There are many reasons to learn about spouted pouches. You may be considering spouted pouches for your product or to explore if inserting fitments as a new capability for your company. Learning about fitment inserting can also help if you’re having issues with a spouted pouch and want a better understanding of the process.
At HQC, we welcome brand owners and companies to come and learn the basics while watching actual fitment inserting and testing. Helping companies with testing and development using their product(s) is the best way to see if all components are compatible.
What do you do when you have problems? The answer to that question often depends on who you ask first. A fitment inserter may say it has to be the film because they’ve never encountered that problem. The film company might say that it can’t be the film because it passed all of the testing. It’s difficult to tell. It might not be either or it could be both. What about the processes in making the spouted pouch? Is the issue your product within the pouch causing the adhesive to lose its bond? Were the pouch, fitment, and the sealing process checked for compatibility? It is like throwing a cat in a room full of rocking chairs and hoping all ends well. We see this time and time again. It is necessary to review all of the materials, processes, fitments, the product and even how it is filled and sealed. All of these steps create a completed package.
Too often with spouted pouches, people assume everything is correct and do not take time assembling samples and testing to help avoid these problems. One or two problems in the beginning of this multiple step process can quickly rob time from the rest of the steps and can lead to failure. After all, it is not in the interest of any company to create failures.
So where do you start? You want someone with plastics knowledge both film and fitment wise who understands the fitment inserting process, along with some filling and product basics. Where can you find a company that does comprehensive testing before they combine all of these separate processes? How do you get the spouted pouches made so you can test them with your product?
In the spouted pouches world, each company is their own expert. However, outside of their core competencies there are few companies that have a well-rounded overview of the entire process, a process that is constantly evolving. Even HQC, with years of experience in fitment manufacturing and does research and development in all the above areas, still relies on each stakeholder in the process when resolving spouted pouch issues. We align with companies that want to innovate, discover, and learn what can and cannot be done, sharing ideas and doing the undoable.
Film, film additives, fitment and fitment material need to be consistent across the board, especially in ultrasonic welding, and need to have consistent seal base dimensions. Although heat sealing can be a little more forgiving, fitments still need to have consistent seal bases. If you want to avoid inconsistent seals from run to run, your seal base materials need to be the same every time. Another little known fact is that fitments with color will change the fitment inserting process. Not all fitment materials are the same and not all materials are meant for fitments. Ifit is beingused for food is it food safe? After all, the last thing you need in food is to have additives leech into your product.
Unfortunately, there are very few companies to learn from and/or experience pouch fitment inserting. It’s incredibly difficult to know which process will be best for your application, without proper testing. It is important that as a company you are part of and involved in the process.
There are many steps and variables when making a pouch, inserting a fitment and filling the pouch. This includes the type of closure / liner used to seal the fitment and secure your product.
The first question, what are the expectations of the spouted pouch? What are the contents that will go into the pouch? Even how will they be shipped and stored? When working with customers and brand owners, we ask a lot of questions to ensure a quality product.
What if the adhesive used has a low heat stable range? What if the fitment is made with releases that bloom/migrate to the surface after time? Also, what about the equipment? In ultrasonic welding this can be a real problem. Ultrasonic use pressure and distance as part of the process. The fitment can be the trigger to stop the ultrasonic energy when a distance is reached. Inconsistent seal base size changes the time the energy is delivered to the sealing horn. Ultrasonic weld spout insertion requires fitments that are accurate. To big it and it applies energy longer, too small and not enough energy to create the seal.
HQC researches and experiments with the fitment inserting process and all the different variables and how they affect the integrity of the pouch fitment to pouch seal. This includes creating seal bar designs to improve the sealing process.
We can take the same fitment, film and process that fails at a 7 psi burst and change the seal bar designs to reach burst pressures over 20 psi and on the threshold of 30 psi at the fitment seal. Even something as small as having too much melted material in the seal can create hot spots that sets up and acts like a tear notch creating a weak seal.
The idea here isn’t to scare you…ok, maybe a little. Our true goal is to give you a place to gain some experience and learn about spouted pouches. We learn each and every day about the different factors that cause both good and bad results in pouch fitment/weld spout insertion.
In the coming months, we will be sharing on our website, blogs, pictures and videos on fitment inserting. Visit our website and print out the anatomy of a fitment to be consistent with your understanding of the many parts of a fitment. We are always looking to help companies, brand owners, and flexible packaging suppliers by educating them about spouted pouches. This interaction is vital to success in spouted pouches. We may not have all of the answers but there’s a good chance we’ll have the one you need. Your questions and ideas could lead to the next new discovery.
If you have a project we can help you with or answer any questions, just ask. We have great relationships with some of the best and key companies in the flexible packaging industries. If we can’t help you, we’re pretty sure we can direct you to someone who can, even if it’s is one of our competitors.