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Vertical Form Feed Sealing Machine fed by DynaClean Vertical Z Conveyor in a gluten free food manufacturing facility

Vertical Form Fill Sealing (VFFS) machines are commonly used in the packaging industry for food and a wide variety of other products.  They offer a packaging solution that conserves valuable space on the plant floor.

When looking to purchase a vertical form fill sealing machine, don’t forget to consider your options for feeding the packaging machine.  Traditionally, companies have utilized bucket elevator conveyors to feed their VFFS machines.

Bucket elevator conveyors consist of a series of buckets attached to a belt or chain with pulleys or sprockets located at the top and bottom of the unit.  As you might imagine, these buckets, chains, pulleys and sprockets can be a nightmare to clean and maintain.

A better option for moving your product to the tall height of a vertical form fill sealing machine is an easy-to-clean vertical belt conveyor.  The right vertical conveyor will offer greater ease of cleaning, maintenance and safety benefits that far outweigh bucket elevator conveyors.

Ease of Cleaning
It is imperative to have a conveyor system that is easy to clean.  The labor and resources needed for cleaning your conveyor can quickly become your largest cost.  Look for a conveyor that offers a simple design that is easy to take apart for quick cleaning and sanitizing.  A good design will allow you to take the conveyor apart within minutes and without the use of tools.

Solid surface polyurethane belting with scoop flights, on vertical conveyors, are much easier to clean than the buckets on a bucket elevator.  Buckets also have a tendency to crack, chip and break, which can cause bacteria to quickly accumulate.  Polyurethane belts that get a slight nick or gouge will not generate any bacterial harborage points.

Ease of Maintenance
An easy to maintain conveyor system can reduce your maintenance costs by thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the conveyor.  The ideal conveyor will include a motor with a hermetically sealed design that ensures internal parts are not exposed to external environmental conditions or tampering.

Solid surface self-tracking belts will greatly reduce maintenance costs and the need for frequent replacement of buckets.  Feed rollers that are bearing-free are a much better option than chains and pulleys used on bucket elevators.

Employee Safety
Utilizing a conveyor will be a much safer option than requiring your employees to manually feed your vertical form fill sealer.  But, as with any mechanical or electrical device, conveyors can present some safety concerns.

Look for a conveyor where all of the moving parts – such as chains, belts and sprockets – are not accessible to fingers, hands and loose clothing.  The safest conveyor systems are designed without sharp edges and ensure that all moving parts are self-contained or guarding is in place.

With the right vertical conveyor feeding your VFFS machine, you can keep your employees safe, greatly reduce your overall costs and your risk of product contamination.

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Marcie Palmer