Do you have the same issues as most potato chips producers?

Check out some tips to achieve continuous production and consistently tight bags.

by Jason D’Arcy, Bosch Packaging Technology (Kliklok-Woodman)

It’s the day of the big match. You’re sat around with your friends, the football is on with your favorite team about to kick off, the sound is blaring from the TV screen as the snacks begin to be passed around. You manage to beat everyone to the chips, rip them open only to be faced by a pile of flavored bits and powder, no one deserves that fate. If only there were a way to ensure this never happened…

According to the Technavio’s market research[1], the global potato chips market is highly fragmented with numerous vendors, fierce competition and moderate growth of only 4 percent a year. Survival and success will depend of the manufacturer’s ability to provide clear value propositions and differentiation from competitors with a unique flavor, for example. While you are coming up with a new revolutionary recipe (you should try orange spiced unagi sauce?) and test consumer preferences, let your factory equipment take care of the packaging.

With over 60 years of experience and a large install base in the salted snacks industry, we at Woodman identified the most common issues and refined optimal solutions for the packaging of potato chips.

Issues and solutions for packaging of potato chips

Challenge

Potato chips vary in size and shapes, therefore at a predetermined product weight, the volume of chips can exceed the length of the bag. If a potato chip is caught in the end seal the result is open-end seals, product and film waste. This compromised pack will be removed from the line. How do you then eliminate product rejects and ensure uninterrupted production?

Solution

Look for vertical bagmakers with the programmable stripping function: by sweeping the two plates, located beneath the sealing jaws, through the end seal area (stripping) the product is moved within the confines of the bag, and a fixed bag size accommodates the variable product volume.

Challenge

Initial product fill level can be too high to accommodate, even with the use of product stripping. In this case, the volume of potato chips is too much for the bag and prevents it from being sealed.

Solution

Product settler to the rescue! It is located above sealing jaws and vibrates the bag, allowing product to settle within the intended confines of the bag, saving the seal and the bag.

Challenge

Potato chips are light and tend to float when falling to the bag. If some of the chips travel slowly, they can arrive at the bag when the film is being sealed, again compromising sealing integrity. In addition, current regulations require very precise weight guidance for consumers. How can you ensure a proper bag weight with such a tricky product?

Solution

Product clamp is the answer – make sure your vertical packaging equipment for chips has one, it’s essential. The clamp, which is located above sealing jaws, acts as a staging device by delaying the leading edge of the product charge. This creates a clear separation between product charges. As a result, only the right amount of product reaches the bag.

Challenge

Some potatoes are enormous and chips made from them can exceed even the most optimistically sized former tube diameter. This can result in a clogged former, system downtime, interrupted production line and missed deadlines.

Solution

A product poker that is integrated into the former assembly makes sure that the former tube is free of any trapped chips. It clears the clog should one occur and allows continued operation of the machine.

Challenge

Packaging area floor space is often at a premium. Potato chips producers often try to fit as many machines on floor as possible.

Solution

Check out the standardized system solution with the Woodman’s G3c bagmaker: a duplex machine that is designed for double the output in a compact machine space.

[1]https://www.technavio.com/report/global-food-potato-chips-market

Jason D’Arcy

Jason D’Arcy is product manager of the Woodman portfolio of VFFS machines at Bosch Packaging Technology (Kliklok-Woodman). He has 17 years of experience in the snack food industry, and enjoys eating potato chips. He can be reached via email: solutions4value@bosch.com

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