A radical new vertical form fill and seal system (VFFS) has been launched by ULMA Packaging Ltd that can transform the packing of fresh herbs and light leaf salads, to save producers time, money and reduce manual intervention to a minimum during the packing process.

The patent-pending VTI640V VFFS solution designed by ULMA uses a device that pulls the product down to the bottom of the bag (with Air) at speed before sealing it without damaging the herbs, which can happen if the product is handled roughly or they become blocked in the forming tube of conventional packaging machinery.

This innovative equipment, which ULMA says offers exceptionally quick payback, is already making an impact in the fresh produce sector in Europe and is now also available to UK companies keen to reduce their reliance on manual labour and re-work caused by ‘product in seal’. The new design function can mean the VTI640V could be a cheaper alternative to Ultrasonic sealing, as the product sits lower in the bag and away from the seal area on sealing. 

Conventional packing of herbs might need as many as 16 staff to place the product on scales and a conveyor belt, where someone might be deployed at the end of the line to squash the herbs down to ensure they fit in the bag, increasing the risk of damage to a delicate product.

With ULMA’s VTI640V system it takes just two employees to run the line with higher outputs – one to operate and the other to load the machine – making it much more cost effective by allowing other staff to be deployed on more productive duties, reducing the risk of spoilage that can happen with manual handling.

ULMA’s VFFS Business Manager, Steve Brooks, said: “The VTI640V is massively cost effective with potential payback of less than six months. Our system essentially involves virtually no human contact with the product so it offers a much faster and efficient production process, with less potential damage to the product, as herbs don’t take too kindly to operators handling them.”

A reduction in waste and labour costs makes the VTI640V VFFS a win-win situation for the fresh produce industry, where it has also been trialled successfully for the handling of salads and loose-leaf products as well.

With Brexit looming over the horizon, it is feared that the potential for staff shortages associated with the UK leaving the EU could have a dramatic impact on the food industry, particularly fresh produce, so turning to innovative automated packaging systems can help alleviate the reliance on manual labour in this area of the process to market.

In addition to the VTI640V VFFS, ULMA, part of the Mondragon Co-Operative, has a range of packaging technology ideal for fresh produce, including the recently launched TSA 680 P and TSA 875 P automatic tray sealers. Both these robust machines are built to reflect the most demanding requirements for sealing of preformed trays of fruit and vegetables.

Not just known for its ability to supply all-round packaging solutions, ULMA offers a full after sales support service giving its customers peace of mind that production lines can be maintained effectively and businesses run smoothly and efficiently. 

An approved supplier to multiple retailers and small businesses alike, ULMA has the biggest range of solutions available anywhere in the UK and is leading the way for innovative, efficient and robust packaging equipment.

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