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Paper VFFS Bags Mock-up

Paper or Plastic? You Can Run Both.

Nov 24, 2021

Converting VFFS Baggers for Recyclable Paper Materials

As food manufacturers and brand owners double down on their 2025 sustainability commitments, BW Flexible Systems has received an influx of inquiries about the versatility of our flexible bagger machines. In particular, these companies are seeking to upgrade and purchase vertical-form-fill-seal (VFFS) baggers that can run paper and other eco-friendly materials. Our engineers have modified baggers for several clients to allow them to change from plastic to paper packaging for their products.

One of the greatest challenges that we’ve encountered while modifying these VFFS machines is ensuring that the paper material can run as quickly as the plastic material. By comparison, paper requires gentler handling than plastic. To address this, we’ve studied, tested and answered a handful of underlying technical challenges.

First, how can we align the sealing force requirements with the customer’s paper material? With continuous VFFS, it is much more difficult to create a sound seal while the film is running continuously. To solve this, we partner with innovative sealant manufacturers and make modifications to the forming tube assembly (FTA), specifically accounting for the time and temperature required to properly seal bags using the customer’s chosen material.

Similarly, configuring the “jaws” to punch peg holes in paper, rather than plastic, requires a re-imagining of the tool. For plastic, it’s common to punch holes by melting them into the plastic. For obvious reasons, this does not work for paper. Instead, we have adopted a cold punch system that is used across other packaging systems that handle paper.

Through modifications like this, we’ve witnessed food manufacturers and brand owners create sustainable change quickly and cost-effectively. We’re also seeing huge strides in sustainable packaging solutions for horizontal flow wrappers and, at our sister company BW Integrated Systems, automating placer and denester systems to quickly integrate fiber material bowls into food production plants.