Bag in box systems can be tricky. The fact is that no bag with liquid or any substance for that matter always behaves in the same way. It is like a class of three-year old’s – completely unpredictable. Glen Foreman, HMPS Applications Engineer and Bag in Box expert offers some pointers on the difficulties of bag in box packaging applications.
“Working with any liquid in a bag and then having to pack these bags into boxes can be problematic. The handling of the bag is a delicate matter. Often rather heavy and with an inconsistent shape, these bags are difficult to place into boxes accurately, efficiently and at high speed” comments Glen.
Fortunately, HMPS is no stranger to the bag in box packaging method. In fact, it was the booming wine industry in South Australia which saw them first come up with the bag in box concept. Packaging wine for wineries in the area saw the company grow from a small operation to one with various packaging machines installed worldwide. Today HMPS has expanded to a complete turnkey solution provider handling both up and downstream equipment, but they remain the experts in Bag in Box applications.
HMPS1000 Bag in Box machine for water packaging
With their experience in this field, it is little wonder that HMPS was commissioned by a water company in New Zealand to design and build an automated bag in box packaging system. Traditionally the company had been doing this filling by hand.
In this design, bags are transferred from the web filler outfeed conveyor to the HMPS infeed conveyor, which transfers the bag to the automatic loading funnel. The funnel forms the bag into the shape of the carton. The funnel moves up and down removing the possibility of the bag catching on the carton flaps. Bags are loaded through the base of the carton, which is inverted 180° so that the tap is correctly positioned.
The machine was supplied with the option of adding a second filler and loading station later. “An innovative double infeed system was designed for this machine to allow for future expansion. It is never too early to automate as machinery can grow with your business” adds Glen.
The machine consisted of the infeed conveyor, outfeed conveyor and carton turner, a case magazine and hotmelt system.
The HMPS1000 Bag in Box packers are a mono block design. One frame incorporates the carton erecting, folding, loading, and sealing. This ensures a very compact foot print. The HMPS1000 can integrate with any brand of automatic web filling machine both loading pre- filled bags into the carton or inserting the bag and filling in the carton as is often done for cream cheese.
All kinds of liquids can be packed
For liquids, bag sizes range from 1L for alcohol up to 20L for water, and 1kg to 25kg for cheese. A standard single funnel machine will run comfortably at 15-20 cartons/minute where a dual funnel machine has capability up to 30 cartons/min. The dual funnel machines are generally fed from dual Web Fillers.
Some of the liquids which can be packed into a BIB solution include:
– Post mix soft drink
– Post mix soft serve
– Alcoholic beverages
– Liquid Cheese
– Egg Whites
The challenges when handling a bag filled with liquid at speed are varied, from changing direction, stopping accurately to loading the bag squarely into the carton all pose challenges that HMPS have overcome with over 25 years of product development. The original Bag in Box packers are still in production today.
To ensure precisely square sealing of the cartons the erected cartons are held securely between paddles in the indexing system. Dropping away side guides ensure the carton is kept geometrically square during transit and loading, incorporating a quick release drop away mechanism which swings away allowing the operator to easily remove any carton blockages.
To ensure precise placement in the carton the loading funnels lower down into the carton during the loading sequence ensuring a smooth transition from the funnel to the carton. Over years of development HMPS have mastered the funnel design, supplying a robust and reliable system. The funnel change over to various sizes is quick thanks to pre-programming.
HMPS can also supply an inexpensive, proven system to rotate the cartons exiting the packer. Due to the filling caps fitted to the bags the bladders are generally loaded in to the carton with the tap trailing. This ensures the tap does not jam during loading into the carton. This requires the bladder to be loaded into through the bottom of the carton ensuring accurate tap placement near the tap hole in the carton. Prior to palletising the cask needs to be up ended onto its base. The HMPS turning system is a continuous system allowing it to run at high speeds while gently handling the cask reducing the risk of damage to the finished product.