This year’s PACK EXPO International spotlighted serving the needs of startups, not only during the new Emerging Brands Summit, but also in the aisles of the show itself, where suppliers displayed machines with low barrier-to-entry pricing. One such supplier working with up-and-coming brands at the show was Unified Flex Packaging Technologies, who highlighted their versatile AP-180 Auto Pouch bagger.
This automatic vertical form/fill/seal machine is designed for startups who need to package a wide range of solid, granular, powders and liquid products, from snacks, coffee, liquids and produce to cheese, bakery, soups, pet food and beyond in a range of different bag and pouch styles -- and want to do that on a machine with a mid-market price tag. “This is an entry-level machine and it allows customers to get into automation, where they can get a good return on their investment — and quick ROI always makes a business case and helps improve their bottom line,” says Al Aman, vice president of business development at Unified Flex Packaging Technology.
The AP-180 is designed as a highly versatile unit that is capable of packing five different bag styles up to 9-in. wide by 12-in. long with a quick changeover. While the machine was configured at the booth to run pillow packs, Aman says that the AP-180 can also pack stick packs, pillow packs with side gussets, three-side seal bags and four-side seal bags with a simple tooling changeover, at rates of up to 40 pouches/min.
In addition to being easy to adjust and start packaging through its simple design, the AP-180’s out-of-the-box set-up also helps emerging brands maintain their machine. “We use nonproprietary click-to-order parts so that we can empower our customers so they can have more control on the maintenance of their equipment,” says Aman.
The AP-180 features rotatable horizontal seal jaws and can integrate with auger, piston and volumetric fillers. Unified Flex Packaging Technologies offers numerous options on the machine, including a take-away conveyor, a “Lazy Susan” bag collector and additional forming collar tooling. Unified Flex Packaging Technologies can also add on features like hot stamp date coders and hole punchers as well as tear notch and perforation applicators.
Aman says this narrow web, entry-level bagger can also be used for on-demand and R&D/prototype applications with optional tooling.
At the show, Unified Flex Packaging Technologies also highlighted its five-lane stick pack machine, designed to help packagers increase their capacity and fulfill orders in large volumes.
“This machine is designed for 24/7 production,” says Aman. “We really look forward to helping our customers improve their production capacity and catch up with all the COVID-related supply chain problems.”