It doesn’t seem like the demand for convenience and packaging sustainability will be going away soon. This is why more and more companies are choosing a Pouch as a container for a broad range of products. Convenience products are becoming more and more popular, so it is expected that the powder packaging market will continue to grow as well. The premade pouch is a suitable packaging solution for ground coffee, flour, spices, salt or instant drink mixes. It is also a great choice for baby-food powder, tea powder, milk or protein powder as it protects the product from moisture and helps it to maintain its properties. The premade pouch is also widely used for non-food powders like enzymes, detergent powder or chemical additives.
In order for your packaging equipment manufacturer to provide the best packaging solution for your specific application, there are three main things you need to know about powder packaging:
Free-Flowing or Non-Free-Flowing?
When its particles are not cohesive, a powder product is considered free-flowing. Examples of free-flowing products are granulated sugar or table salt, which ‘flow freely’ when dispensed. These types of powders aren’t compactable under pressure and they don’t hold their shape during manipulation.
When the particles are cohesive, a powder product is considered non-free-flowing. Brown sugar or powdered milk, which can be compacted under pressure and tend to hold their shape when manipulated are good examples of non-free-flowing powders
Flowability of your product affects the type of filler you need in order to properly dispense your powder product into the pouch. Free-flowing product falls easily with the force of gravity. The non-free-flowing product, due to its cohesive properties, needs to be properly compacted and ‘helped along’ during packaging. The free-flow powder can be packed by utilizing volumetric or free-flow auger product fillers. Non-free-flow powders demand an auger filler for proper dispensing of cohesive products.
What about Dusty products?
Let’s imagine a non-free-flow powder product like flour. When flour is dispensed it inevitably results with a cloud of dust. Dust particles can travel very far and they cling to almost any surface. In order to avoid mechanical issues due to airborne particulates, a machine must have dust proof enclosures. Machines with wash down properties are a good solution for two reasons: Machine enclosures are waterproof, so there is no way that water or dust can enter the machine. Some of the dust particles will probably stick to some surfaces on the machine, but they can easily be removed with a spray of water.
What about Bulk Density and why is it important?
The bulk density of a powder represents both the ‘flowability’ of the powder and how compactable it is under the pressure. Bulk density can be calculated through a basic formula: total mass divided by total volume. Bulk density is usually represented as g/cm3.
Granulated sugar and other dry, free-flowing products have a low bulk density and usually will not compress very much. Brown sugar and other cohesive non-free-flowing products have a higher bulk density that gets even higher when compacted.
So what is the connection between bulk density and powder packaging machinery? Here’s an extreme example: Imagine 50g of moist sand vs. 50g of roasted coffee beans. The Weight is the same, but the package dimensions and types vary because of the empty space around and inside of the products. The sand can go in a smaller pouch because it contains less empty space and is more compressed within the package. The coffee beans will need a much larger pouch because they cannot be easily compressed under the pressure and there is more empty space between the beans. This is why it is important to consider bulk density when packaging powders. Bulk density directly affects the pouch sizes and attributes, the type of filler required, and packaging speeds that can be attained.
If you are in a search for a compact sized, competitively priced and efficient powder packaging solution, check out our ROO-100. The ROO-100 is compatible with all standard filling options for powders; it can feature a wash down structure and allows for a 30-second changeover between a wide range of pouch sizes!