We've launched our new Customer Portal!

Weald are the only Food Packaging Supplier to have an app. Register today.

How Vacuum Pouches Are Made: From Raw Materials to Final Product

June 5, 2024

Vacuum pouches have become an essential part of food packaging, offering an effective solution to extend shelf life, maintain food quality, and enhance storage convenience. But have you ever wondered how these versatile pouches are made? Let’s dive into the fascinating process behind the production of vacuum pouches, from raw materials to the final product.

Plastics are made from raw materials like natural gas, oil or plants, which are refined into ethane and propane. Ethane and propane are then treated with heat in a process called “cracking” which turns them into ethylene and propylene. These materials are combined to create different polymers.

The monomers ethylene and propylene are combined with a catalyst to create a polymer “fluff,” which looks like powdered laundry detergent.

The polymer is fed into an extruder, where it is melted and fed into a pip. The plastic forms a long tube as it cools, the tube is then cut into small pellets for extrusion.

1. Raw Materials

The primary materials used in the manufacturing of vacuum pouches are plastics, specifically polymers such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polyamide (PA). These materials are chosen for their durability, flexibility, and barrier properties.

Polyethylene (PE): Provides excellent sealing properties and flexibility.

Polypropylene (PP): Offers high strength and clarity.

Polyamide (PA): Known for its excellent barrier properties against oxygen and moisture.

2. Extrusion Process

The process begins with the extrusion of plastic films. Extrusion involves melting plastic pellets and forcing the molten plastic through a die to form a continuous film.

Blown Film Extrusion: In this method, the molten plastic is extruded through a circular die to form a tube. Air is then blown into the tube, causing it to expand and form a bubble. The bubble is then collapsed and wound into rolls.

Cast Film Extrusion: Here, the molten plastic is extruded through a flat die to form a thin film. The film is then cooled on a chilled roll and wound into rolls.

3. Lamination

For vacuum pouches, multiple layers of different plastics are often laminated together to combine their properties. Lamination involves bonding layers of plastic films using heat, pressure, or adhesives.

Coextrusion: This process combines multiple layers of molten plastic in a single extrusion step, resulting in a multilayer film.

Adhesive Lamination: Different plastic films are bonded together using an adhesive layer.

4. Printing

Once the films are laminated, they can be printed with branding, nutritional information, and other details. The most common printing method used is flexographic printing, which uses flexible plates to transfer ink onto the film.

5. Slitting

After printing, the large rolls of laminated film are slit into narrower rolls of the required width. Slitting involves cutting the film into strips using rotary knives or razor blades.

6. Bag Making

The final step is the conversion of film rolls into vacuum pouches. This involves several key processes:

Folding: The film is folded into the shape of a pouch.

Sealing: The edges of the pouch are sealed using heat. This step is crucial for ensuring that the pouch can maintain a vacuum. Heat sealing involves applying heat and pressure to melt the plastic and bond the layers together.

Cutting: Individual pouches are cut from the continuous film.

7. Quality Control

Throughout the manufacturing process, quality control checks are conducted to ensure that the pouches meet required standards. This includes checking for:

Seal Strength: Ensuring the seals are strong enough to maintain a vacuum.

Barrier Properties: Testing the film’s ability to block oxygen and moisture.

Print Quality: Verifying the clarity and accuracy of printed information.

8. Packaging and Distribution

Once the pouches pass quality control, they are packed and prepared for distribution. The final product is then shipped to food manufacturers, retailers, and other end-users.

Conclusion

The production of vacuum pouches involves a complex and precise process, combining advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. From the extrusion of plastic films to the final sealing and cutting of the pouches, each step is carefully designed to ensure the pouches provide the necessary barrier properties and durability. As a result, vacuum pouches play a vital role in modern food packaging, helping to preserve the quality and extend the shelf life of a wide range of products.

Weald stock a huge range of vacuum pouches with varying thicknesses and colours such as blue, black, and even paper look. We also stock gold and silver backed vacuum pouches, and offer custom printing too.

More Blog Posts

Sign up for our newsletter!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Weald Packaging Supplies is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 01713146. Registered office: Station Approach, Buxted, TN22 4LA.