Vacuum packaging is the process of eliminating air from a bag for the preservation of a product. Vacuum packaging is very popular nowadays, its prime objective being the increase of shelf life of a product. The most efficient way to incorporate vacuum packaging is vacuum sealing. Vacuum sealing is done by an industrial vacuum sealer which uses an integrated pump to remove most of the air inside the bag. Vacuum sealer are available in varieties and we need to know how choose the best vacuum sealer.
A vacuum sealer basically attempts to eliminate a larger portion of oxygen from the bag. The nitrogen present in the air is inert and does not affect food or pharmaceutical products. It is oxygen that mainly contributes to the growth of fungi and bacteria thereby causing a significant decrease in the shelf life of the product. An industrial vacuum sealer tries to limit the oxygen level to 0.05%, thus increasing the shelf life of a food product by 30%. Industrial vacuum sealers are mostly application based. For example, a chamber sealer is more time consuming than a nozzle sealer, but it is more efficient for liquids and powders.
A comparison between Nozzle Vacuum Sealer and Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Both types of sealer are efficient in sealing solid products, but have their own unique benefits.
1. Nozzle Vacuum Sealer
This type of sealer has a lower operating time are robust and provides greater handling or control over the bag. Nozzle vacuum sealers or snorkel sealers are foot pedal operated.
Nozzle sealers rely on an air compressor and pneumatic cylinders for their operation. The PLC allows the sealer to be password protected and also allows different recipes to be saved. The Programmable logic controller (PLC) also facilitates in programming the machine using a digital display.
Each cycle is completed in approximately 10 seconds. Thus, using a nozzle sealer we can vacuum package at least 200 bags within an hour. The nozzle sealer uses a foot pedal which allows the users to hold the bag using their hands and vacuum it to their satisfaction.
Other benefits of the nozzle sealers are:
- The machine is very user friendly allowing easy control
- We can seal custom sized bags.
- Any size of bags can be vacuumed and sealed.
Few disadvantages of nozzle sealers are:
- Only one bag can be processed under one cycle
- Operators are generally required to hold the product and adjust the pouches manually every cycle.
- A separate air source is required all the time.
- Powders and ground products generally get trapped in the air hose and are not fit for use in this machine.
- If the bag is stuffed to the top , the nozzle may damage the product.
Chamber Vacuum Sealer
A chamber sealer vacuums a higher percentage of oxygen from a bag at a much slower speed. It removes oxygen up to 0.02% and it does not use any foot pedal. It uses an internal vacuuming method and uses sensors to close the lid. The biggest difference is that the pressure applied is inside the chamber but outside the bag.
The amount of air removed depends on the user’s specified setting, the bag is then gas flushed or sealed. The sealing is done twice. Each cycle approximately takes 20 seconds and an estimated 160 bags can be packed per hour.
Other benefits of chamber sealer:
- Allows multiple pouches to be sealed at the same time
- Little or minimal operator involvement after the lid has been closed.
- Partial vacuuming is also possible.
- In-built compressor, so only an electrical outlet is required.
Few disadvantages of Chamber sealer:
- It is more expensive than a nozzle type sealer.
- It is slower.
- Heavier and difficult to move.
What to consider before you purchase?
- How many pouches to be sealed per shift
- What is the pouch material?
- How much space is available for other machine?
- How do you plan to use this machine and what is your budget?
- What is the type of product you will be packaging?
- Gas flush: creates an inert gas environment
- Soft air: air filed at much slower pace.
- Higher voltage: as per your needs
- Multiple nozzles:- when there is a need for increased productivity
- Cut off seal wire and bi-active seal are also available options.