Posts Tagged ‘Heat Sealers’

Best Equipment for Retail Packaging

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Shrink Wrap Packaging EquipmentI speak with people every day who are looking for the best piece of equipment to use for packaging their product for retail sale purposes. While there are some tools out there that can be used for “general purpose” packaging, most packaging tools are designed for very specific projects. I would like to cover a few popular pieces of equipment that can be used for your own in-house packaging.

At ABC Office, we over over a dozen different types of machines that can be used for packaging. In fact, you can find our entire selection of packaging machines here. We carry gravity drop sealers, band sealers, carton sealers, sleeve wrappers and more. For the sake of time, and keep this article from going on over 20 pages, I am limiting this to the top four most popular categories.

Shrink Wrap (found here) – Shrink wrap is the most popular method of packaging products for retail sale purposes. Shrink wrap machines use special thermoplastic film that literally shrinks down when heat is applied. The process is pretty cool and the thin layer of plastic provides protection, makes items tamper proof and can be used for bundling. We offer three different types of shrink wrap machines:

  • I-Bar Sealers (found here) – Our I-Bar sealers are the most popular tool we offer. They are ideal for low to medium volume packaging needs and they are extremely affordable. The I-bar contains a single element that uses impulses of electricity to seal off the film. When used with centerfold shrink film, the I-bar has to be pulled down to seal all opened sides (usually involves two passes). Most I-bar sealers include a heat gun that is then manually used to shrink down the film.
  • L-Bar Sealers (found here) – These tools are similar to the I-bar but have an “L” shaped impulse sealing blade. This doubles the speed at which you can package products. L-bar sealers can be used with a heat gun or with a shrink tunnel, depending on the speed you need to package products.
  • Shrink Wrap Systems (found here) – These systems usually feature an L-bar sealing blade integrated with a heat tunnel dome. The result is a machine that can cut shrink film around a product and shrink the film down all at the same time. This improves efficiency and speed. This type of system is ideal for medium to high-volume packaging needs.


Bag Heat SealersHeat Sealers (found here)
– Heat sealers, often called bag sealers, are designed to seal the open end of a plastic bag. This includes a variety of plastic films including cellophane, mylar, poly film and much more. Depending on the sealer, they can be used with a variety of thicknesses of plastic. These sealers also come in different sealing lengths and widths. They are used for packaging food, tools, powders, liquids and more. Heat sealers are broken down into two categories:

  • Impulse – Impulse bag sealers are designed for speed and can be used with thinner plastic. They use a sealing element that only heats up when it is sealing a bag. It is quick to cool down and very safe to handle.
  • Direct Heat – These sealers, sometimes called constant heat sealers, use a heating element that needs to warm up and remains hot. They are typically a little less money than impulse sealers and they can be used with thicker plastic.

Vacuum SealersVacuum Sealers (found here) – Vacuum sealers are used to provide an air-tight seal, typically for packaging food or sterile medical instruments. Thanks to an airtight seal, vacuum sealers can be used to dramatically extend the life of food and are excellent for preventing contaminants. We offer two different types of vacuum sealers:

  • Chamber Vacuum Sealers (found here) – Chamber vacuum sealers are extremely popular for packaging food and they are ideal for industrial / commercial level packaging needs. You simply insert your item into the vacuum bag, insert it into the chamber and let the machine do the rest. The chamber sealer will remove all the air inside the chamber, seal the bag and return the atmosphere inside the chamber back to normal. The results are long lasting and professional.
  • External Vacuum Sealers (found here) – External sealers seal products outside the machine. Once an item is placed in the back, the open end is inserted into the machine. The external sealer will then remove the air inside the bag and then seal the bag shut. We offer several different types of external sealers including channel sealers (much like a Foodsaver) and industrial external sealers that use nozzles for removing air.

Clamshell SealersClamshell Sealers (found here) – Have you ever purchased a toy, tools or other items encased in a hard plastic shell? This packaging is referred to as clam shell packaging. In the past this clam shell was held shut by staples. Today clam shell sealers are used to keep this packaging closed. This prevents injuries, rust and is an affordable alternative to staples. The clam shell sealer uses heat (or ultrasonic waves) to melt the plastic together.

I hope this has helped answer a few of your packaging questions. Because this is such a huge topic, you may still have additional questions. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 or post your question as a comment. We have decades of experience with these machines and would love to help you out.

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.

Impulse Sealing Blade Troubleshooting Tips

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Impulse Shrink Wrap MachinesImpulse sealing blades are the most common method used to seal and cut shrink film and other plastic materials. In relation to shrink-wrap machines, and even many heat sealers, the blade will eventually begin to dull and efficiency will begin to wane. Bad sealing blade symptoms include cracked blades, built-up blade corrosion and the inability to cut film. Here are a few tips that will help you to extend the life of your impulse sealer.

Impulse Sealer Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you are having issues with your bags or film not properly sealing, try lowering the seal time. The less time that is put on a seal, the stronger it should become.
  • I recommend not exceeding 1.8 seconds when sealing. That should provide the beset seal. A longer sealing time will only compromise the seal and decrease its strength.
  • I recommend cleaning the sealing blade on your shrink wrap machine or heat sealer with either a cleaning gel or with silicon spray. This can potentially extend the life of the sealing blade by up to 12 months.

Heat SealersWhile we do offer replacement kits, wire kits and other accessories for AIE shrink wrap machines and heat sealers (found here), some of our replacement shrink wrap wire, Teflon tape, pads and other parts need to be ordered directly from our Service Department by filling out this form.

Many of the replacement kits are listed directly on the product’s page under “Options and Accessories.” We offer machines from Minpack, AIE, Traco, Rochman, Aline, GHL and others. You can find our I-bar shrink wrap machines here, shrink wrap systems here, L-bar sealers here and heat sealers here.

Best Sealing Width For Heat Sealers

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Heat Sealers / Bag SealersHeat sealers are great machines to have on hand. They can be used to package and seal most plastic bags. While heat sealers vary in sealing length, they also vary in sealing width. So which sealing width is best for packaging your products?

As should probably come as no surprise, the thicker the sealing width, the more durable the seal. I have found that as the sealing length goes up, the sealing width increases to compensate for the added pressure from the larger contents of the bag. This isn’t, however, always the case.

If you have found a heat sealer of equal length, but of varying sealing widths, there are a few things you will want to take into consideration.

If you are sealing liquids, powders or other fluidic products, you may want to use a wider sealing width. This is because liquids, powders and other pliable products can quickly produce added pressure in a single area during shipping and transport. More pressure could create a rupture if the sealing width is too small.

If you are packaging solid products, food, parts and other materials, you may be fine with a thinner sealing width. Remember, the smaller the sealing width the less film and bag you will end up using. Sealers with smaller sealing widths also typically cost less money.

If in doubt, a thicker sealing width will certainly not hurt anything and will provide you with added protection.

Common sealing widths include:

  1. 2mm (most common)
  2. 5mm
  3. 10mm
  4. 15mm (typically the largest)

A few additional features you may find in a heat sealer includes a magnetic lockdown (for convenience) and a built-in cutter for slicing off excess plastic.

You can find our entire selection of heat sealers here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any heat sealer related 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.

Traco THC-150 Handheld Bag Sealer Review

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Traco THC-150 Crimp Style Bag SealerDo you need to quickly seal up balloons, small gift bags or other novelties? One great way to do this is by using a handheld bag sealer. One model you may want to consider is the 6″ Traco THC-150 handheld crimp-style bag sealer (found here). This is my review.

Traco is one of the largest manufactures of shrink wrap equipment, supplies, heat sealers and bag sealers in the United States. Their products have developed a great reputation and are considered to be an affordable alternative to other more expensive products on the market.

The THC-150 is designed to seal bags up to 6″ wide. As mentioned earlier, this may include balloons, gift bags, small retail bags and more. It can be used with materials like polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, foil, surlyn, Mylar and bubble packaging. It is a very versatile sealer.

Sealing is done via a constant-heat Teflon sealing surface. This means that it can be used for repeat sealing and is great for keeping up with a wide variety of projects. I would rate this sealer as a light to medium-volume sealer.

The THC-150 only weighs in at 1 pound, so it is extremely portable. It is also fairly compact, which means it can be placed in most drawers and cupboards for storage purposes.

The housing of the THC-150 is made out of plastic. Once plugged in, it takes about 10-15 minutes before it is fully warmed up and ready to use. Sealing only takes a few seconds. It can seal bags up to 0.010″ thick.

While the THC-150 isn’t the best bag sealer Traco has to offer (no slitter or impulse sealing), it is an affordable alternative that is capable of keeping up with most jobs. The build quality is great for what it is and it should hold up well.

You can find the Traco THC-150 handheld crimp-style bag sealer here. You can find our entire selection of heat and bag sealers here.

Traco TISH Handheld Bag Sealer Review

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Traco TISH Impulse Bag SealerBag sealers are a very important tool in the retail and packaging market. Bag sealers (aka heat sealers) can be used to seal a wide variety of PVC, poly, foil, mylar and other bags. They can also be used to seal bubble pack bags and padded mailers. If you need a good solid bag sealer, you may want to consider our Traco TISH impulse bag sealers (found here). I have used these and this is my review.

One of the most popular bag sealers we sell is the AIE line of handheld sealers. The Traco TISH line the second most popular line we offer and it is quickly rising in popularity. This is due in part to the excellent pricing and the fact that TISH sealers are made from the same parts as the AIE sealers. This means the TISH sealers equal the quality of AIE sealers, usually at a much better price.

Traco has been making shrink wrap equipment and machines for years. Manufacturing impulse bag sealers fit right in with their existing product line.

The TISH line of impulse heat sealers comes in a variety of different designs. These include the TISH-100, TISH-200, TISH-200C, TISH-300 and the TISH-300C. These sealers are all very similar in make and construction. The biggest difference is the cutting width. Models ending in “C” include a built-in cutter.

These sealers use impulses of electricity to quickly seal bags shut. This is a huge advantage over traditional heat sealers as impulse sealers produce less smoke and less odor.

The TISH line of bag sealers can be used to seal polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, foil and surlyn, mylar or bubble pack / padded mailers. This makes the TISH sealers extremely versatile.

Very little training is needed to get one of these bag sealers up and running. Once the time duration has been set, simply plug in the machine, insert a bag and pull down the arm. In just seconds a bag will be completely sealed shut.

The TISH line of sealers weigh in at 6-12 pounds shipped, depending on the model. This makes them very light and very portable. This is great, especially for packaging operations that require a portable machine.

We have been selling TISH bag sealers for several years now and I am not aware of any quality issues. The build quality seems to be right where it should be. Traco claims, and I agree, that the TISH bag sealers are designed to hold up for years.

You can find our Traco TISH bag sealers here. You can find our entire selection of heat sealers and bag sealers here.

Top Five Best Rated Handheld Heat Sealers

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Handheld Heat SealersHeat sealers are one of the best ways to package a product. Simply place your product in a bag and use a handheld heat sealer to seal it shut. The process is fast, simple and very economical. Handheld heat sealers do not cost much, especially when compared to other packaging options. So which heat sealer should you purchase?

Things to keep in mind, when looking for a handheld sealer, is the length of the sealer and the with of the seal itself. Some sealers include a cutter. Make sure you are future proof and don’t get a sealer that will be too small a year down the road.

I have spoken with many customers, having sold heat sealers for years, and have come up with a list of the top five best rated handheld heat sealers according to our customers. These are sealers that are not only popular with our customers, but also sealers that have few issues and returns.

Top 5 Best Rated Handheld Heat Sealers:

As you can see, AIE is considered the king of heat sealers, but the TISH model from Traco has risen to the top as one of the most popular models. You can find our entire selection of heat sealers and bag sealers here.

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