How to Choose a Heat Sealer

When selecting a sealer, it is important to have a sense of the material which will be sealed.  Try and have the material thickness and width available as this will make your selection process much easier.  This will ensure the sealer you purchase is capable of sealing your material.  If you want any sealer suggestions, fill out this easy questionnaire and we will provide you with some suggestions

This page discusses the four key characteristics of sealers to help you determine which best fits your application.
What is a heat sealer?
A heat sealer (ex: bag sealer, heat impulse sealer, direct heat sealer, hand sealers) is a machine used to seal plastic material using heat. There are many types of sealers and choosing the right sealer may be overwhelming without a few basic points.
Function

There are two main types of sealers: (1) impulse heat and (2) direct heat.

Impulse sealers require no warm up time and seal by applying a pulse of energy to the sealing area, followed immediately by cooling.  Impulse sealers only use power when the jaw is lowered.  We recommend an impulse sealer for any thermoplastic material such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) which requires a lower seal temperature.  Materials for impulse sealers:  Polyethylene, Polyurethane, Polyvinylchloride, Pilofilm, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Saran, Nylon, bubble packs, padded mailers, foil, coated bags, Kel-F, Polyflex, Mylar, Tyvek, and other thermoplastic material.  Impulse sealers are easy to use (no warm-up time), economical (electricity used only during sealing process), and safe (no component is always hot).

There are different types of impulse sealers based on type of material and usage:

  • Hand sealers can seal poly material up to 10mil thickness
  • Pedestal Type / Foot sealers can seal poly material up to 15mil in thickness
  • Auto sealers can seal poly material up to 15mil in thickness
  • Double impulse sealers (automatic and foot options) can seal poly material up to 20mil in thickness (We recommend double impulse for heavy duty applications)
  • Sealers w/cutters seal and trim excess material (tubing) in order to make customized bags

Direct heat (constant heat) sealers maintain constant heat in both jaws.  Direct heat sealers use power as long as the machine is turned on.  As a result, direct heat sealers possess better heat penetration in roder to seal thicker materials.  We recommend a direct heat sealer for materials such as coated aluminum foil, poly cello films, gusset bags, coated Kraft papers, waxed paper, cellophane, mylar, coated PP, and other thicker materials.

We also include other types of sealers used for more specific types of applications:

Vacuum sealers remove air from the product before sealing into an impermeable package.  We recommend vacuum sealing in order to prevent oxidation, spoilage or corrosion.  Barrier bags are used because PP and PE bags are both porous and cannot be used for long term storage.

Clam shell sealers are ideal for welding clam shell packaging.

Size

The size of the sealer depends on the width of the material to be sealed.  We usually recommend adding one inch to the width of material to be sealed for easier handling.  Cutters on the sealer usually trim at slightly less than width of the sealer arm.

Speed
  • Portable sealers are lightweight, handy and versatile.  Sizes, however, are limited.
  • Hand sealers are the most simple and economical unit.  The sealing bar is lowered manually.  Sizes are available from 4” to 40” and approximately 6-20 packages can be sealed per minute.
  • Foot sealers provide a faster seal than hand sealers.  The sealing bar is pedestal controlled leaving your hands free.  Sizes are available from 12” to 35” and approximately 8-20 packages can be sealed per minute.
  • Automatic sealers provide even faster sealing than foot sealers and are ideal for high production jobs.  Automatic sealers are usually tabletop sealers whose jaws are activated automatically by a dial-controlled sequence timer.  Automatic sealers feature a pre-set time cycle to allow for a fully continuous automatic operation.  Automatic sealers can also be used with a foot pedal for semi-automatic operation.  Sizes are available from 12” to 47” and approximately 20-50 packages can be sealed per minute.
  • Continuous band sealers provide the fastest sealing operation with an unlimited length.  Bags are simply fed into sealer while resting on a conveyor belt.  Several models are available with features such as horizontal seal head, vertical seal head, tilting seal head, left or right feed, gas purging, and/or coding and imprinting.
Width of Seal / Packaging Material

Heating elements are made of nichrome (nickel-chromium) and determine the width of the seal.  There are two types of heating elements: round or flat which are interchangeable in most sealers. The round wire is mainly used to cut and seal with no excess material above the seal.  Depending on the width of the flat wire element, sealers are available in 2-3mm, 5mm, 8mm, or 10 mm. Some sealers are equipped with two heating elements for faster heat penetration making them ideal for sealing thicker materials.

 

Standard Features of our Impulse Sealers

The all-metal construction of our sealers provides industrial quality strength and ensures lasting durability.  The body is formed out of rugged cast aluminum while the pivot is an all-steel construction.  Most sealers are equipped with a plug-in electronic timer and built-in microswitch.  No warm-up time is needed.  The variable timer let you seal various types and thickness of plastic films.  A signal light and “beep” indicates the heat cycle is complete and the seal is done.

The number in the model number usually indicates the size of the sealer in mm; so 200 points to an 8″ sealer while 1000 points to a 40″ sealer. The letter in the model number is used to designate the manufacturer and type of sealer.  For example, “H” signifies a hand sealer while an “A” suggests auto sealer.

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4 responses to “How to Choose a Heat Sealer

  1. sourcing for poly heat custom sealers

  2. Wow, I am so glad to have found this article about heat sealers. My husband has been looking into getting a pressure sealer but I wanted to see what they do and their purpose. When you mentioned the difference between impulse sealers and direct heat sealers I was impressed. I never thought of sealers having different speed settings like foot sealers are used with pressing your foot so you can get 8-20 packages done in a min. Thanks for the awesome information, I will be sure to take this information to my husband.

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