish, fish fillets, (sardines, salmon, tuna, ribbonfish, cod fish, ), smoked fish, fish roes, octopus, shrimps, squid, prawns, lobsters, sea cucumbers, mussel, crabs, other processed fish and seafood products, etc.
3. Agricultural produces, vegetables, beans and fruits. The activity of fresh vegetables and fruits does not stop afer they are harvested, but still needs to be exposed to carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Once it is vacuum-packed and the storage temperature is not low enough, fruits and vegetables will undergo anaerobic respiration, produce carbon dioxide and alcohol, and spoil quickly. Therefore, vegetables and fruits must be dehydrated, pickled or blanched before they can be vacuum-packed.
Before the processing of pickling or blanching, it is suggested to peel large fruit and vegetables (such as bamboo shoots, potatoes, cabbages) and cut them into smaller pieces, so that they can be processed thoroughly and kill all the microorganisms.
Rice and beans can be vacuum packed after they are completed dried.
4. Ready to eat meals are ready for vacuum packaging, just don’t forget to sterilize them in autoclave sterilizing retorts after they are vacuum packed.
5. Cheese. Shelf life of vacuum packed cheese could be 4-6 months.
What foods can’t be vacuum packed
Please be noted that not all products are good for vacuum packaging. The follow products can’t be vacuum packed, or at least, can’t be vacuum packed without appropriate processes.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits. Fresh vegetables need to absorb carbon dioxide in the air for photosynthesis. Vacuum packaging will isolate the vegetables from carbon dioxide, so that the vegetables will decay more quickly. To use vacuum pack, you need to process the vegetables and fruits before hand.
- Articles with sharp edges and corners. There are no problems in the process of vacuum packaging for the angular items. The key is that the friction between the items and the items will cause the bag to leak air and lose the vacuum packaging after the vacuum is completed. Vacuum packaging is not recommended for angular items.
- Too fine and light powder. In principle, the powder can be vacuum packed, but some chemical powders that are too thin and light will be drawn out of the bag during the packaging process, so vacuum packaging is not recommended for such items. How to distinguish whether it is too fine or too light powder, the simplest way is that users can take a small amount of product packaging to test one or two bags.
Why cooked food products require high temperature sterilization after vacuum packaging
Vacuum packaging can inhibit the growth and reproduction of most microorganisms (aerobic bacteria, such as mold and yeast), but cannot inhibit the growth and reproduction of anaerobic bacteria 2 and the deterioration and discoloration of food caused by enzymatic reactions, so it is necessary to combine other methods. Sterilization and inhibition of anaerobic bacteria, such as refrigeration, quick freezing, dehydration, high temperature sterilization, irradiation sterilization, microwave sterilization, salt pickling, etc., to prolong the shelf life of food.
Since cooked food needs to be sold at the retail end as soon as possible after being vacuum-packed, and the original flavor needs to be maintained, cooked food needs to be refrigerated or at room temperature for most of the time, and methods such as low temperature, dehydration or pickling cannot be used. To extend the shelf life, high temperature sterilization has become the most effective choice.
The main target of high-temperature sterilization of food is Helicobacter botulinum, which is a heat-resistant anaerobic bacteria that can produce toxins that cause fatal damage to the human body. The survival time of Helicobacter botulinum in a higher temperature environment is shorter. It takes about 6 hours to lose biological activity in an environment of 100 °C, and it will lose biological activity in three minutes in an environment of 121 °C.
According to scientific testing, the most suitable sterilization temperature is 121°C, and the F value of the food center reaches 4, which can effectively kill Helicobacter botulinum, meeting the requirements of commercial sterility, and the packaging still has good heat resistance at this time. The food taste is also relatively good. It should be noted that the sterilization temperature is too high or the sterilization time is too long, it is easy to have an adverse effect on the flavor of the food.
Food high temperature sterilization mainly uses autoclave sterilizer retort, which is suitable for canned food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruits, etc.) and protein drinks that require high temperature sterilization (milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, peanut milk, walnut milk, etc.). The packaging can be used for hard cans (such as tin cans, glass bottle cans and bowls of porridge, etc.), as well as soft cans (such as ham sausage, bagged porridge, vacuum-packed cooked meat products, pet food, etc.).
Shelf-life of vacuum packed food products
Vacuum packaging can extend food products’ shelf life 3-5 times longer than foods that are not vacuum packed, on the premise that the food products are correctly processed before and after vacuum packaging. For shelf-life of main food products in vacuum packaging, please find in the chart below.
|Foods||Storage environment||Shelf life|
|Pork, beef, lamb meat||Freezer||24-36 months|
|Rabbit meat||Freezer||12 months|
|Ground meat||Freezer||12 months|
|Cured meat, smoked meat||Refrigerator||6-12 months|
|Roast chicken||Refrigerator||6-12 months|
|Hard boiled eggs||Refrigerator||2-3 weeks|
|Salted eggs||Refrigerator||6-12 months|
|Shrimp, lobster||Freezer||12-24 months|
|Cheese: Swiss, cheddar, parmesan||Refrigerator||4-8 months|
|Vegetables: dried, pickled, cubes||Freezer||24-36 months|
|Sweet corn cobs||Freezer||24-36 months|
|Arabian palm dates||Refrigerator||6-8 months|
|Beans, rice, almonds, peanuts||Room temperature||18-24 months|
|Ready to eat meals||Freezer||12-24 months|
Key quality control points in vacuum packaging of food products
We know that food vacuum packaging, in order to truly extend the shelf life, needs to be combined with the correct storage environment and processing technology, such as cryopreservation, high temperature sterilization, dehydration, pickling, etc. For different products, different processing techniques must be used to obtain the best shelf life.
In addition to the storage environment and processing technology, the quality control of food vacuum packaging process also needs to pay attention to the following points:
- Vacuum packaging machines: The quality of the vacuum packaging machine directly determines the ultimate vacuum degree, residual oxygen, sealing strength and other indicators of vacuum packaging. Our high-quality vacuum packaging machine can stably carry out large-volume vacuum packaging, and the machine is made of food-grade 304 stainless steel, which is not afraid of corrosion and will not rust. The vacuum chamber is well sealed and the vacuum degree is high, which directly determines the quality of the vacuum packaging.
- Materials for vacuum packaging: mainly refers to vacuum bags and roll films. Different packaging materials should be selected for different products. Regarding the specific selection of vacuum packaging materials, it is recommended to consult the packaging material factory.
- The production environment of vacuum packaging: the production workshop must be clean and tidy; the packaging process must be standardized without secondary pollution; the sealing area must be clean and free of oil, otherwise the sealing strength cannot be guaranteed.
- Storage environment after packaging: First, use the appropriate storage temperature, freeze, refrigerate or store at room temperature; secondly, ensure that the storage environment is clean and safe to prevent external foreign body damage and vacuum leaks.
Vacuum packaging machines overview
Vacuum packaging machine is a general term for a series of machines and equipment that can vacuumize product packaging. Of course, vacuuming is not the only thing a vacuum packaging machine can do. The packages needs to be heat-sealed right after vacuum process is completed. If it is a fully automatic thermoforming packaging machine that uses roll film as packaging material, it can also cut the packages into individual vacuum packages (IVP). According to packaging requirements, the vacuum packaging machine can also have the function of date printing, auto-filling, automatic labelling, etc.
Chamber type vacuum packaging machine VS External vacuum sealer
The vacuum packaging machine uses a vacuum pump or vacuum generator to evacuate the air in the vacuum bags. There are two main methods to evacuate air: Vacuum bag stays outside of the machine and Vacuum bag stays inside of the machine. Therefore, the vacuum packaging machine is mainly divided into External vacuum sealer, and chamber type vacuum packaging machine.
Here we only compare the 2 types of vacuum packaging machines, but please kindly understand we don’t manufacture and supply external vacuum sealers.
The main differences between the two types of vacuum packaging machines are as follows:
- The vacuuming methods are different: the external vacuum packaging machine uses a suction nozzle extend into package, and the vacuum pump sucks out the air inside the package, and then seals it; the chamber type vacuum packaging machine places the entire package in a vacuum chamber, the entire vacuum chamber is completely evacuated by a vacuum pump, and the air in the package is also evacuated and reaches the same high vacuum as the vacuum chamber.
- The ultimate vacuum degree that can be achieved is different: due to the natural defects of the vacuum method of the external vacuum packaging machine, when the suction nozzle is taken out of the vacuum bag the the next step of heat sealing, air will inevitably flow back into the packaging, more or less, and the high ultimate vacuum degree cannot be achieved. It can only reach about 3KPa. In the chamber type vacuum packaging machine, the entire vacuum chamber is fully sealed during the vacuum sealing process, and the vacuum chamber will be opened only after the sealing is completed. There is no air refilling problem, and the ultimate vacuum degree of the packaging can reach 100Pa-200Pa.
- Different applications: Based on the two different vacuuming methods and the ultimate vacuum degree that can be achieved, the external vacuumsealer is suitable for products that do not require high vacuum degree, while the chamber type vacuum packaging machine is especially suitable for food packaging that requires high degree of vacuum.
- The range of packaging sizes that can be handled is different: the external vacuum sealer, the package is placed outside the machine, and the size requirements of the packaging are not strict, which is suitable for the vacuum packaging of large-sized products; while the chamber type vacuum packaging machine, the packaging needs to be placed inside the vacuum chamber, so the size of the packaging is limited by the size of the vacuum chamber. Although the vacuum chamber of the chamber type vacuum packaging machine can be customized, it cannot do large-scale vacuum packaging like the external vacuum sealer does.
- Different materials: Our chamber type vacuum packaging machines are made of food-grade SUS304 stainless steel, while the materials of external vacuum sealers are mostly painted carbon steel, etc., and the materials are very different. This is one of the reasons why the chamber type vacuum packaging machine is especially suitable for food vacuum packaging, which is durable, corrosion-resistant and meets food safety requirements.
Chamber type vacuum packaging machine
Due to the high requirements for vacuum, in most cases, the vacuum packaging of food is completed by chamber type vacuum packaging machine, the most common of which include single chamber vacuum packaging machines, double chamber vacuum packaging machines, belt-type continuous vacuum packaging machines, conveyor belt vacuum packaging machines, rotary premade pouch vacuum packaging machines, and fully automatic thermoforming vacuum packaging machines. The naming of different vacuum packaging machines is related to their structure and operation process.
Among them, except the automatic thermoforming vacuum packaging machine which uses roll of film to form the vacuum bags automatically, the other five types of vacuum packaging machines cannot automatically make bags, but need premade vacuum bags (plastic vacuum bags, or aluminum foil pouches).
Single chamber vacuum packaging machine
Single-chamber vacuum packaging machine, that is, a vacuum packaging machine with only one vacuum chamber. According to the length of the sealing bar, the regular models include LDZ400/2L, LDZ500/2L, and LDZ600/2L. The model matches the length of the sealing bar, such as for LDZ400/2L, the length of sealing bar is 400 mm. For more information about single chamber vacuum packaging machine, please visit the product page.
Limited by the number of vacuum chambers, the working efficiency of the single-chamber vacuum packaging machine is low. Generally, the vacuuming time takes 20-25 seconds, about 2 cycles/minute.
Please kindly be noted that single chamber vacuum packaging machine doesn’t mean it’s a small vacuum packaging machine. In fact, according to the size of the product, we can customize a large single chamber vacuum packaging machine, which can be used for vacuum packaging of particularly large products, such as whole chicken, leg of lamb, whole sheep, half pig, etc.
Double chamber vacuum packaging machine
Double chamber vacuum packaging machine, according to the name, is a vacuum packaging machine with 2 vacuum chambers. Strictly speaking, there are two work benches and one vacuum chamber cover, but the vacuum chamber cover can swing left and right to cover the two work benchs alternately to form two vacuum chambers that work in turn.
Based on this feature, the working efficiency of the double chamber vacuum packaging machine can be twice as high as that of the single chamber vacuum packaging machine. Therefore, the double hamber vacuum packaging machine is the basic equipment for the large-scale food vacuum packaging industry.
For more information about double chamber vacuum packaging machine, please visit the product page.
Belt-type continuous vacuum packaging machine
If there are medium to high productivity requirement of vacuum packaging, and the size of the product is not very large, the belt-type continuous vacuum packaging machine is undoubtedly the best choice. The choice of single-sealing-bar and double-sealing-bar is suitable for different product packaging lengths, and the food grade conveyor belt can quickly transfer the completed packaging to the receiving basket or the general conveyor belt for transportation to the cartoning step.
Considering the three aspects of cost, convenience and packaging efficiency, the belt-type continuous vacuum packaging machine can be said to be the most recommended industrial-grade vacuum packaging equipment. Its price budget is under USD10000 (FOB price), and the fastest vacuum packaging speed can reach more than 2000 packs/hour.
For more information about belt-type continuous vacuum packaging machine, please visit the product page.
Conveyor belt vacuum packaging machine
The conveyor belt vacuum packaging machine can be regarded as an upgraded version of the single chamber vacuum packaging machine. It also has a vacuum cover that can be lifted automatically, the vacuum chamber cover does not swing left and right, but only moves up and down. The main feature of the conveyor belt vacuum packaging machine is the conveyor belt that performs the conveying task. The operator only needs to put the sealing line are of the vacuum bags to the suitable position outside the vacuum chamber, and it can be automatically transported to the vacuum chamber by the conveyor belt.
And after the vacuum sealing is completed, it is automatically conveyed to the next process by the conveyor belt.
This type of vacuum packaging machine is mainly used for large food, such as meat, ham, etc., and the next process is hot water shrink dip tank or shrink tunnel. It is very convenient to set up an automatic vacuum-shrink packaging line.
The conveyor belt vacuum packaging machine is generally larger in size, and the vacuum chamber is also larger than the ordinary single chamber or double chamber vacuum packaging machine. Usually, a large 300-type vacuum pump is used, so the price is generally higher, generally around USD20000 (FOB price).
For more information about conveyor belt vacuum packaging machine, please visit the product page.
Rotary premade pouch vacuum packaging machine
Rotary premade pouch vacuum packaging machine has all the facilities to automatically fetch vacuum bags, and automatically complete the process of weighing, filling, date-printing, vacuum, heat-sealing.
Among the vacuum packaging machines that use premade pouches, rotary premade pouch vacuum packaging machine is the most complex equipment, has the highest level of technology and automation degree.
For more information about rotary premade pouch vacuum packaging machine, please visit the product page.
Thermoforming vacuum packaging machine
Different from the above vacuum packaging machines, thermoforming vacuum packaging machines are truly fully automatic vacuum packaging equipment. It does not need to use premade vacuum bags, but uses the lower film roll to automatically form containers in the forming chamber, uses the upper film roll to automatically vacuum and seal in the vacuum chamber, and automatically cut the packages into required shape by the unique cutting system.
According to the characteristics of different products and customer requirements, the automatic thermoforming vacuum packaging machine can be equipped with automatic filling equipment, inkjet printers, etc., to realize unattended fully automatic vacuum packaging production, ensure quality and save labor.
For more information about thermoforming vacuum packaging machine, please visit the product page.
What’s the cost of a vacuum packaging machine
As we have talked so much about vacuum packaging and vacuum packaging machine, you must have find out that there are so many types of vacuum packing machines and wondering how much do they cost? Well, we have regular models, and we can also customize the machine according to your request. The cost of a vacuum packaging machine for industrial-grade food products ranges from around USD 1000 to USD70000.
How to choose vacuum packaging machine
As mentioned earlier, there are many types of food vacuum packaging machines and their prices vary. When purchasing a vacuum packaging machine, the following aspects shall be considered:
- First of all, you must choose according to your own product characteristics and production capacity requirements: mainly depends on the nature of the product, whether it is solid or contains soup; how many packs per hour is required
- It depends on the packaging requirements: the edge width, packaging shape, whether easy opening cut is needed, whether printing date information is required, whether labeling is required, etc.
- Look at the budget: The price difference between different food vacuum packaging machines is still relatively large. When purchasing, you should do it according to your own budget.
- Look at the quality of the product and the service of the manufacturer: the same vacuum packaging machine may have different materials and different configurations, and the price will be quite different. The after-sales service of different manufacturers will also vary. Professional packaging machine manufacturers like Yide Machinery Co., Ltd. can provide professional products, services and consulting services.