Econo-Pak is a contract packaging service provider specializing in the creation of functional and attractive packaging solutions for food, pharmaceutical, retail, and specialty applications. Our packaging services include flow wrapping, a continuous, high-speed packaging process that encloses products in a clear or printed film.
During the flow wrapping process, a conveyor belt moves the product horizontally to the forming area. The product is then wrapped in film and sealed at both ends by applying pressure, heat, or a combination of both. Similar to vertical form fill seal (VFFS) methods, the finished result is a flexible pouch secured by airtight crimp-sealed ends.
What Materials are Used with Flow Wrapping?
The flow wrapping process is compatible with the same types of materials used in VFFS methods. When choosing a material for a packaging application, it is important to prioritize product safety and quality while considering the type of packaging aesthetic that will best promote the brand and engage the target consumer. Common flow wrap packaging materials include:
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): A member of the polyester family, PET is a durable and transparent thermoplastic polymer resin. This lightweight yet strong packaging material is ideal for protecting items from their surroundings while allowing the consumer to view the enclosed product.
- Polyethylene (PE): PE, a type of polyolefin resin, is the most widely used consumer plastic today. This transparent, glossy material makes an attractive and protective package that maintains the integrity and freshness of the product during transportation and on the store shelf.
- Metalized film: Metalized films are metal-coated polymer films with a shiny metallic appearance. In food packaging applications, these films offer reliable protection against water and oxygen permeation while conveying a high-end aesthetic.
- Poly film: Poly film is a thin, transparent polymeric packaging material that prevents contamination and extends the product’s shelf life.
- Polypropylene: Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer in the polyolefin family. This clear, glossy material is suitable for packaging everything from sensitive pharmaceutical and medicinal products to perishable food items.
How Does Flow Wrapping Work?
While the flow wrapping process can be customized for various applications and materials, all flow wrapping machines generally consist of the same elements:
- Film rolls
- Infeed conveyor system
- Film feed assembly
- Forming area
- Delivery area
These elements work together to continuously transport, wrap, seal, and discharge the packaged products. Individual steps of the flow wrapping process include:
- Process initiation: The unwrapped products are placed on the infeed conveyor belt, where they are transported to the forming area.
- Wrapping: The flow wrapping machine wraps the product in the sealing material and mates the two outer edges of the material.
- Sealing: Two rotating fin seal wheels form a longitudinal seal along the mated edges using heat, pressure, or a combination of both.
- Cutting: Using rotating cutting heads or end seal crimpers, both ends of the adjoined packages are simultaneously sealed and cut to produce several individual packages.
- Delivery: The packaged products are transported to the discharged area.
What Types of Products Are Ideal for Flow Wrap Packaging?
Compatible with a wide range of product shapes and sizes, flow wrap packaging can be used for essentially any solid item that can be transported along a horizontal conveyor belt. Small granular items or liquid products are generally better suited for vertical packaging techniques that allow the product to be dropped into the package.
Examples of commonly flow-wrapped items include:
- Candy and confectionery products
- Snack foods
- Dry products such as pasta, rice, and seeds
- Meat, poultry, and seafood
- Pharmaceutical and medicinal items
- Industrial products such as tools and hardware
- Personal care items and cosmetics
Custom Flow Wrapping Services at Econo-Pak
Flow wrapping is a versatile and efficient packaging process suitable for a wide range of product types and sizes. At Econo-Pack, our flow wrapping capabilities and other packaging services allow us to create functional and visually engaging packaging solutions that maintain product quality and freshness while enhancing brand visibility. As demonstrated by our long-term partnerships with several industry-leading companies, clients trust us to consistently deliver the highest-quality products with unbeatable turnaround times and competitive pricing.
To learn more about our flow wrapping services and other packaging capabilities, please request a quote or contact us at:
35 Route 6 & 209
Milford, PA 18337
Growing your brand and ensuring your products get to your customers requires a reliable and timely production process. Contracting a co-packer can streamline the process for you. Co-packing companies are an integral part of the packing process. They offer packaging services for various products in retail, commercial, and trade industries.
The most common products co-packers work with include food and beverage, vitamins, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, and others. Depending on the client’s needs, some co-packers handle the cooking, processing, and mixing of ingredients before packaging in various containers.
It’s challenging to find a trustworthy and reliable co-packer that you can depend on for the long term. Here are a few tips to help you find a great co-packing company, information on why you should contract with one, and how to ensure the co-packing company you choose is right for your products.
Co-Packers: Internal vs. External
If you’re unsure whether you want to keep your product packaging in-house or hire a co-packer, consider the complexities of packaging and labeling products.
Contracting with a co-packing company can solve the following problems:
- Selling products faster than you can package them
- Signs of anxiety and stress in your production staff
- Business growth and marketing falling short because of packaging demands
- Inability to produce new products because of time spent on packaging
By developing a relationship with a great co-packing company, it gives you more time to build your business by creating additional products and implementing new marketing strategies.
Also, a co-packing company has all the equipment needed for your packaging needs. This is a cost-effective solution because it doesn’t require you to hire additional employees or invest in equipment.
Tips for Finding the Right Co-Packer
Before selecting a co-packer, assess the benefits of outsourcing your packaging with a company that has the equipment and qualified staff needed for all aspects of the packaging process.
Check several co-packing companies to see if they offer a fixed cost and hold the required certifications and FDA approval, similar to Econo-Pak’s SQF level 3 certification. Some other key considerations include:
If you’re tempted to hire a co-packing company that’s located in another state or country, think about the disadvantages that distance has. Distance involves additional costs, increased delivery times, and communication difficulties when problems occur.
A co-packer located close to your location can simplify the process significantly. However, if you do select one that is in a different location, ensure that they have the ability to ship nationally.
Safety & Cleanliness
Keeping the co-packing facility clean and free from packing debris makes the packaging process safe and reduces errors. Choose a co-packing company that implements stringent safety and hygiene protocols.
Quality assurance certifications are indications of co-packing company standards. Econo-Pak takes quality and safety seriously, with certifications at the state and global levels:
- Safe Quality Food Certified (SQF Level 3)
- Organic Certified by Baystate Organic Certifiers
- Costco Safety and Quality Audit Certified
- Food and Drug Administration Certified (FDA Compliant)
- Kosher OU-D Certified
- Gluten-Free Certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
Ensure that the co-packer you choose has taken the necessary steps to properly certify their facility, processes, and procedures. Proper certifications will help protect the integrity of your product and ensure high-quality packaging that supports your brand reputation. Some of the most important certifications include:
- FDA certification
- Kosher Check
- USDA Organic certification
- Fair Trade
If possible, examine the equipment to make sure the company uses modern packaging technology for enhanced control of the entire co-packing process.
Experienced co-packing companies offer fast product turnaround times. By using the right equipment, they ensure high-quality packaging with shorter lead times.
Once you’ve finished researching, narrow down your list. You might not need all the services offered by larger companies. Ask if the company is flexible and offers only the services you need.
Since your customers trust your brand, it’s important that the co-packer meets your sourcing requirements. Talk to them about their suppliers, and ask if adjustments can be made to meet your needs.
Contract Packaging 101: Econo-Pak Has the Resources to Help You
Now that you understand how to find a co-packer, start your research. It might seem like a huge undertaking, but once you find a reliable company, you’ll wonder how you ever ran your business without one.
Partnering with Econo-Pak provides you with quick turnaround times, affordable pricing, and a commitment to quality packaging. Econo-Pak offers flexible services to large and small businesses.