Giving new meaning to the term “vertically integrated,” today’s vertical f/f/s machines are increasingly paired with or integrated into other systems that ultimately help boost speed and enhance efficiency for a greater amount and variety of baked and snack food products.

TNA recently worked with Florida-based ARA Food Corp., which produces a range of snacks and chips, to help increase its capacity and reduce overhead with a third packaging system. The new line included TNA’s high-performance Robag FX 3ci vertical f/f/s system paired with the company’s Intelli-weigh 0314 omega multi-head weigher, metal detector, Intelli-date date coder and labeler. The system handles bag sizes ranging from 2 to 16 oz net weight and works with various polypropylene BOPP bag film finishes required for each product brand.

Mark Lozano, sales manager, North America, for TNA North America, said innovations in vertical f/f/s machines, weighers and scales make such integrated systems more effective — and utilized. “There have been increases in scale technologies and improvements in metal detectors. We’re looking for the whole geometry to become seamless and integrated,” he explained.

At Heat & Control, Brian Barr, sales manager for packaging systems, also observed that food manufacturers are looking for more one-stop (or at least fewer-stop) solutions. “With the Ishida Total Packaging System, the bagmaker, weigher and other Ishida equipment, such as a seal checker and checkweigher, can be networked together into a single high-speed system,” he said, noting that all equipment can be operated from a single control screen to simplify settings and preset operations.

On the weigher side, Heat & Control’s Ishida 18-head double weigher combines two high-speed multi-head weighers on a single space-saving frame, providing more direct discharge of product from each scale into each bagmaker to achieve speeds up to 280 bags a minute, depending on product and bag size.