PFM Packaging says that the BG2800 Zip machine has been designed to cater for growing demand for resalable packaging amidst retailer concerns over shelf life and consumer pressure for greater product differentiation. Zip applications The manufacturer claims that it had previously used zip applicators for vertical machinery that packages more free-flowing products such as grated cheese and pastas, and has expanded the focus for both intermittent and continuous motion packs. This feature is particularly important for cheese packaging, which must often cover fixed-weight products that may vary slightly in portion size and shape, the manufacturer added. The machine is able to hermetically seal three sides of the container material before applying a longitude zip along the remaining area at an output rate of up to 150 packs per minute, the company said. Standard 'pillow' and 'easy pack' sealing is also possible through the system. BG2800 Zip As part of the BG2800 Zip's design, a free standing frame is used to feed the zip itself into a applicator that uses a roller to apply the product onto the material. At the end of this roller feed, PFM says that heater bars are fitted to seal the film and zip together before the final multi die crimp seal unit process. The use of a zip is particularly important for shelf life by ensuring that - after an initial gas flush within the packet - a product is at a reduced risk of oxidisation occurring within the pack, according to the group. "If the packs leak then the oxygen level within the pack will increase and therefore it is possible for mould to develop and the condition of the product will deteriorate," a spokesperson for the group said. Using a mechanised zip applicator, the machine is able to accomadate an array of laminate materials for use in packaging, which PFM says allows manufacturers to produce a variety of different packaging types for its products. This automated process ensures a much quicker output for zip bag products, claimed PFM. The machine, which can be used by manufacturers worldwide, may also have applications for other perishable products like meats and baked-goods, the manufacturer said. While the company added that the product is more expensive compared to standard pillow pack cheese machines, it claimed the machine still offers long-term cost effective benefits for zip-based flow packaging.