Previously bags tended to be put onto strips by hand but demand has emerged for automated machinery to cut labour costs and meet higher orders for strips of sweets, chocolates and crisps.
Spokesperson Bob Bushby said hanging strips of bagged food products is growing in popularity in retail as a means of encouraging impulse buying without losing shelf space.
Crisps can be hung at the end of the alcohol aisle or sweets can be gathered in the detergent section to tempt the shopper to make impulse buys.
Strips can also be an attractive option for manufacturers looking to sell to a retailer for the first time. The task of persuading a retailer to buy is easier when shelf space does not have to be cleared for the new entrant.
To respond to the growing popularity of these strips, UK-based Ishida Europe developed what it calls a Flexible Strip Pack Applicator (F-SPA).
The new machine takes bags that weigh up to 100g and attaches them to a strip at up to 80 bags a minute, a speed which Bushby said is in line with good bag makers.
Bags can be hand-fed into the F-SPA by an operator, which can be useful if the user wants to mix and match products, or they can be entered automatically by linking up the machine to a bag maker in an automated packing line.
The latter option allows the bags to be quality controlled using check weighting, metal detection, seal testing or x-ray inspection before they are assembled into strips. This prevents wastage because the whole strip has to be discarded when a single bag fails quality control after assembly.
Another feature of the new machine is the type of strip that is used. Bushby said a light plastic with an adhesive tape was chosen so that bags can be reattached if a consumer takes one and decides not to buy one. This prevents products being scattered onto shelves because that can not clipped back onto the strip.