Volpak was founded in 1979, is the pioneer and a leading brand in designing and manufacturing of HFFS machines for Flat and Stand Up flexible pouches for food & beverage, personal care, home care, pharma and chemical industries. Volpak HQ is based in Barcelona, with a workforce of 275 employees worldwide. Volpak has more than 6,000 installed machines worldwide and provides services to + 50 countries in Europe, Asia – Pacific, America & Africa. As part of the Italian group Coesia since 1996, we can effectively count on a global footprint service through Coesia organization.

Innovation is a key pillar for the company, they invest 12% of their sales turnover in R&D. Volpak is not only designing new machines, but innovative new packaging solutions based on consumer and market needs. Volpak is also continuously focusing on finding sustainable & efficient packaging materials and consumables.

Interview with Francesc Busquets, Sales & Marketing Director at Volpak.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Francesc Busquets: In the area of flexible packaging into stand-up pouches, the intermittent motion HFFS machines (Horizontal Form-Fill-Seal) represent the most common type of automatic machinery for large production. These are machines that form the pouch from the reel of plastic film and can deliver a filled pouch with several accessories (such as caps for liquids, zippers for closure, multiple shapes).

Main markets served by Volpak are FMCG industries, such as Food, Pharma, Home&Personal Care and Chemical.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

F.B: In intermittent machines, pouches are kept still during productive operations, such as pouch forming or filling with product, and then shifted to the next machine station for the following operation until the whole process is completed. Therefore, speed limitations exist due to the physical properties of the products to be filled.

Volpak’s SC+ Series of Continuous-Motion horizontal machines were developed, to allow pouches to be moved without stopping, resulting in much higher production capacities at a more reduced footprint.

Now Volpak will expand the capabilities of this range by launching the new SC+ Pre-Made at the end of October 2021. The SC+ Pre-Made is the new continuous motion machine designed to fill pre-made pouches at the highest speeds in the market. Unlike its “sister” SC+, this model has no forming pouch area, saving considerable space and making it a significantly more compact and handier model.

This new range will be available for both solid and liquid products.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

F.B: Volpak offers a wide range of products for both interminent & continuous -motion solutions. Depending on the pouch size & production speed needs we offer different product series:

SL Series:  SL series is particularly suitable for medium-low speed volumes on flat sachets, therefore its ideal target is SME’s. Especially in the Pharma market (Pharma powder, granules, towelettes…) and also food industry (Spices, cocoa powder, instant coffee, Tomato…).

The SL series is distinguished for being a product range of easy operation and low maintenance. In addition, it allows extra sachet applicators such as zippers, twin or string sachets and towelettes.

This machine range works with speeds ranging from 50 up to 150 spm (sachets per minute), with a sachet size range from 40mm up to 140mm and a dosing range from 30ml up to 300ml.

SP Series: SP series is particularly well-suited for high-speed flat sachets or simple stand-up pouches, ideal for small & medium sized companies. The main markets for this machine range are Food, Pharma and OTC.

The SP series has been designed with special interest in easing the maintenance processes with high efficiency production. This series is highly modular and can be tailored to the customer’s needs achieving the highest rates of performance and efficiency.

SP series allows to work with flat sachets & stan-up pouches from 45 mm to 220mm with speed rates up to 360 spm, and dosing from 80ml up to 1.000ml. – A real high-speed flat sachets series!

SI Series: Volpak’s SI series is a product range specially designed for stand-up pouches although it also works with sachets. It is intended for a medium-large company profile with high variety production requirements.

It is a very versatile and efficient series and is particularly suitable for easy changeover to produce different types and size of pouches. SI series is the most versatile and flexible horizontal form fill and seal machine in the market (complete 3D size changeover in 60 minutes).

This is Volpak’s „Industry 4.0” series, fitted with “smart factory” features like asset performance evaluation, central data storage, web-based self-diagnosis system and plug & play interconnectivity.

SI series machines works with pouch size from 85mm up to 220mm, dosing from 150cc up to 2.000ml, and production speed form 120ppm up to 240ppm (Pouches per minute).

SC+ Series: SC+ is Volpak’s breakthrough innovation in stand-up pouch machine range.  The first range of continuous motion packaging machines in the market, designed for very high production speeds for both solids and liquids products.

The SC+ series consists of two machines, our traditional HFFS machine (with pouch forming area) and the new, more compact SC+ Pre-Made, with no pouch forming part and a pre-made pouch loading module instead.

This is Volpak’s most flexible and versatile series, allowing for material waste reductions of up to 70% and increases production by up to 30% per m2.

SC+ machines allow to operate with pouch sizes from 85mm up to 300mm, dosing from 100ml up to 3.000ml, and output speed from 140ppm up to 400ppm (depending on the product and pouch dosing capacity).

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? / What can you tell us about market trends?

F.B: While Volpak is present in many markets today, we are experiencing significant growth in the Food, Pet Food and Personal Care markets. This is undoubtedly due to the effect that the global pandemic is having on the consumption habits of users around the world.

Food consumption habits are changing rapidly, and healthier and more sustainable products are in demand. This directly affects the way they are packaged, especially dairy products (to go, 100% recyclable packaging, longer shelf life…).

The cosmetic industry has the most varied packaging requirements of all sectors and require containers with different shapes and sizes and dispensing mechanisms. Especially Asian and North American markets are booming in facial and hair treatments, demanding more natural and organic products, which has a direct impact on their packaging and preservation.

Pet Care has seen the highest growth on record, even despite a steady global decline in GDP growth. The healthy state of the Pet Care industry is partly due to the increase in pet adoption rates throughout the pandemic. Users are demanding more premium products for their pets as well as more sustainable packaging. This is forcing manufacturers to adapt their production, and Volpak’s SP and SI series are ideally suited to these versatile market needs.

But above all, all FMCG industries are committing to the use of new sustainable materials and easily recyclable plastics. This trend, which in some markets is a regulatory must by 2030, will seriously affect the packaging industry, not only for consumers but also the engineering and equipment capabilities required. It is definitely an interesting challenge that requires intense collaboration between Manufacturer, Film Supplier and Machine Supplier. Volpak, and the whole of the Coesia companies are very committed to Sustainability and are closely collaborating with all players in the market.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

F.B: Our SC+ and SC+ pre-made solutions are definitely the most innovative on the market today. Not only for offering the first packaging machines with continuous motion, but also for their versatility in stand-up pouch production.

This technology also includes the latest advances in intelligent 4.0 technology: reduces up to 60% of waste, offers 10% pouch size optimization and it is ready for a smart / preventive maintenance scenario.

The continuous filling technology allows SC+ serie to be twice as fast without reducing puch quality (forming & sealing).

The ideal markets for this new technology are Home & Personal Care, Dry Pet Food & Food (Dairy products, Sauses & dressings, Fruit Purees, Candy and Gums, Chocolates & Nuts.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

F.B: Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic situation, Volpak very quickly adapted to the constraints and limitations by strongly digitalizing its services to overcome the travel restrictions. Virtual FATs (LFAT) were very early introduced in 2020 to enable our customers to be present at the time of test and validation of their machines. Also, remote services (ARA) were enhanced to be able to service machines remotely and avoid production stoppages and finally, virtual tools were created to enable our customers to interactively see the machine they were looking forward to acquire.

All this to say that Volpak’s activity never stopped. In fact the opposite: we have entered a growth path in 2020 that will continue throughout 2021 and beyond and we will continue to work to increase the level of service and features offered to our clients whilst maintaining our position as a highly reliable supplier.