Category Archives: Troubleshooting

Best Practice: What the Heck Does Congeal Mean?

CONGEAL MEANS TO COOL UNDER PRESSURE.

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Hand / Foot Impulse Sealers
The hand or foot sealer is a manual sealer. What this means is that the congeal step or dwell step needs to be added into your sealing process to make a proper seal.    Hold the jaw down for a couple of seconds after the timer light has gone off to set the seal.  This will ensure a proper seal and will also allow the sealer to cool down before the next seal.  This will ensure longevity of the heating elements.

Auto Impulse Sealers
We recommend the congeal (cooling) setting to be at least 2x greater than the heat setting.  This will ensure that the seal has ample opportunity to set and cool under pressure.  This will also allow the heating element to cool as well.  The most important step for the longevity of auto sealers is having the appropriate congealing time.  Most customers skip the congeal setting in order to get a higher ppm (packages per minute) but this will only lead to problems – broken element and PC Board.

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Help! My Sealer Isn’t Working!

Q:  I bought a sealer and now the sealer  isn’t working!  Can you help me?

A: Why, of course we can! We are the sealer experts and can assist you with any sealer problem.  Most often, the problem is a simple fix.  All you need is a screwdriver, unplug your machine and follow our quick little troubleshooting steps.

Using a screwdriver, loosen the PTFE metal plate and untuck the PTFE cover.

1. Is your heating element / wire broken?
– This is the wire (flat or round) that heats up to seal or cut the bag/film.  Remove the PTFE cover and check that the wire is not discolored, bent, or broken.

Check the wire. Make sure the wire runs fully across the sealer.

2.   Do you hear the “click” of the microswitch activation?
The microswitch allows the electricity to pass to the heating element which in turn heats up and seals your poly material.  Sometimes the microswitch moves out of alignment during shipping and needs a simple adjustment to get the unit back to proper working order.

Remove the bottom plate to locate the microswitch

If you do not hear the “click” of the microswitch, you will want to locate the microswitch and make sure the arm operating bracket touches the microswitch when the sealer arm is brought into contact with the sealer base.
Carefully push the microswitch level to ensure that the level comes in contact with the microswitch trigger.

Carefully push the microswitch level to ensure that the level comes in contact with the microswitch trigger.

Mounting Springs hold the elements on both ends.

3.  Are the mounting springs (holding the elements) in tact and in good condition?  Make sure that the spring the element mounts on is intact. Replace if damaged.  Please check also that the mounting spring is not rusted or worn in any way as this will prevent the element from conducting heat.

Make sure there are no loose connections to the timer.

4.  Does the timer light come on when you bring your arm down to meet the base of the sealer?  The light on the timer should come on briefly when the seal bar is brought down for sealing. If it does not come on, there maybe some loose wires or the timer may need replacing

Glossary of Packaging Terms

We have created a couple of glossary reference guides for our distributors.  There are so many terms to remember that we sometimes we forget too!

Click here for our A to Zs of Packaging

Click here for our Glossary of Flexible Packaging Materials

TROUBLESHOOTING – Impulse Sealers

We created this troubleshooting guide to help with our most frequently asked questions regarding sealers.

Impulse sealers (hand, foot, automatic) work in a similar manner – often, if you are having a problem with your sealer, the solution can be found in the following parts:  heating element, PTFE adhesive, PTFE cover, microswitch, mounting spring, and/or timer.  Let us know if you have a problem that isn’t listed in this guide and we can try and assist you.

  1. Check element and PTFE cover and adhesive.
    • Element: This is the wire (flat or round) that heats up to seal or cut the bag/film. Remove the PTFE cover and check that the wire is not discolored, bent, or broken.
    • PTFE Adhesive: This is the 1/2″ piece with an adhesive backing UNDER the heating element.  It should extend past the seal area 1/2″ on either side because it is the barrier between the metal machine and the metal heating element. For the PTFE adhesive, you must replace the bottom sealing strip whenever you change the element.  The adhesive serves as a barrier between the heating element and the sealer’s body.  When the sealer’s heating element has burned through the bottom adhesive and arc’ed on the sealer’s body, the element will break as well as destroy the timer.
    • PTFE Cover: The PTFE cover that goes over the heating element must be whole to prevent the plastic bags or film from sticking to the element. For the teflon cover, we recommend changing the cover BEFORE it burns through.  As the cover wears, you will see a discoloration where it comes into contact with the element, you may also notice that your element is sticking to the thermoplastic material you are sealing.  You can maneuver the cover back and forth to allow the element to come into contact with the unused portions of the PTFE cover. If you are sealing/cutting a thicker plastic material (higher amount of heat) you may go through a lot of PTFE covers.
  2. Listen for “click” from microswitch when pushing bar down. This click should occur right before the upper bar comes into contact with the lower. If there is no click try the following:
    • Hand Sealer: Slightly bend metal switch lever so that when arm of sealer is brought down, the lever makes contact with microswitch and a click can be heard.
    • Foot Sealer: Small bolt for limit switch must be tightened as needed to make contact with the microswitch.
    • Auto Sealers: A 3.5″ screw that is mounted on upper jaw must be loosened so that it will make contact with microswitch which is mounted on left side of hinge bracket.
  3. Mounting Spring: Make sure that the spring the element mounts on is intact. Replace if damaged.  Please check also that the mounting spring is not rusted or worn in any way as this will prevent the element from conducting heat.
  4. Timer Light: The light on the timer should come on briefly when the seal bar is brought down for sealing. If it does not come on, the timer PC board probably needs replacing.

Impulse Sealers – How to Achieve the Best Seal

Good seals require not only enough heat to melt a bag together, but also enough cooling time to allow the seal to set.  Our most common complaint is that a sealer is not creating a good seal and 99% of the time, the operator is not holding the arm down long enough to allow the seal to cool and set.   Manual impulse sealers such as your hand or foot sealer require a congeal or dwell step to create a proper seal on your bag or film.   To achieve the best seal, hold the arm or upper jaw of your sealer down for an additional 2-4 seconds after the signal light has turned off to allow the seal to cool and set.

Follow our simple instructions below and you will get great looking seals!
1)   Set the timer at 3 and place your bag on the seal surface.
2)  Bring the upper jaw and seal arm down on the bag and hold in place until the  timer light goes out and continue to hold the upper jaw or seal arm down for an additional 2-4 seconds to set or congeal the seal.
3)  Lift the upper jaw or seal arm; test the bag or film.  If the seal is strong, the timer setting is correct.  Increase or decrease the timer setting slightly and test again until you achieve the perfect seal.

**Higher timer settings and thicker materials require longer congeal times.
**Following the above instructions will lengthen the life of all the parts.