Archive for the ‘Vacuum Sealers’ Category

All You Need To Know About External & Chamber Vacuum Sealer Bags

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Vacuum Sealers & BagsIf you have a vacuum sealer, you are probably well aware of the fact that you need vacuum sealer bags (found here) to complete the process. These bags provide a barrier and make it possible to provide an oxygen-free environment for food and other packaged goods. One thing you may not know is that you need to use different bags for different machines. The two most common vacuum sealers used today use external and chamber designs. So which bags do you need for which machines?

Before I go into too many details regarding vacuum sealer bags, I would like to answer a few quick questions. One question I frequently get is, “Can I use chamber vacuum sealer bags with my external vacuum sealer?” The quick answer is no. Chamber vacuum sealer bags and external bags cannot be interchangeably used. External sealers cannot seal using the non-embossed bags and external bags are not designed to handle the low atmosphere process used in a chamber sealer.

Vacuum sealer bags come in different mil thicknesses (1 mil = 0.01″) and are designed to handle different temperature ratings. Not all vacuum sealer bags have a boilable barrier and not all can be used for Sous Vide cooking. Only chamber bags, designed for temperatures up to 212 Fahrenheit (100 Celsius) can be used for Sous Vide. You can read more about Sous Vide cooking here.

I would like to first cover the two most common types of vacuum sealer bags used today. One is an external vacuum sealer bag and the other is a chamber sealer bag.

3 Mil Cook-In Chamber Vacuum Bags (found here) – These bags are the most common used with chamber sealers. They are BPA free (safe for food) and are suitable for use up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65 Celsius). The have an oxygen transmission rating (OTR) of 4.1 and are made using a 3-mil thick (75 microns) nylon and polyethylene coextrusion layer. They are available (upon request) with a tear notch, hang hole or zipper. These bags are extremely affordable and come in a wide variety of sizes.

Here are some detailed specifications:

3 Mil Chamber Vacuum Sealer Bags

3.5 Mil Embossed External Vacuum Bags (found here) – These bags are made using a 3.5 mil thick layer of polyamide and polyethylene. The layer features an embossed pattern, designed to help assist with the external vacuum sealing process. While these are designed to work with Minpack Cyclone machines, they work great with most external and non-chamber vacuum sealers.

Here are some detailed specifications:

3.5 Mil External Embossed Vacuum Sealer Bags

While those are our two most popular vacuum sealer bags, we also offer two other chamber sealer bags that you may wan to consider using. Here are some details on those other two bags:

3 Mil Sous Vide Chamber Vacuum Bags with Boilable Barrier (found here) – These bags are BPA free and are microwaveable and boilable and are made with a 3-mil thick (0.8 mil nylon / 2.4 mil linear low density polyethylene) layer. They can be used for Sous Vide and have a maximum temperature rating of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 Celsius). These bags have an oxygen transmission rating (OTR) of 3.3 and are available upon request with a tear notch, hang hole or zipper.

Here are some detailed specifications:

3 Mil Sous Vide Chamber Vacuum Sealer Bags w/ Boilable Barrier

4 Mil Sous Vide Chamber Vacuum Bags (found here) – These bags use a 4-mil thick layer of Nylon and Poly Coex and feature a boilable barrier that can be used for Sous Vide cooking. Not only are these bags great for boiling, but they can also be used in extreme cold as well (-2 degrees up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. These bags are BPA free and food safe. Options include a tear notch, hang hole, zipper or gusseted.

Here are some detailed specifications:

4 Mil Sous Vide Boilable Vacuum Sealer Bags

With all these vacuum sealer bag options, we are sure to have something you can use. We try to keep our prices as competitive as possible and offer bulk-pricing discounts. These are some of the highest-quality chamber and external vacuum bags available. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with questions.

Best Machines For Vacuum Packing Fish

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Vacuum Packing FishI have been working with and dealing with vacuum food sealers (found here) for over a decade now. I have used machines ranging from basic tabletop external sealers all the way up to industrial-grade chamber vacuum sealers. One question I commonly get is, “Which machine is best for packing fish?” Having sold several machines over the years, and receiving feedback from customers, I have a few personal favorites I would like to share with you.

Packing fish using a vacuum sealer has many advantages. For one, it locks in the smell and preserves the fish several times longer than without using film. It also provides a professional appearance and makes sanitary transportation and retail sale easy. It allows customers to pick up and handle the fish without the fear of contamination. It also provides a barrier to prevent freezer damage for cold storage purposes. The list of reasons why you may want to vacuum pack your fish is long.

I have used several brands over the years and I have to say that Minipack is by far my favorite vacuum sealer brand for packaging fish, meat, fruit, veggies and other food products. They aren’t always the cheapest, but when you take into consideration that their machines will outlast most other models by years, it is well worth the investment. Minipack machines are Italian made.

Vacuum Packing Fish w/ MinipackWhile their chamber sealers are excellent for packaging food on a large scale, their external machines are really good for packaging fish. They can be used for packing an entire fish, or fish fillets. My favorite all-around machine for packing fish is their line of Minipack Cyclone vacuum sealers (found here). These sealers come in 13″, 17″ and 21″ wide models. The Cyclone sealers use vacuum bags for packaging. The 4mm wide seal is extremely durable and holds up well.

Using the Minipack Cyclone for packing fish is as simple as a few steps:

  1. First take your vacuum bag and position it flat on a table or countertop.
  2. Take your fish (on or off a tray) and place it in the bag.
  3. Place the open end of the bag into the Cyclone’s sealing arm.
  4. Activate the machine and wait for it to remove the air and seal the bag shut. This usually only takes a few seconds.
  5. Remove the bag and if needed repeat the process.

The Cyclone sealers have 3 adjustable program settings and are made from non-corrosive aluminum construction. The digital controls are easy to use and it even comes equipped with a moisture collection basin. If you have more questions about vacuum packing fish using a Minipack Cyclone, please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788.

Minipack Cyclone is Getting an “E” Error Message

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Minipack Cyclone External Vacuum Food SealerWe recently received a call from one of our customers who was using their Minipack Cyclone external vacuum sealer (found here) when a letter E followed by a series of numbers showed up on the screen. They thought they could reset the error message by turning the machine off and back on. While they did try this, it didn’t seem to solve the error message issue. This begs the question; can this message be reset and how do you get your Minipack Cyclone back up and running?

To begin with, the Minipack Cyclone vacuum sealers are extremely popular right now. They are far superior in capacity and quality to sub $100 vacuum sealers and produce far more professional results. One mistake many people make, however, is that the Cyclone line of vacuum sealers are not designed for commercial or high volume packaging applications.

What is happening is that people are overheating the motor. The computer inside the Cyclone is designed to disable the machine when the motor gets too hot. This is a good thing, albeit frustrating. By turning off, the Cyclone prevents the motor from suffering permanent damage. The only thing you can do is turn the machine off and wait until the motor cools back down. The good news is this error is not permanent and your machine is not ruined.

The good news is that this rarely happens. The Minipack Cyclone line of external vacuum sealers are probably the best machines you can purchase, as far as quality and output capacity goes, prior to moving up to a chamber vacuum sealers. If you plan on packaging hundreds of items a day, every day, I recommend going with a chamber vacuum sealer. Chamber sealers are designed, by nature, to be well used.

You can find our entire selection of both external and chamber vacuum sealers here. If you are still having issues, or if you have additional questions, please feel free to call our Service Technician at 1-800-658-8788.

Troubleshooting: MVS Vacuum Sealer Bar Sealing Issues

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Minipack MVS Vacuum SealersA poorly functioning vacuum food sealer can be an extremely frustrating experience. This can lead to lost time, lost production and unprofessional results. What can really be frustrating is when the sealing problem doesn’t always manifest itself or it is inconsistent. Thanks to excellent technical support from Minipack, we have come up with a solution for one of the most commonly seen vacuum sealing problems.

While Minipack vacuum sealers are some of the most reliable on the market, as with any mechanical device, some problems can arise. If the sealing bar on your MVS vacuum sealer is experiencing issues, you may be having problems with the bellows. The bellows are typically located underneath the sealing bin on a chamber vacuum sealer.

Poorly functioning bellows typically manifest themselves when the sealing bar begins to have issues. Many of these issues include:

  • Loss of continuity
  • Loss of bag vacuum
  • Inconsistent sloppy seal
  • Raises unevenly
  • Lacks contact with Red Lid Striker

Why are the bellows going bad? This is usually a result of moisture or liquid working its way into the bellows. While Minipack vacuum food sealers can be used with liquid, you are less likely to have issues if you use a liquid tray. Using a flat bin, without any upright bag support, can lead to spills. Contact us at 1-800-658-8788 for information on getting a liquid tray for your Minipack MVS vacuum sealer.

Minipack MVS Vacuum Sealer Bellows

While you can replace the bellows, Minipack recently released a rebuild kit that will save you a lot of money. The rebuild process is simple enough that most people can handle it on their own without the need of a Service Technician or a Service Department. We will be posting rebuilt kit instructions on our blog soon.

You can find our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here.

Top 5 Best Vacuum Food Sealers 2011

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Minipack Chamber Vacuum Food SealersIf you package food on a regular basis, cook food via sous vide, freeze food or sell food in a store, you probably need a solid vacuum food sealer. Finding the best vacuum sealer isn’t always easy. Having used many machines myself, I can vouch for the fact that quality varies as much with vacuum sealers as it does with cars. I have compiled a list of the best vacuum food sealers available for 2011.

To begin with, my list focuses primarily on chamber vacuum food sealers, which are ideal for commercial, industrial and long-lasting vacuum food packaging. This list is based on customer feedback, track records and overall reliability.

The vacuum food sealers listed bellow are commonly used to package fish, poultry, beef, pork, fruits and vegetables. Some of them can even package an entire chicken. Because these are chamber style sealers, they can also be used to package powders and liquids.

Top 5 Best Vacuum Food Sealers 2011

  1. Minipack MVS 31 X Chamber-Style Sealer
  2. Minipack MVS 45 X Food Packaging Sealer
  3. Minipack MVS 35 X Vacuum Food Sealer
  4. Minipack MVS 20 Chamber Food Sealer
  5. Minipack MVS 26 X Chamber Vacuum Sealer

Let me point out a few things you should keep an eye on when shopping for a vacuum food sealer:

Where is your vacuum sealer made? Our Minipack line, considered to be one of the most reliable brands around, is made in Italy.

Is the metal used in construction heavy gauge? Many “cheap” vacuum food sealers use flimsy sheet metal in construction that can lead to easy denting and even dangerous metal edge cuts. Minipack vacuum food sealers use tough heavy gauge stainless steel.

Is the basin seamless? When packaging food, you don’t want food getting trapped in creases, cracks and seams. This isn’t only gross, it’s also unhealthy. Our Minipack vacuum food sealers utilize a seamless design.

Hopefully these tips and suggestions help you with your vacuum food sealer shopping. Be aware that many of the models listed are on equal ground when it comes to quality, with the only difference being the size of the chamber. As with any domed chamber vacuum sealer, you often end up with an extra 2-4″ in height due to the curvature of the dome.

Please feel free to contact one of our food packaging specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

You can find our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here and chamber vacuum sealing bags here. Our line of vacuum sealers includes industrial chamber sealers designed for high-volume food packaging.

What Size Vacuum Sealer Bag Should You Use?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Chamber Vacuum Food SealersIf you’re vacuum sealing meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables and other products, you’re probably going to want to use the right size bag. If the bag is too small, you’re out of luck, and if it’s too big, your loosing money by purchasing oversize bags. Thanks to our friends over at Minipack, they have provided us with a guide that should help you determine the perfect size vacuum sealer bags.

You’re going to need a few tools to help determine the right size vacuum sealer bag. First off, you’ll need the product you’re packing in front of you. Second, you will need a measuring tape or ruler. Third, you will need either a calculator or a sheet of paper to write on.

This guide will help you determine the right size bags for standard-size materials and for round materials (chubs). This guide is in millimeters and in inches.

Vacuum Sealer Bag Sizes

Vacuum Bag Measurement Guide

Hopefully this helps you track down the right size vacuum sealer bags. At ABC office we offer vacuum sealer bags for external clamp vacuum sealers and for chamber vacuum sealers. You can find our external clamp vacuum sealer bags here and our chamber vacuum sealer bags here. You can find our vacuum sealers here.

Good luck and happy vacuum sealing! Feel free to call one of our vacuum sealing experts at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions.

Should You Use an External or Chamber Vacuum Sealer?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Vacuum Food Sealing MachinesVacuum sealers are excellent machines for packaging, selling and preserving food. They can also be used to package retail merchandise, clothing, auto parts and much more. There are two primary types of vacuum food sealers. The first type is known as an external sealer (sometimes called a clamp or pouch vacuum sealers) and the other is known as a chamber vacuum sealer. So which style should you use?

External and chamber vacuum sealers both get the job done, albeit in slightly different ways. This is a brief breakdown on how the different systems work:

External Pouch / Clamp Vacuum Food SealerExternal “Clamp / Pouch” Vacuum Sealers – These types of vacuum sealers tout the title “external” because the entire vacuum sealing process is conducted outside the machine. Products are placed in a bag, which is then placed into the external sealer. The sealer is then clamped down onto the bag, after which it begins to remove the air. Once air has been removed, the bag is sealed.

Chamber Vacuum Food SealerChamber Vacuum Sealers – These types of sealers can be used with most food and most retail merchandise. Once a product has been placed in a bag, the entire bag is placed in the chamber, ensuring the opening of the bag is placed on the sealing bar. The hood of the sealer is brought down, after which air is removed from the chamber. Once air has been removed, the bag is sealed and atmosphere is brought back to normal.

Now that you have a general understanding as to the different technologies used, why would you want to use one over the other?

External “Clamp / Pouch” Vacuum Sealers – External sealers are generally used for light to medium-volume packaging purposes and are generally less expensive than chamber sealers. These types of vacuum sealer are generally used for home and medium-volume grocery-store use, although the MiniPack Cyclone line of external sealers are used for commercial packaging. These sealers are typically slower than chamber sealers.

Chamber Vacuum Food SealerChamber Vacuum Sealers – Chamber vacuum sealers are generally used for medium to high-volume packaging, although they can be used for light volume if needed. Chamber sealers are very easy to use and are typically faster than external sealers. They can be used to package fruits, vegetables, meats, liquids, powders and non-edible retail products.

Chamber sealers are typically more efficient than external sealers, with the ability to remove 99.9% of the air from a bag. Chamber sealers often offer the option of being used with inert gas / air kits as well (not an option with external sealers). Inert gas kits are great for packaging delicate food like potato chips.

So basically it all boils down to application. External sealers are great for home use and for light to medium use where chamber sealers are great for commercial higher-volume use.

You can find our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here.

Minipack MVS 26X Vacuum Food Sealer Review

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Minipack MVS 26X Vacuum Food SealerIf you’re a restaurant, a grocery store or a food packaging plant, you probably have the need of a high-quality vacuum food sealer. While external sealers are nice for many packaging purposes, chamber sealers mean business. One high-quality chamber sealer you should consider using is the Minipack MVS 26X vacuum food sealer (found here). This is my review.

Chamber vacuum sealers, unlike external sealers, conduct the entire packaging process in a controlled chamber environment. Air is not only removed from the bag, but from the entire chamber. This process allows 99.9% of the air to be removed. It is a very efficient process that is ideal for commercial packaging.

The MVS 26X vacuum sealer is an affordable “first step” into chamber vacuum sealing. A few months ago the least expensive system we offered was the MVS 31 X. We have just added several new machines to our lineup and the MVS 26X is one of those machines. The sealable chamber area is 11″ x 16″ x 4″. Be aware that the lid of the MVS 26X is domed, allowing for a few more inches than the specified 4″ height.

Everything about the MVS 26X shows its quality. The stainless steel construction is designed to be used for packaging foods and liquids and the basin of the chamber is seamless.  The seamless basin is easy to clean and is extremely sanitary, eliminating areas for bacteria to get trapped and grow.  There are no sharp edges on this machine and the gauge of the steel is exceptionally thick.

The MVS 26X uses an extremely durable pump, which only takes a few seconds to achieve maximum vacuum pressure. The aluminum sealing bar produces an extremely tight seal that will not degrade or weaken with time. The Italian build and construction on this machine is exceptionally high.

Unlike many comparable chamber sealers that feature complicated analog controls, dials and gauges, the MVS 26X is completely digital. Calibration is completely automated. The control panel is extremely easy to navigate, allowing you to store up to 10 custom jobs.

The control panel allows you to quickly adjust the sealing time, the amount of air to be removed from the chamber and how quickly to return the atmosphere back to normal. A digital display lets you know exactly what’s going on during the entire process. An optional inert gas injection kit is perfect for packaging more delicate food and products.

Using this sealer is easy. Simply place your product in a bag, place the bag in the sealer, pull the hood down and let the machine do the rest. The Minipack MVS 26X is perfect for packaging food, liquids, powders, parts and other retail merchandise.

As previously mentioned, the build quality is excellent. Our Minipack vacuum food sealers are extremely popular right now and have a great track record. The MVS 26X should easily hold up to daily use and will easily last you for years.

You can find the Minipack MVS 26X vacuum food sealer here and our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here.

Minipack MVS 20 Chamber Vacuum Sealer Review

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Minipack MVS 20 Chamber Vacuum Food SealerVacuum food sealers are great machines. They can be used to package poultry, beef, fish, vegetables, fruit and much more. Many people use vacuum sealers to package merchandise for retail sale. One types of the best vacuum sealers available is the chamber vacuum sealer. One affordable model you may want to look at is the Minipack MVS 20 chamber vacuum sealer (found here). This is my review.

The Minipack MVS line of chamber vacuum sealers is hugely popular with our customers and has a great track record. Unlike many chamber sealers out there that almost appear to be assembled in a garage with sheet metal, the MVS sealers feature a high-quality build. They are all Italian made.

The MVS 20 is Minipack’s smallest and most affordable chamber sealer. It has a chamber area of 8.5″ x 12″ x 3.75″. This is large enough to package many food products for retail sale. It can also be used to package non-food products, liquids and powders.

The build quality on the MVS 20 is exceptional. It features a durable motor and pump, a solid chamber hood and a high-quality stainless steel exterior made from heavy-gauge metal. It is designed to be used every day.

Using the MVS 20 is easy. Take your product, place it in a vacuum sealing bag, insert that back into the MVS 20, place the open end of the bag under the sealing bar and close the hood. A latch, located on the front of the machine, must then be placed over the hood, keeping it in place. Once everything is in place, the machine can be turned on. Air is then removed from the chamber, the bag is sealed and air is returned back to the chamber.

The entire process takes very little time and the end results are extremely professional. The seal created by the MVS 20 holds up well with time and will not allow air to return back into the bag. Food sealed by the MVS 20 can be preserved 3-4 times longer than non-vacuum packaged food.

The control panel, located on the front of the MVS 20 is extremely easy to use. It lets you know, by means of a digital display, exactly what is going on during the vacuum sealing process. This same control panel allows you to select the sealing duration and the amount of air to be removed from the chamber.

You will find the MVS 20 in meat packing plants, grocery stores, merchandise factories and much more. For the price, you get a lot of machine. I would personally recommend this vacuum sealer for most entry to mid-volume vacuum packing projects.

You can find the Minipack MVS 20 chamber vacuum sealer here and our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here.

Best Fish Vacuum Sealers (External & Chamber)

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Fish Vacuum Food SealersWhether you are an avid fisherman or are trying to package fish for retail sale, you can benefit from using a vacuum sealer. Vacuum sealers can dramatically extend the shelf life of fish by as much as 3 times or more and helps to prevent and cut down on freezer burn. There are a lot of machines out there, so which fish vacuum sealer should you buy? Here are a few tips that may help you out.

To begin with, you need to determine how much fish you will be packaging per day. If you are only packaging a few to a few dozen, an external sealer is probably all you need. If you are packaging a few dozen to a few hundred a day, you will probably need what’s known as a chamber vacuum sealer.

We have found that Minipack (made in Italy) produces some of the most reliable, effect and durable vacuum sealers. They make a wide range of vacuum sealers. Their sealers can be used to remove 99.9% of the air from a vacuum-sealing bag and they produce a durable seal that holds up well.

Here are some of the models I would personally recommend to our customers:

Best External Fish Vacuum Sealers

  1. Minipack Cyclone 30 Vacuum Sealer – This sealer is extremely reliable, has a good track record and can easily package fish. It has a 13″ maximum sealing width.
  2. Minipack Cyclone 40 Vacuum Sealer – This sealer is great for the packaging and sealing of fish. It has a 17″ maximum sealing width.
  3. Minipack Cyclone 50 Vacuum Sealer – This sealer, much like the smaller Cyclone 30 and Cyclone 40, is perfect for packaging fish, meat, fruits and more. It has a 21″ sealing width.

Best Chamber Fish Vacuum Sealers

  1. Minipack MVS 20 X Chamber Sealer – This sealer is a entry-level chamber sealer, but still features high-quality components and a great build. It isn’t as large as the MVS 31 X, but can still be used to package cut up fish.
  2. Minipack MVS 26 X Chamber Sealer – This vacuum sealer features a nice 11″ x 16″ x 4″ chamber sealing area and is extremely easy to set up and use.
  3. Minipack MVS 31 X Chamber Sealer – This chamber sealer is perfect for packaging fish. It has a 12.5″ x 9.5″ x 3.75″ chamber dimension that can easily handle a lot of fish.
  4. Minipack MVS 35 X Chamber Sealer – This vacuum food sealer has both a great chamber width and height (13″ x 11.75″ x 7.5″). This can be used to package multiple pieces of fish in a bag.
  5. Minipack MVS 45 X Chamber Sealer – This vacuum sealer is perfect for commercial packaging of fish and has a nice chamber area of 18.5″ x 16″ x 4.5″.

Each of these vacuum food sealers can be used to efficiently package fish and have been proven to have a great track record. I would personally recommend these sealers for anyone interested in packaging and preserving fish for either personal or retail use.

You can find our entire selection of vacuum food sealers here.  Feel free to ask our vacuum sealer specialists questions by calling 1-800-658-8788.

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