The key to creating a modified atmosphere in FIBCs is using the right equipment.
A modified atmosphere in FIBCs (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers) can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It helps to protect the contents from microorganisms, such as bacteria and molds, as well as insects and rodents.
In addition, it can also extend the shelf life of processed goods, such as food products or pharmaceuticals.
But what equipment do you need to create this modified atmosphere? Let's take a look at the essential pieces of equipment necessary for creating a modified atmosphere in FIBCs, all supplied by Somsix.
They key equipment to create MAP
First, the liner spout needs to be sealed with the Automatic Spout Sealer. After positioning the spout in the seal mouth, the sealing process is running automatically. The most important piece of equipment you'll need is a Vacuum and Gas Injection Machine, which removes air from the container after it's sealed. After the air has been removed from the container, nitrogen or carbon dioxide gas can be injected into the container through an injector system.
Vacuum & Gas Injection Machine
Compared to the equipment our competitors use, the Somsix vacuum and gas injection machine is more efficient, and more effective. It can reach extremely low levels of oxygen below 1%, rapidly.
Moreover, the Somsix machine allows you to create a vacuum and insert the necessary gases in one run, for increased productivity and a smoother process.
The machine comes with an integrated leak test at the end of the cycle. This unique feature will prevent costly and time-consuming mistakes caused by leaks that go unnoticed. With this feature, every bag gets checked automatically.
Mobile operation or Fixed Operation: depending on what your process looks like, you can opt for a mobile or fixed solution. Either way, both are built at the highest quality standards.
The machine design is based on the original machine that was developed for the baby formula and powdered milk industry, which means it is created with the highest hygienic standards in mind.
We’ve made handling the machine easy and secure: the equipment is made to be used by as many people as possible, all by keeping it simple. To add to the user-friendliness of our equipment, there are automated settings, so anyone can operate the machine under the right conditions, without any specific knowledge. Including calculations on which and how many gases need to be added.
Automatic Spout Sealer
This is a machine that seals the spout of a Big Bag so that the FIBC is securely sealed, keeping the MAP safe. After positioning the spout in the seal mouth, the sealing process is running automatically.
In an industry where hand-operated sealers are still very common, the Somsix automatic spout sealer is a real game changer. Where sealing by hand still requires counting, we’ve created a machine that secures an airtight seal with less chance for human error.
With our automatic spout sealer, you continuously reach the same seal quality, over and over.
Heating and cooling have been integrated into one system and are activated at the press of one button.
The all-in-one machine: two positions
For those who are looking to ramp up their production levels, our all-in-one machine is a great addition to their production process.
This machine has two positions as opposed to the standard ones, which means you don’t have to switch Big Bags as often: you can leave one FIBC on the machine and have it processed while changing another one. One bag will be sealed, the arm will move and make room for a new bag to vacumize while the sealing continues. This saves time and is a big game changer in many production facilities.
Additional Equipment Needed
In addition to these three pieces of equipment—the vacuum chamber, injector system and sealing system—you may also need additional equipment such as scales or air compressors depending on your specific needs.
The most important piece of equipment when it comes to creating a modified atmosphere in FIBCs is a gas mixer or generator. This type of device is used to mix gases together at specific ratios.
The types of gases that can be used include nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and more. By adjusting the ratio of each gas, it’s possible to create an environment that is not only safe but also extend the shelf life of goods stored in the container.
Cylinder Valves and Regulators
Another type of equipment necessary for creating a modified atmosphere in FIBCs is cylinder valves and regulators. These allow you to control the flow rate and pressure of each gas being used in order to achieve the desired atmosphere within the container.
The valves must be installed correctly and carefully calibrated according to manufacturer specifications in order for them to work properly.
Installing the Somsix equipment
Any mechanic can install and set up Somsix equipment.
The electrical connections you need are simple.
We need 4 bars of air pressure, but 5 is better. A standard compressor or a mobile one will work fine. For nitrogen, we again need 4 bars. As for electricity, we'll need a three-phase connection at 380 to 480 volts between whatever plugs are compatible locally.
With an international network of distributors, we are able to source the majority of machine components locally. However, there are some parts that are extremely specific which are therefore supplied by us in a kit. This allows work on the machines to continue without interruption.
The machines require very little maintenance and are built to last. Based on the same principles as larger systems that have been running in factories for years, they are durable and reliable. All machines come with a one-year manufacturer warranty and online support.