Identifying Plastic Tube Sealing Issues

With growing consumer demands for smaller serving sizes and lightweight packaging, plastic tube sealing is an important process and can affect the quality of the product being delivered to the end customer.

The main issues surrounding plastic tube sealing is where the seal fails and the product leaks or becomes spoiled due to air exposure. 

A problem that complicated the tube sealing process is that commercial packaging lines need to operate at maximum capacity and efficiency with minimal product wastage or accidental damage. 

These days tube sealing processes are mostly automated, but no matter how good your tube sealing equipment, issues with plastic tube sealing still do happen. Ignoring issues can lead to costly downtime, so it is important to identify and eliminate possible issues on the packaging line as quickly as possible, or even before they happen.

Creating a troubleshooting check-list

To identify tube sealing problems it can help to create a check-list. You can systematically gather plenty of information about your packaging procedures to help streamline your troubleshooting system should you experience any issues.

Questions you could include on your check-list:

Identifying and describing the issue. Common sealing issues include:

  • Creases in the seal
  • The trapped product inside the seal
  • Weak seals that break easily
  • Thin spots or holes appearing next to the seal

You should also find out if all products are affected or just some. If it is just one product, then it could be an issue with the product ingredients or formula reacting with the tube material.

If your packaging plant has more than one production line, are you only experiencing issues with one packaging line? Do you have identical packaging lines where there are no sealing issues?

Is this a recent issue? If so, it could be a problem with a faulty batch of plastic tube material or it could be a fault within a tube filling machine. 

Recurring sealing issues

If you are noticing reacquiring sealing issues, you should check what steps have already been taken to identify and resolve the issue. Keeping a record of what actions have already been taken will save you repeating actions over again that have proved inconclusive. 

Once you have gathered enough information, you should start by checking the sealing process first as this is usually the most common aspect of the plastic tube packaging process that can go wrong.

Polyethene tube sealing

The ability to create a tight, leak-proof seal is crucial for a functional and well presented plastic tube product.  A lot of plastic tubes material is made from polyethene (PE) and the plastic film needs to run smoothly and efficiently through the packaging line without issue.

The seal-ability of PE tubes will vary according to the resin used. The properties of the resin will affect seal quality and strength during heat sealing processes. 

When using PE film, if the tube is not sealing as expected, it is worth checking your sealing equipment for faults first. All it may take is a small adjustment to the sealing machine settings, or you need to change out some machine parts that have worn out. 

Tube filling machines and change parts

MSD sells and rents tube filling machines that use hot-air sealing technology for plastic tubes. They make a very cost-effective choice for businesses that want to keep productivity high while getting the best value for money from their equipment. 

MSD also sells change parts for tube filling machines and keep plenty of stock of these parts, meaning that you will be able to access a ready and consistent supply of change parts, helping to minimise your tube filling machine downtime.  If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact our friendly and experienced team at MSD to discuss your plastic tube sealing needs. We are here to help!

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