A cap liner is a piece of material that sits between the cap and the bottle. Its traditional primary purposes are to offer proper sealing of the product to prevent leakage and optionally to provide tamper evidence. New technology is now turning this humble piece of packaging into a multimedia gateway for brands to reach out to their consumers […]
The development of SealerOn™-100 is brought about by the need to produce safe and affordable induction machine for entry level businesses with low volume production requirements and with low budget consideration. With CE safety certification for LV and EMF which is frequently lacking with almost all other low cost sealing machines, this certification is truly […]
This discussion below is an excerpt of a client discussion we have prior to supplying equipment. We don’t have to do this; we could be like the ebay or Alibaba or “one stop every machine under the sun supplier” but we are not as we like to think of ourselves as a supplier invited to […]
Heat Shrink Tamper Bands
As a manufacturer using shrink tamper bands, you have the pain of actually applying shrink tamper bands. Machinery can be fickle; hand applying can be time consuming. It involves heat and it is, in general, quite a difficult process to implement and can be costly with materials.
On the consumer side of things, removing a shrink tamper band is quite a frustrating task for many who find it very difficult to see where to peel or where a perforation mark is on a clear tamper band. Both younger and older consumers can find it difficult to open a product with a tamper band that has been shrunk on.
The heat shrink tamper band also can lead to a lot of dust being attracted to the product on the tamper band for reasons of static and also because the heat shrink tamper band produces a lot of edges where dust can collect and get under.
User Friendly Tamper Evidence Options
There are two relatively easy processes to implement in your production that can put tamper evidence on your product and also might get a much more user-friendly experience to open the product.
Induction sealing allows for you to put a foil across the top of your container, providing both tamper evidence and also a much better barrier property than a shrink tamper band. In most cases, you don’t need to deal with the induction sealing material; it’s already in the cap when you purchase it for your product.
Alternatively, you’ll be buying the induction sealing material in roll form, to apply with a cap less induction sealing machine or in pre-cut in smaller volumes to deal with cap less induction sealing.
Pressure Sensitive Labels
The other method is simply using a pressure-sensitive label with a little finger that might go over the cap or a small round or rectangular label that simply folds from the opening across and down the product. For example, a lot of pharmaceutical boxes will have a small, round and often transparent label that goes over the edge and onto the flap of the box that would open.
Jams and spreads often have a label that go either from above on the cap and right down the side of the container or they have a label that has, from the body of the label, on the round part of the product, it has a finger that extends and touches or goes over the top of the cap. In the case of labeling, the label has to be broken, typically, before the product can be opened; and that’s a form of tamper evidence.
Labeling equipment doesn’t require heat and the labels are easy to source and it’s much easier to order to automate or to semi automate than the heat shrink tamper band.
In summary, you’ve got two options to get rid of the heat shrink tamper band which is both a problem in production and a problem for the consumer: Method 1, Induction Sealing and Method two, tamper evident labels. Other options exist but these are by far the two most predominant and widely used options.
A common question raised is: when do I apply a heat transfer machine and when do I use an induction sealing machine?
Traditionally, you had no option but to heat seal when your product have no cap or closure that could tighten onto the body of the container. With the advent or development of capless induction sealing, the requirement for a cap is no longer there. This is why there is the questions, when do I use induction sealing and when do I use heat sealing?
Below are two Capless induction sealing videos:
Heat Sealing Explained
A physical constraint of heat sealing is the landing area where the sealing film will be applied and bond. Put simply, the landing area is the rim of the container and how wide that rim is. Where the rim of the container is less than 1/16th of an inch or about 1.6mm, induction sealing should be the preferred option. Heat sealing struggles with this thinner lip to seal onto.
You will notice on products like yogurt tabs, the sealing area has been turned up and may quiet wide often around a quarter of an inch or 45mm in width. This allows for a good area for the heat seal to apply.
And so we look the three areas: the cost of the material, the cost of the machinery, and the process – how easy it is to implement the machinery into your production.
Heat Sealing and Induction Sealing Material
The materials are broken up into foil line and just plastic film. Induction requires foil line, and therefore, is a more expensive material. Even comparing foil line for heat seal, induction is generally a bit higher because it has more thickness to it for the induction process to work properly.
A foil within the sealing material, be it induction or heat seal, will provide much better oxygen and waste barrier properties. Because of the natural, thicker material in induction sealing, it’s also a material more likely to peel off cleanly in one piece compared to a heat seal foil.
Heat Sealing and Induction Sealing Price Comparison
In terms of machinery, both heat sealing and capless induction sealing have some similar properties. In the semi-automated machinery side of things, they both quite low cost and you can get equipment for under $10,000 USD.
For more automated where you need speed to 30 products and beyond, machinery becomes more expensive. The machinery, in this case, requires cutting tools, to cut the material before placing it on the container’s sealing area. This represents a maintenance issue and also a cost issue. In both cases, equipment going for 30 products or more will cost at least $25,000 USD and often will go up to $80,000 USD.
Capless sealing could go beyond that and well into a $100,000 to $ 150,000 USD, when you are looking at 80 to 120 products per minute. Conventional induction sealing where the seal is placed into the cap prior to the cap being placed onto the product is much lower cost equipment. Each top induction equipment can start at around $1,500 USD. In line induction sealing usually ranges between $16,000 and $25,000 USD. Higher speed induction sealing where you might be looking at 150 products plus per minute can get up to about $40,000 to $45,000 USD.
Again, both in heat seal and capless induction sealing, you need to divide the products into a multiple lanes so that you can do the sealing at a reasonable rate of 30 plus to, say, a 120 products per minute. This adds to conveying costs and product movement costs and, indeed, the machinery costs. General advantage of induction sealing over heat seal are that the process can instantly, no time for waiting for the machinery to be ready. But with heat seal, you need to wait for the things to heat up and you need to watch the temperature has gone up to the right temperature before you proceeding into production. The safety side for the induction sealing is no direct heat so there is little chance for heat related injuries. No cutting tools to maintain for traditional induction sealing, while there are four capless induction sealing.
Material Ordering Volume
Regarding custom print on your material, lower volume are often easier to get with induction sealing material. By lower volumes, I am saying less than 500,000 pieces worth of material. For ease of use of equipment, for instant start up purposes, the sourcing of materials, I would put in order: convention sealing where the induction material with a seal placed into a cap prior to the induction sealing, then if that is not possible, capless induction sealing, and then finally, heat sealing.
Where the barrier properties are not that important, and cost is a consideration, it always is, you can save up to 1 to 2 cents if you go to heat seal. Just in the material side of things per product. The bigger the opening of the container, the bigger that saving will be. Typically heat seal for containers of 70mm or 3 inches approximately diameter can present significant material savings.
The SealerOn website shows both heat sealing and induction sealing with an emphasis on induction sealing.
Process Validation for Induction Sealing
It is an all time recommendation to have process validation for induction sealing to safeguard the sealing performance due to many variables that could easily change the performance of an induction machine.
A slight change in the induction machine sealing power setting, product conveyor speed, guide rail settings, sealing head angle or sealing head height can all have significant influence on the amount of energy the induction seal will receive; resulting in failed seals.
Visual Inspections: Induction Sealing Process Validation
Even the most competent and capable operators on your production shifts have to rely on opening product to make visual inspections and perhaps a very good memory of how warm the cap should feel immediately after passing through the sealing head.
Manual validation is more anecdotal than value based “validation” of your induction sealing process and machine set-up. The LinePatrolman™ range provides you with that numerical and repeatable process validation measures. The measure is a calibrated reading to record the energy that would be transferred to products passing through the machine.
Some Things to Look for in a Good Seal:
- Correct Settings – An experienced operator would know to look for a concentric heat pattern in the foil; by holding the foil to a light source at the correct angle he would see a smaller circle where material has not been affected by heat. This means the seal has heated from the outside inwards in an even pattern; hence an even seal.
- Overheating – there are a number of factors to show if there has been overheating including – visual discolouration of one or more layers of the induction foil, bubbling or creasing, a flattening of the bottle neck, melting of a backing resealing foam (when present).
- Uneven heat sealing –The foil can look well sealed but an uneven heat seal can result in areas of the seal being too firmly “welded” or very lightly welded making the seal likely to fail with a little pressure on the side walls of the bottle/container.
How to Improve Your Induction Sealing Process with the Patrolman™ range
If you have doubts that you will always operators trained or experienced enough to cover what is required for a reliable visual process of validation for induction sealing, then there is the simple option of a LineMaster™ which has no more controls than a reset button.
This unit needs no programming and simply provides an integrated count of the energy seen by the testing cell passing down the same path as the products.
A reason that many need an induction sealing measurement is because the energy transferred by an induction sealing machine to the foil of an induction seal within a cap is a time and position dependent process. The LinePatrolman™ range are unique process validation tools that will pick up variations in energy transfer in what may look like an identical set-up to the last time an induction machine was run. This tool takes way the guess work on what energy is being transferred and provided operator confidence that the machine is set to the best it can be set.
Patented Quality Control Instrument for Induction Sealing
Many hidden component can hugely impact the performance of an induction liner. This is why it is highly advisable to use a gaugeable validation QA system for induction sealing. During the induction sealing process, there are a number of risks involved that can easily change the speed of the induction machine such as knocking the induction machine out of line, difference in bottle height, adjustment in the conveyor speed and other adjustments.
A well trained and seasoned operator is knowledgeable on the things to watch for throughout the course of the sealing process. This include, but not limited to, correct settings, even or uneven sealing and overheating. He can discern these problems easily; however, such operators are not always available to every business operation. This is where the need for Line Patrolman™ come into being.
Small Changes that Could Affect the Sealing Results
The Line Patrolman™ range of products replaces all subjective judgements with measurable statistics collected together for reference. Some changes that could go unnoticed by an operator may include the following: an alteration in the speed of the product conveyor of up to 10%; 1mm height adjustment of the sealing head; 5° angle change in guide rails. Any one of these changes can make a negative difference on the sealing results even though the induction machine settings show no change at all.
The Line Patrolman™ equipment provides a visual and measured count of the energy that is transferred between the induction equipment and the induction seal. This validation occurs when the Master Sensor is passed along the same path as the products during a production run. The Line Patrolman™ range takes away the guess work on the amount of energy that is being transferred and provides the operator with confidence that the filling line is set to the optimized settings, giving the brand owner peace of mind and the consumer a perfect package every time.
The Line Patrolman™ range has dedicated equipment that meets the requirements of the different filling lines, whether you need the LineMaster™, a flexible system for a variety of bottle shapes and sizes operating at lower speeds, or the SealMaster™, a dedicated system for high speed lines that have minimal variation in the size of the container and closure.
LineMaster™ QA Validation System
The LineMaster™ is a new quality control instrument for improving induction sealing. It enables users to quickly and accurately set up their induction sealers then monitor, control and validate the process to ensure the best possible induction seal quality at all times.
How Does LineMaster™ Work?
The LineMaster™ independently measures the induction energy being transferred from the induction sealer into the induction line; taking the trial and error out of the induction sealing process and ensuring that the best possible seal quality is achieved at all times.
The LineMaster™ passes under the induction sealer to measure the energy being received by the induction liner. In use, the The LineMaster™ is attached to two containers passed down the production line underneath the induction sealer.
The LineMaster™ reading on its digital display is a combined effect of all the process variables – from the induction sealer output to the gap beneath the bottle sealer head and conveyor speed – in a single value.
This is a clearer and more accurate means of controlling the induction sealing process than was previously possible.