FSU800RTC: A Powerhouse Continuous Motion VFFS Machine with Ultrasonic Sealing for Challenging Packaging Needs

August 25, 2023 | By The Fres-co Team

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Preserving product freshness and quality has always been critical for the food service and food and beverage sectors, but with the latest flexible retort packaging innovations, the industry is experiencing a big step change forward. With its increased durability and sustainable advantages, flexible retort packaging has proven to be a versatile and reliable option for products that demand uncompromised shelf stability.

Our FSU800RTC continuous motion vertical form, fill, and seal (VFFS) machine utilizes ultrasonic sealing to prevent contamination and reduce pouch headspace in the most challenging sealing situations. It can efficiently transform rollstock into formed pouches that are then precisely filled and hermetically sealed, providing a space-saving alternative to metal cans. This system is an excellent and proven option for producing packages for retort processing when paired with Fres-co’s proven flexible films.

In this post, we’ll take a close look at the features of the FSU800RTC machine and its competitive advantages for the food service industry. We’ll also review how the FSU800RTC compares to the other VFFS machines we offer in the FSU800 lineup.

Overview of the FSU800RTC: A VFFS Continuous Motion Machine Designed for Multi-Phase Filling

The FSU800RTC is specifically designed for multi-phase filling of liquids and solids. This multi-phase filling technology allows users to combine liquids and solids in different ratios, meaning that higher cost components can be metered and percentages of solids to liquids can be controlled. Tomato products like whole peeled and diced tomatoes with tomato juice, as well as varietal beans with brine, ready-to-eat soups and pastas, and more, are all ideal applications for the FSU800RTC.

Retorting is a technique that involves heating low acid foods, which are prone to microbial spoilage, in hermetically sealed containers. By subjecting the food and the pouch to a cooking process together, the FSU800RTC ensures sterilization, effectively extending the shelf life of the packaged products.

While retorting can be used with metal or glass containers, flexible retort pouches are lightweight and can provide better packing efficiencies. They lay flat and require less storage space, and as a result, they can deliver substantial cost savings when it comes to transportation and shipping. In addition, compared to #10 cans, the retort process with flexible pouches allows for faster heat penetration, which means reduced cooking time, and more of the product’s taste, texture, and nutritional value is retained.

Advanced Sealing Technologies: Hot Bar and Ultrasonic

The FSU800RTC uses two types of sealing technologies to create secure and reliable seals. Hot bar sealing, also referred to as heat sealing, is used for vertical seals and ultrasonic sealing is used to create horizontal seals.

Ultrasonic sealing uses acoustic vibrations to generate heat at a molecular level inside of the film itself. The ultrasonic energy used allows the film to seal without the need for direct heat on the material. This friction also forces product out of the sealing area, helping to prevent splashing and pouch leaks. By achieving a hermetic seal, the FSU800RTC ensures a high level of product protection and reliability in the packaging process.

Unlike many other packaging providers, the FSU800RTC stands out by offering ultrasonic sealing technology that can seal the entire web width, accommodating pouch widths of up to 356mm. This feature provides a significant advantage in terms of versatility and flexibility, allowing for the packaging of various product sizes and shapes.

Clean-In-Place Controls

Constructed from stainless steel and featuring Clean-In-Place (CIP) controls, the FSU800RTC is easy to clean and sanitize after each use, making it suitable for the packaging of food products that require stringent sanitation measures. The CIP controls allow the interior surfaces of the machine, like process pipes, processing vessels, tanks, fill tubes, and associated fittings, to be thoroughly cleaned without disassembling the machine.

The FSU800RTC has the following washdown design features included:

  • 304 Stainless steel construction
  • 316 Stainless steel product delivery path
  • Fully welded construction, with polished welds to eliminate cavities
  • #3 or #4 Hygienic surface finishes
  • No penetrations of frame tubes that can allow water infiltration
  • No exposed threaded surfaces and minimal cavities

Continuous Motion VFFS: A High Production Throughput

The FSU800RTC is a fully integrated machine that uses continuous motion, meaning rollstock film seamlessly flows throughout the form, fill, and seal process without requiring starts and stops. As a result, its production speed is approximately 50% faster than traditional intermittent VFFS packaging machines.

This not only allows for increased efficiency and productivity in packaging lines, but it also reduces the overall wear and tear compared to alternative machines that use intermittent motion. The continuous flow of film also allows for more consistent machine performance that can better rival the throughput and speed of traditional canning lines.

Increased Product Safety for Food Service

In addition to offering a higher throughput, the FSU800RTC produces flexible packaging that is often safer for the end user. This is especially beneficial for food service operations where food ingredients in #10 cans are used, exposing employees to lids with sharp edges. The FSU800RTC can form, fill, and seal flexible pouches with user-friendlier features like a tear notch, which is not only easier to use, but is a safer option. A lower injury rate within the restaurant environment helps reduce costs.

Additional Features

Additional features of the FSU800RTC include:

  • NEMA 4X machine construction w/ Allen Bradley PLC controls
  • Touchscreen HMI
  • VFFS machine utilizing rollstock material
  • Horizontal seals made with ultrasonic sealing
  • Multi-phase filling (solid products and liquid products filled via separate filling systems)
  • Vacuum pull belts
  • Optional servo fill valve

FSU800RTC Specifications

FSU800RTC continuous motion VFFS machine Specifications Chart

*Production speed varies with pouch size and product characteristics

 

FSU800RTC: How Flexible Competes With #10 Canning Machines

Over the last decade, flexible retort pouches have significantly evolved in its technology and performance, and as a result, demand has also grown. High-barrier flexible pouches come with a variety of features and benefits, giving you the opportunity to choose packaging solutions that work well with your products and most directly meet the needs of your customers.

Shelf Stable With Strong Protection

In the past, products with lower acidity levels had to be refrigerated or frozen when using pouch packaging. The use of high-barrier flexible films has changed this entirely, and as a result, it has contributed to substantial cost savings with shipping and warehousing for food processors and restaurants. In addition, flexible pouches are strong and can’t be dented like traditional #10 cans, which helps prevent the potential of leaks or otherwise damaged products.

A Safer Alternative

Food service operators are often concerned about the potential danger posed by the sharp edges of lids when opening #10 cans, which can put employees at risk. The tear-open design of flexible packaging makes them not only safer to use, but also more user-friendly.

Better Taste, Texture, and Nutritional Value

Compared to #10 cans, the retort process with flexible pouches allows for faster heat penetration. This minimizes the length of time spent in the retort process, and helps the product better retain its taste, texture, and nutritional value.

Sustainability

We developed the high-barrier flexible #10 pouch as a sustainable substitute for the traditional #10 can. This eco-friendly alternative not only offers comparable shelf life but also delivers significant cost savings of up to 75 percent in materials, achieves up to 87 percent source reduction, and utilizes up to 50 percent less materials. Flexible pouches also outperform rigid containers by cutting landfill waste by half, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 62 percent, and lowering BTU consumption by 71 percent.

A Better Marketing Narrative

Flexible retort packaging offers superior printing capabilities compared to rigid containers. By utilizing high-quality rotogravure printing, food producers can create visually impactful designs that have a lasting presence on store shelves. All of our rollstock materials and machine parts are also created in the U.S.A in Telford, PA, and are BPA-free.

Flexible Packaging Machines to Suit Your Needs

The FSU800RTC VFFS machine is ideal for high-speed retort applications, but it’s just one machine in the our FSU800 lineup. Each VFFS machine in this lineup offers unique applications and the ability to accommodate diverse product characteristics.

FSU800RTC continuous motion VFFS machine comparison chart

If you’re considering moving from a traditional canning machine to the FSU800RTC, or to another machine in our FSU800 lineup, or simply want to learn more about flexible packaging solutions, our team of experts can help.

As a flexible packaging innovator, we offer in-house R&D capabilities, technical service, and operational support that you can leverage to arrive at the best possible packaging solution for your needs. Contact us at to learn more about how we help you achieve your packaging objectives.

For more than 40 years, Fres-co System USA, Inc. has manufactured high-performance flexible packaging systems and invented dozens of innovative breakthroughs including degassing valves, modified atmosphere technologies, and reclosure systems.

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