LEADING THE WAY IN FILM PACKAGING
With over 70 years of experience in flexible film packaging, expert design and application specialists, and a history of meeting challenges that push the limits of technology, General Films has a unique body of knowledge to share with our customers.
Horizontal Form Fill Seal (HFFS) Machines Provide Unique Food Packaging Solutions
Horizontal Form Fill Seal (HFFS) machines (also known as horizontal, thermoform, fill, and seal machines) are designed to package luncheon meats, hot dogs, rising crust pizza, and other food products. Users can configure these versatile machines to make a variety of packages per cycle and produce food pouches of various sizes and depths by changing the sealing and cutting dies.
Plastic films for use with HFFS equipment include a base, or forming, film drawn through the machine in which a heated metal die thermoforms a pocket. The food product is then manually or automatically inserted into the pocket. Next, the package is sealed around the edges by applying a top or non-forming film onto the base web. Then a knife or die-cutting device separates the pouches. This process lends itself equally well to vacuumed hard-pack products, such as hot dogs and MAP gas-flushed pillow packs for shaved meat and other applications.
In addition to the medium to high-barrier films most commonly used on HFFS machines, certain applications may require low-barrier and permeable (gas-sterilized) films. However, typical films use nylon laminations or coextrusions with polyethylene, while high-barrier versions use EVOH or coatings to reduce gas permeation. Base webs, which must allow for thinning during the thermoforming process, are usually 4 to 6 mils thick. Top webs may be as thin as 2 to 3 mils.
If you are a food processor or an HFFS machine manufacturer, General Films is happy to provide special considerations to develop and test film products for your specific equipment. Often H1/BW is used as a forming layer and VF/1M for non-forming webs.