Case Study: Food packaging machine

A world leader in the food packaging industry came to Silicone Engineering looking for a rubber sealing solution for a class-leading ready meal packaging machine.

The machine would primarily focus on ready meal packaging which includes poultry, fish, sandwiches and vegetable produce. When the companies R&D department contacted Silicone Engineering, they were nearing the final stage of the development and looking to fine-tune the machines increased packaging output and eliminate all contamination issues.

The ready meal packaging machine is equipped with modified atmosphere packaging technology, also known as MAP. The technology extracts oxygen out of the packaging and simultaneously apply a heat vacuumed film over the tray, the technology aims to extend the food shelf life and nutritional content.

The Problem: Highly visible, food-safe seal.

With the high level of quality assurance required, the customer required a stable food-approved rubber seal that will be able to withstand repeated heated cycles.

The two rubber profiles needed to be easily identified by the machine handler, to show where the ready meal needed to be placed within the die set before the film was applied in a heated vacuum process.

An additional consideration was for the handler to be able to identify between the two different seals which are positioned at different depths for maintenance proposes.

With the machines semi-automatic sealing capabilities, the final consideration was for the rubber seal to be durable enough to withstand the general frequency of use.

The Solution: suraSil GP 80

With all of Silicone Engineering’s solid silicone rubber approved to both FDA and BfR food standards, suraSil™ profile was suggested for the two seals.

Silicones high heat threshold made the material the perfect elastomer for the application, in addition, a shore hardness of 80 was chosen by the material engineers to add increased strength and durability.

To help differentiate between the two seals, our laboratory was able to match the suraSil™ 80 seals to selected Pantone colours. Both seals worked perfectly in the application, which helped the equipment to produce fresh food, meaning less rotation on packaging leading to less waste and reduced human labour.

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