Form, fill and seal machines are packaging equipment that uses flexible, heat-sealable, plastic film to form packages that can be filled with a product and then sealed, and cut. There are many types of form, fill, and seal machines. Forming machines form packages, but do not fill or seal them. Filling machines load previously formed packages with a specific product quantity, but do not provide closing or sealing action. Seal-only equipment wraps or secures products, but does not form packages or fill them. Equipment that combines form, fill and seal functions is also available. Some devices transport the plastic film horizontally. Others transport the film vertically. Manual machines aid only in the setting or holding of products. Semi-automatic machines help with both packaging and placement, allowing a single operator to perform several activities with greater speed and accuracy. Fully automatic equipment requires limited operator intervention. Typically, operators need only replenish packaging components by loading supply hoppers or removing completed cartons.

Form, fill and seal machines are used to process liquids, granules, powders, and sprays for consumer, bulk and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supply shipments. Packaging materials include aerosol containers, bags and pouches, blister packs, bottles and jars, cartons and boxes, cans, capsules, cartridges, cases, cups and trays, drums and kegs, pallets and pails, and tubes and vials. Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) have a capacity of not more than 3 cubic meters and are designed to be handled by form, fill and seal machines. There are several ways to close packages. Examples include caps and lids, corks, glue, heat seals, nails and staples, tapes, tucks and folds, wrappers, and tamper-resistant materials. 

Selecting form, fill and seal machines requires an analysis of specifications, features, and applications. Typically, fully automated machines list the rate, which is usually expressed in pieces per minute. Some automated machines include an integral feeder and a computer interface that links to a control network. Others are made from stainless steel for improved corrosion resistance. Aseptic or sanitary equipment is easy to clean and designed in a manner that inhibits the growth or presence of pathogenic microrganisms. Portable machinery is lightweight or includes wheels or casters for ease of movement. In terms of applications, form, fill and seal machines are used widely in the automotive, chemical, medical, and pharmaceutical industries. They are also used to process food, beverages, cosmetics, electronics, semiconductors, stationary, tobacco, and military products.

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