Vacuum packaging is a form of modified atmosphere packaging. The overall goal of vacuum packaging is to eliminate some or all oxygen that commonly contributes to degradation. Depending on the type of products being wrapped, a combination of oxygen and nitrogen can be within the vacuum package to extend the life of a product.
Vacuum packaging is not only limited to consumable products. There are a variety of other non-consumable products commonly wrapped with vacuum packaging. Any products sensitive to moisture, dust, or any other external elements can be a great fit for vacuum packaging.
Another common packaging option for products sensitive to external elements is shrink wrap packaging. Many people think shrink wrap packaging and vacuum packaging are the same, but there are some key differences of the two.
Vacuum Packaging vs. Shrink Wrap Packaging
Shrink wrap packaging and vacuum packaging both use heat to seal the open ends of the package after the product is inserted. This is one of the only common factors between the two forms of packaging.
Shrink packaging uses heat to shrink the film around the product once the open ends are sealed. Shrink packaging does not remove oxygen from the package like vacuum packaging does. In fact, shrink packaging often requires small vent holes in the shrink film to allow air to escape once heat is applied to the film. Products within a shrink wrapped package are often not completely sealed off from oxygen and other external elements.
Vacuum packaging uses an air compressor to remove air from the package and then a heat sealer is used to seal off the product from external elements. Vacuum packaging bags and tubing are often much thicker than shrink film or bags.
Vacuum packaging can also be used to add additional gasses such as nitrogen. Additional gases such as nitrogen help to equilibrate changes from the reduced oxygen content. For some products the addition of nitrogen can help prolong the life of the product.
Vacuum sealers are available to accommodate a variety of usage levels. A very popular vacuum sealer for home usage is FoodSaver Brand. All of our vacuum sealers are commercial use vacuum sealers. Each sealer is capable of packaging up to 300 packages per hour. All sealers are capable of running 24/7 for full production line capabilities.
We offer vacuum sealers with gas purge and self contained vacuum sealers. All home use vacuum sealers are self contained units that have a built in compressor. Our self contained units have a built in compressor and are made to handle commercial usage levels. Because the built in compressor is a working motor, it will commonly not last as long as the vacuum sealers with external compressors.
Gas purge is available in both the self contained vacuum sealers and vacuum sealers with external compressors. Gas purge inserts an inert gas such as nitrogen to prolong the life of the product. Click on our vacuum sealers category page to learn more.
We offer a variety of vacuum bag sizes and styles. All of our cases of vacuum bags are offered in quantities of 250-1000 bags per case. We offer different sizes and options on our vacuum bags. The proper vacuum bag for the products being wrapped is important to ensure shelf life and storage. Click on our vacuum bags category to learn more about each type of vacuum bag.
For more information on vacuum packaging, sealers, and bags, call us at 1-800-441-5090 or visit our vacuum packing 101 page
Vacuum Packaging Terms
Vacuum Packaging - A form of packaging in which air is withdrawn from the primary package. The usual objective is to remove oxygen from the package. The removal of internal oxygen is often attributed to longer shelf life.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging - A packaging method in which the atmosphere within a package has been altered from the external atmosphere. Atmospheric altering can include the removal of or introduction of a variety of atmospheric gases.
Vacuum Sealer - Often considered any machine that removes oxygen from a package while forming an air tight seal to keep air from entering the package.
Nozzle Vacuuming - A method of vacuum packaging using a nozzle with one end connected to a pump and the other inserted into a vacuum bag or pouch. The nozzle removes air and the package is quickly sealed to keep air from entering or exiting the package.
Thermoforming - A method of vacuum packaging using two rolls of film fed into a machine. The product is inserted between the top and bottom film rolls. The package is sealed and air is removed using heated preformed clamps.
Chamber Vacuuming- A popular form of vacuum packaging to package a variety of products, especially liquids. A flexible package is placed in a chamber that uses negative air pressure to remove air from the package.
Vacuum Bag - A bag with three enclosed sides used to contain products with the intention of removing some or all oxygen. Once air is removed, the bags are sealed using heat and pressure to create a barrier from external elements.
Channeled Vacuum Bags - Vacuum bags with air channels to allow air to escape from the package easier. Channeled vacuum bags are often required for use with home vacuum sealers.
Mil - A unit of measurement equal to .0010 of an inch. Mils are often used to measure the thickness of flexible packaging products.
Inert Gas - A gas often used to avoid unwanted chemical degrading in products and materials. Some examples of inert gases are: nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide.
Shelf life - The length of time a product will maintain market acceptance under specified conditions and guidelines.
Gas Flush - Often referred to as gas purge, it is the introduction of an inert gas to remove unwanted gases from the interior of the package. Gas flush is an integral part of Modified Atmosphere Packaging.
Gas Permeability - The ability for gases to penetrate or escape a certain material.
Cycle Rate - How many times a machine can cycle per minute.
Vacuum Filter - Often used in nozzle vacuum sealers to keep liquids and small particles from obstructing the vacuuming nozzle.
Vacuum regulator - A device used to precisely control the amount of air to be removed from a package during vacuum sealing.
Dual Nozzle- Two vacuuming nozzles to remove air on a nozzle vacuum sealer. Dual nozzles allow two packages to be sealed at one time.
Sealing Bar - A heated bar that closes on a package to mend two open ends together. Sealing bars are what enable an air tight seal on many vacuum packages.