Posts Tagged ‘AIE’

How To Use An I-Bar Sealer for Shrink Wrapping w/ Video

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I-Bar Sealer for Shrink Wrap PackagingIf you are trying to package your own products, whether it is a DVD or a box of chocolates, you will probably want to use some sort of shrink wrap packaging. One of the most affordable and effective ways to package products on a low to medium-volume scale is by using an I-bar sealer. These sealers are remarkably easy to operate, take very little time to use and are very affordable. I have used dozens of different models of I-bar sealers (found here) and would like to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use one. I am going to include a very informative video demo in this article.

This how-to guide can be used with just about any I-bar sealer, although most of my experience is with Traco, Intelli-Pack and AIE brand machines. There are very few differences between I-bar sealers other than perhaps the build quality. I have found Traco, Intelli-Pack and AIE machines to be top of the line. Most I-bar sealers feature a film roll holder, a film opener, a spring-loaded sealing bar and many include a heat gun. Most I-bar sealers can be used with PVC and Polyolefin centerfold film rolls or bags.

Before I go into how to use an I-bar sealer in this article, I would like to post our video demo on how to use an I-bar sealer.

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How to Use an I-Bar Sealer

  • Step 1 – If you are using centerfold shrink film, place your roll of film on the two supporting film rollers. These rollers spin on smooth-rolling bearings, making it easy to dispense film.
  • Step 2 – Once the film is in place, feed the open end of the film over the film separator. The film separator is a metal bar (usually round) that helps keep the film opened for easy product insertion.
  • Step 3 – Take your product and put it inside the open pocked of film. You don’t want too much excess film, so try and make sure the product you are packaging isn’t pulled too far left of the sealing bar.
  • Step 4 – Pull down the sealing bar and cut the film to the right of the product you are packaging. If the bar isn’t cutting the film properly, you may need to increase the sealing time. Once you have your first side sealed, take the package and rotate it 90 degrees to the left and seal the other open side shut.
  • Step 5 – Now that your product is completely enclosed in film, take your heat gun and begin applying heat. Apply heat to all sides of the product you are packaging. This will cause the film to shrink and hug tightly to the item you are packaging. The heat gun’s temperature can typically be increased or decreased. If you notice the film is breaking or holes are melting through, you may need to decrease the temperature, hold the gun further back or move the heat gun around instead of leaving it in a single spot.

Using an I-bar sealer is extremely easy as you can see from the video demo and my step-by-step instructions. If you are packaging dozens to hundreds of products a day, an I-bar sealer is an affordable option. If you are packaging thousands a day, you may need to upgrade to an L-bar sealer with an integrated tunnel. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink film here.

Using AIE Bag Sealers for Food Storage Purposes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

AIE-305A1 Bag SealerI had an opportunity over the weekend to package food in #10 cans and foil bag pouches for food storage purposes. I packaged black beans, potato flakes, spaghetti, oats and more. It actually ended up being really fun. What really surprised me is that the facility I was at was using an AIE-305A1 bag sealer (found here), which we just happen to sell here at ABCOffice.com. It was fun to see a piece of equipment, which we offer, being used in the wild

So what is a bag sealer (aka heat sealer)? Have you ever purchased a bag of beef jerky, a bag of candies, opened a hard drive from an anti-static bag or torn open a Mylar bag that was full of dried fruit? These are all items that were sealed using a bag sealer. These sealers use heat to seal the open end of plastic bags for packaging and preservation purposes. These bags range in thickness, size and material composition. The bag you use will depend entirely on what you are packaging.

Mylar Barrier Bags for Heat SealersThe foil pouch bags (aka Mylar barrier bags) that I was using were made of multiplayer laminated plastic and aluminum. The bags were 7 mils thick (1 mil = .001″) and are designed to protect food from moisture, rodents, insects and other environmental factors that can decrease the life of food. The pouches I was using were designed to hold up to a gallon of food. This was large enough to hold 7 pounds of wheat, 5 pounds of dry milk or 6.8 pounds of white rice. These bags were lined with food grade plastic. The aluminum barrier helps to prevent moisture and oxygen.

If you want to package food for long term storage (sometimes up to 30 years at a time), the food will need to meat few criteria:

  • The food has to be dry (10% moisture or less)
  • Low in oil content
  • Shelf-stable

Using the AIE-305A1 bag sealer (found here) was extremely easy. These are the steps I took to package my food:

AIE-305A1 Settings: Set the recycle dial to 2, the Congealing dial to 6, the Sealing dial to 4 and the Action Selector switch to manual. I recommend setting the heat sealer 5 inches above the table or desk surface. This can be done by setting it on a block of wood, books or something else that can support and elevate the machine. This makes operation easier.

  1. Fill the pouch with the food product. Don’t overfill the back as this can result in a poor seal. If you are packaging powder, be sure the area that will be sealed is clean.
  2. Place an oxygen absorber on the top of the food inside the pouch.
  3. Turn on the AIE heat sealer.
  4. Place the open end of the pouch into the machine. Let the bag rest on the table or shelf.
  5. Pull the sides of the pouch outward to ensure everything is flat.
  6. Fold the top of the pouch over (at about 1 ½” from the top) at a right angle.
  7. Now press the bag and expel remaining air from inside.
  8. Open the folded top bag open for sealing.
  9. Hold the bag by the sides and insert the open end of the pouch into the heat sealers jaw.
  10. Remove any wrinkles.
  11. Activate the AIE heat sealers jaw by pressing the foot pedal.

There you go! It is recommended to test the seal for any leaks. If any air can be forced out or if the seam can be pulled apart, you may need to re-seal the bag. You may also need to adjust the sealing dial from 4 to 4.25. If the seams seem to be burned, decrease the sealing dial from 4 to 3.75. Also remember to not overfill the pouches as this will result in a poor seal as well.

Where should sealed pouches be stored? I recommend putting sealed pouches of food in a cool and dry location. This should preferably be in a rodent-free area as rodents can chew through the aluminum / plastic material. If you have a rodent issue, you can place the sealed bags of food in a metal trashcan or other rodent-proof container.

While the 14″ wide AIE-305A1 (5mm seal) was the machine of choice where I was packaging food, you can use other heat sealers to complete the process.

American International Electric (AIE) makes some of the best heat sealers, bag sealers and shrink wrap machines available. Their machines have an industrial look to them and are made from solid metal components and long-lasting electronics. You can find our entire selection of AIE heat sealers here and our entire selection of bag heat sealers here.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions regarding heat sealers. You can also leave your questions here as a comment.

Heat Sealer with a Professional Finish?

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

AIE-210C Medical Impulse Bag SealerIf you are sealing bags with a heat sealer for retail sale purposes, your probably want something that looks presentable an professional. For this purpose, there are heat sealers that don’t just “seal” the bag shut, but use a professional cross-hatch or honeycomb pattern as well has have a built in cutter. There are machines out there that can do both.

I would say that at least 70%+ people out there simply want something that is functional and that gets the job done quickly and effectively. The other group of people also wants something presentable as well as professional in the finished product.

Those who simply want the job completed usually want a sealer for preservation, protection or for bulk packaging purposes. They don’t need “pretty,” they simply need “functional.” In these situations, they customer usually doesn’t need a wide seal or a built in trimmer. Some people, however, do need these qualities in a machine.

I spoke with a person today who wanted a 8″ wide heat sealer. I thought to myself, “I’ve got a great selection of Tish and Traco handheld sealers that should work!” I then went on to direct the customer to a few pages. I was specifically showing them the AIE-200, the AIE-205 and the TISH-200. These particular models I was showing the customer did not impress. The customer went on to tell me that they already had an AIE handheld sealer and they did not like the solid sealing pattern that it had.

After pinpointing exactly what the customer wanted, I discovered they wanted a machine with a wider seal and a “professional” finish. In particular, they wanted a crosshatch sealing pattern rather than a solid seal. It just so happens that AIE makes a few impulse bag sealers that have a honeycomb pattern. When I pointed this out to the customer, they were pretty excited. Some models even include a built in cutter, designed to trim off excess plastic. This is ideal for products that are going to be presented in a retail setting.

One great model that I recommended to our customer is the AIE-210C. This medical impulse bag sealer has a 10mm wide seal and uses a honeycomb texture pattern. The end results look great. It can be used for medical packaging or for other bag sealing purposes. You can find the AIE-210C impulse bag sealer here.

I have found that heat sealers by AIE and Traco are the best out there. You can find our entire selection of impulse bag sealers here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions. Also feel free to post a comment with any questions.

Great I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine Advice – Customer Q&A

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineI just had a chat this morning with a customer regarding some small-volume packaging operations. The customer wanted to buy a shrink wrap machine, but was completely new to the industry and didn’t know exactly where to start. I don’t normally post chats in our blog, due to the fact that I have dozens a day, but this customer asked some pretty good questions that I think will help many of you who are shopping around for a shrink wrap machine.

This particular customer informed me that they were packaging about 6-8 boxes a day that measured in at 12 ½” L x 9 ½” W x 6 ½” H. This is where buying the right size machine can get a little complicated. The easiest way to determine the machine width you need is to take the width of the product you are packaging, plus the height and add 2″ on top of that. Some people only add 1″, but I find that 2″ gives you a little extra (and valuable) room.

This is what we calculated:

9.5″ + 6.5″+2″ = 18″

So we ended up determining that the customer needed a machine that was 18″ wide. In his case we only needed an I-bar sealer because he was only packaging 6-8 boxes a day. Because an I-bar sealer doesn’t use a tunnel, we didn’t need to worry about getting a machine that may have tunnel or chamber height issues.

I provided the customer with a link to our I-bar sealers. After browsing through them for a minute or two he asked me what I thought about the Traco Deluxe Super Sealer. I told him that Traco makes some great products, but that I considered the AIE I-bar sealer to be the better deal because it comes with a 500-foot roll of starter film. I informed him that both machines were probably equal in quality, but that they AIE system was simply the better deal.

He ended up ordering the 24″ AIE I-bar sealer (AIE-2024I) because he wanted to be future proof, believing that he may end up packaging larger items later down the road. In case you didn’t already know, a longer 24″ (or bigger) I-bar shrink wrap machine can use smaller rolls of film.

I hope this chat, and included details, help you with your shrink wrap machine shopping. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink wrap film here. If for any reason you still have questions about these machines, feel free to speak with one of our shrink wrap specialists by calling 1-800-658-8788.

How to Shrink Wrap a Gift Basket

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Shrink Wrapped Gift BasketMother’s day is right around the corner and gift baskets are a popular item during that time of the year. If you are a business that makes gift baskets, our you’re simply a hobbyist, you may want to consider shrink wrapping your own gift baskets. The process is very easy and the end results look just as professional as anything out there. I’ll explain.

To begin with, shrink wrap looks great, it protects the enclosed product and keeps items safe while being transported. While cellophane is popular for gift baskets, shrink wrap looks far more professional (in my opinion). To begin shrink wrapping gift baskets, you’re going to need a few items:

I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machines for Gift BasketsEquipment Needed

  • I-bar shrink wrap machine
  • Centerfold PVC or polyolefin film
  • Heat shrink gun

I recommend using an I-bar shrink wrap machine, sometimes called a straight bar shrink wrap machine. This is because it can be used to quickly cut down your own shrink wrap bags, making it possible to tailor a bag to fit just about any unique size basket. Some people use “wand style” shrink wrap bars, but I think an I-bar system is more precise.

You will then need shrink wrap film. I highly recommend using centerfold film. This type of film is already folded over once and rolled into a single roll. This makes it easy to quickly create shrink pockets for packaging purposes. This can be PVC or polyolefin film. I recommend using 60-75 gauge film, although thicker film should be fine.

Last, you are going to need a heat gun (not a hair drier). The heat gun is used to shrink the film around the basket.

There are two ways to package a gift basket using shrink film. One way is to wrap the film around the basket using a machine and the second way is to cut the bag first and then place it over the basket, sometimes called the “handle” packaging method. This is considered to be the best method of packaging baskets with handles.

If your basket does not have a handle, you can still use the “handle” packaging method, but you may have better luck simply placing your basket in the film (on the machine), sealing the film and heat shrinking it. I will be covering the handle method of packaging.

Shrink Wrap FilmHere area few steps for packaging gift baskets.

  1. Determine the length you will need for your basket. I recommend using a measuring tape. Also be sure that the film roll you are using is wide enough for your basket. I recommend measuring the height of the basket and cutting the film about 6-12″ longer. The film is cut by using the I-bar sealer. Remember, a little excess film isn’t a big deal as it will shrink with heat.
  2. Take your cut bag and slide it over the basket. Pull the film down over the basket until the centerfold seam of the film sits on the handle of the basket.
  3. Take the excess film and tuck it under the basket.
  4. Take your heat gun, tilt your basket at a 90 degree angle and start shrink wrapping the bunched film under the basket. This will cause the open “bunched” end of the film to stick together. Tilt the basket the other way and apply the same amount of heat to the basket.
  5. Now take your heat gun and shrink the rest of the film around the basket. Don’t keep the gun in any one place for too long as this could cause a hole to melt open.
  6. Once the heat gun has shrunk the film, you can repeat the process on another basket.

Having done this myself, I can tell you that packaging a gift basket will only take about 2-3 minutes (once you have the hang of the process). The end results look great and very professional, which should in turn increase sales.

We offer a great selection of I-bar shrink wrap machines here. This includes brands from Traco and AIE. The Deluxe Traco system and the AIE system include the I-bar sealer, a roll of film and a heat gun. This is everything you need to get started. You can find our entire selection of centerfold PVC and polyolefin shrink film here.

Do you still have questions about packaging your gift basket? Give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. Our shrink wrap experts all have experience packaging a wide variety of products and should be able to quickly and professionally answer your questions.

AIE 310HD Double Impulse Bag Sealer Review

Friday, January 28th, 2011

AIE 310HD Double Impulse 10mm Bag SealerDo you need a heavy-duty tabletop bag sealer that can be used to close bags for retail sale? While there are many handheld heat sealers out there, few are designed for high-volume commercial use. One model you may want to take a look at is the AIE 310HD double impulse bag sealer (found here). This is my review.

AIE manufactures are wide variety of impulse sealers, bag sealers, band sealers and shrink wrap machines. AIE products are considered to be some of the best available for retail packaging purposes. One of their more unique products is the AIE 310HD.

Both the AIE 310HD and the AIE 305HD are very similar machines. The biggest difference between the two is that the 310HD has a 10mm sealing width and the 305HD has a 5mm sealing width.

Many people have asked me why someone would need a machine this big. To begin with, many of our customers use the 310HD to bag and seal computer components, cosmetics, personal care items, baby wipes and coffee bags. Because the 310HD has a 10mm sealing width, the packaging holds up extremely well.

The 310HD has both a top and a bottom heating element. This is necessary for sealing thick bags. The 310HD has been rated for sealing bags up to 20 mils thick. This is perfect for plastic lined, foil and gusset bags.

The build quality on the AIE 310HD is exceptional. It features a heavy duty transformer designed to keep up with commercial and industrial bag sealing operations. It also has a durable cast aluminum housing that can take a pounding. The handle is leveraged in such a way that it is extremely easy to pull down.

Simply make the proper adjustments on the machine, place your bag in the opening and pull down the handle. Literally seconds later the bag with have a durable 10mm seal. Once done, the bag can be removed and another can be placed inside.

Like most AIE products, I highly recommend this model. It is tough and great for long commercial runs. There are literally dozens of retail packaging possibilities with this machine.

You can find the AIE 310HD double impulse bag sealer here. You can find our entire selection of bag sealers and heat sealers here.

AIE Impulse Bag and Hand Sealer Review

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

AIE Impulse Bag and Hand SealersSo you need to seal products in a bag and need a reliable impulse hand sealer to get the job done. Which model should you go with? One model that you may want to consider using is the AIE impulse bag and hand sealer (found here). This is my review.

To begin with, AIE has been making hand sealers and shrink wrap machines for years. AIE stands for American International Electric. AIE is especially known for their exceptional build quality and reliability.  AIE tests all their sealers in their West Coast facility and provides a warranty that guarantees dependability and durability.

We carry a wide variety of AIE impulse hand sealers. The biggest difference between models is the sealing length and the sealing width. Models range from four-inches long to 20 plus inches long.

The sealing width ranges from 2 mm to 10 mm. The bag thickness these sealers can handle ranges from 5 mil to 8 mil (on select models). The “C” version of our impulse hand sealers include a sliding cutter. Some of these sealers even include a holding magnet for convenience.

Models include: AIE-100, AIE-200, AIE-200C, AIE-205, AIE-205C, AIE-300, AIE-300C, AIE-305, AIE-305C, AIE-400, AIE-400C, AIE-405, AIE-500.

Our sealers can be used to seal most plastic bags without any issue. AIE hand sealers provide exceptional air and watertight seals on most plastic materials up to about 6 mil. This includes  poly bags, mylar bags and much more. This may be to package food, protect products or for display purposes.

Customer satisfaction with AIE impulse hand sealers is exceptionally high. I very rarely hear about any customer service issues with these machines.

You can find our standard AIE impulse hand sealers here. You can find our AIE impulse hand sealers with cutters here. You can find our entire selection of impulse hand sealers here.

AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine Review

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine With GunSo you want to package your own soap, DVDs, fruit baskets, chocolates or boxes. No matter what it is you want to package, an AIE i-bar shrink-wrap sealer may be just what you need. I have hands-on experience with several AIE shrink-wrap systems and will be reviewing the AIE-20XXX series machines. This includes the AIE-2013I, AIE-2018I, AIE-2024I and AIE-2032I shrink-wrap systems found here.

To start with, all four of these models are essentially the same machine. The only difference is the length of the cutting bar. If you think you may be on the edge of being too big for one model, simply move to the next larger size. The larger systems can still use smaller rolls of film and can still be used to package smaller objects. The price difference between sizes isn’t much and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

One of my favorite things about the AIE-20XXX series I-bar shrink-wrap machines is the fact that they come with the sealer / cutter, a heat gun and a starter roll of shrink wrap film. For the price, you get everything you need to get up and running. I wish more manufacturers would do this.

The machine itself comes assembled right out of the box. Just pull it out and set it on a table. The film is extremely easy to feed on this machine. Simply put the roll on the bearing rollers and insert the film separator into the open end of the centerfold film. You’re now ready to start.

The build quality on the AIE I-bar shrink wrap systems is extremely high, which is usually the case with AIE products. I decided to shrink wrap a couple of Star Wars DVDs to test out the machine. I put the DVDs in the film, made a few cuts with the cutting arm and then ran the heat gun over the film. The film contracted and after a few seconds the DVDs looked like they would on a store shelf.

One nice thing about I-bar sealers, sometimes called straight-bar sealers, is that there aren’t as many height restrictions as you would have with a higher-end commercial L-bar system. It is easy to make cuts around odd-sized and odd-shaped objects thanks to the versatility of the heated cutting blade.

The AIE system, although it was new, created very little smoke. Dirty blades can tend to create more smoke, but the AIE was notably cleaner than I am used to. I would guess that it would take the average operator about one minute to completely package a DVD. This isn’t bad, but it still doesn’t compare to the higher-end L-bar systems. The AIE I-bar system is rated for low to medium-volume use.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend the AIE I-bar system as one of the best I-bar shrink wrappers I have used. If you are in the market, you should seriously considering getting this machine. You will find our AIE I-bar shrink wrap machine here.

Have you used this particular model or do you have questions? Post your comments here!

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