No matter what powder product you are packaging – may it be nutrition powders, spices, or pharmaceutical powders – there are various factors you need to consider to ensure the success of the packaging process.
The massive growth of the food industry both in the developing and developed countries has intensified the demand for a more effective means of powder packaging. However, the effectiveness of your packaging line will not only depend on your powder filling equipment but also on how knowledgeable you are on the factors associated with the packaging of powder products. You can also check out the beginner’s guide on powder packaging to learn more about the basic knowledge.
Here, we will discuss 6 of the common things that all powder packaging companies should consider. Keep on reading to know more.
Below are the 3 main properties of your powder product that you should take note of when packaging.
It is important that you know if your powder product is free-flowing or non-free-flowing.
If the particles of your powder are not cohesive, then your product is called free-flowing. Examples of free-flowing powders are table salt and granulated sugar. You will notice that when you dispense them, they will flow freely. Even if you add extra pressure to these powder types, their particles will not compress and they will not maintain their shape even if you manipulate them.
On the other hand, your powder product is non-free-flowing if its particles are cohesive. Powdered milk and brown sugar are some examples of non-free-flowing powders. They usually keep their shape when you manipulate their particles. You can also compact them under pressure.
There is one unscientific method you can follow to check if your powder product is free-flowing or non-free-flowing – the finger testing method. You just need to place your powder product in a container and poke it.
If the powder compresses and the indentation made by your finger shows after you have removed it, then your product is possibly non-free-flowing. But if you have removed your finger and it did not leave any lasting indentation on the powder, then your product is likely free-flowing.
Knowing if your powder product is free-flowing or non-free-flowing is important to your powder packaging line’s success. This is because the type of filling machine required to dispense your product properly into your chosen packaging will depend on whether your powder is free-flowing or non-free-flowing.
Packaging free-flow powders is easier because they fall with gravity. For non-free-flow powder products, you need to compact them properly and “help along” in the packaging process because they are cohesive. Thus, non-free-flowing powders will need special filling systems that can convey them to the containers properly.
Generally, free-flow powders can use either volumetric or auger powder fillers. For non-free-flow powders, an auger powder filler specially designed for properly dispensing cohesive products is needed.
Your powder product’s bulk density will also influence the packaging process
A powder’s bulk density describes its flowability and how much it will compact when you apply pressure to it. It is simply the ratio of its mass and its volume plus the volume of the inter particulate void’s contribution. It is usually expressed in g/ml but since the measurement is made using a cylinder, the international unit is kg/m3. It can also be expressed in g/cm3.
For free-flow, dry powders such as granulated sugar, they will usually not compress that much and will have low bulk densities. On the other hand, the bulk density values of powdered sugar, powdered drink mixes, powder milk, and other non-free-flow powders will be high. The more they are compacted, the higher their bulk density will be.
A powder product’s bulk density is affected by various factors including the following:
We will demonstrate the importance of your powder product’s bulk density on your choice of powder packaging machine using the following example: Imagine that you are packaging coffee beans and ground coffee both weighing 50g. Though their weight may be the same, the type of packaging and its dimensions will vary due to the amount of empty space inside and around the products.
The ground coffee will have fewer empty spaces so it will be more compressed when packaged which allows for smaller containers. On the other hand, the beans of the coffee product will have more empty spaces and will not compress that much which requires larger containers. Thus, you need to consider the bulk density of your powder products because it will determine the following:
There are some powder products that form dust clouds when dispensed like flour which is a non-free-flowing powder. Packagers who have already worked with these types of products know how far the dust cloud can travel and cling to any surface.
When it comes to your powder packaging machine, you might encounter serious mechanical problems due to the loose dust particulates. So, you might want to follow the powder packaging machine recommendations below when packaging dusty powder products.
Not only do you need to consider your powder product’s properties but also how you will design your powder packaging itself. Below are the 3 key factors you should consider when creating your packaging design.
Do not try to make your packaging attractive to everyone because you will risk attracting no one. Create a packaging that will “talk” on its own and will be able to communicate with your consumers. For instance, if you are targeting youths, make sure that they will be able to associate with your packaging by using design elements that appeal to them most.
You cannot sell a product today without branding. In this modern day, not only does your packaging need to be appealing to attract customers but it should also carry your branding image. Having a colorful packaging that includes your company’s name and logo as well as the information about your product like its nutritional value is a norm. Be creative and use appealing graphics and colors.
Not all consumers will buy in bulk. Make sure that you package your powder product in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet the needs of both retailers and wholesalers. For products that you intend to sell directly to your consumers, you should create a packaging that is easy to carry.
Being knowledgeable about the basics of powder packaging will help a lot in the success of your business. Even if your production line is composed of highly-efficient sealing machines if you do not know how to properly package your products, your investments will go to waste. So hopefully, you were able to learn a lot from this guide to ensure your powder packaging project’s success.