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Flow Wrapper

 Flow Wrapper


Flow-wrapper solutions cover a wide range of product packaging applications, from confectionery, food items such as medical products. Modern packaging machines cover a diverse range of production performance needs with particular focus on increased productivity, higher accuracy and greater flexibility. As such there are a range of solutions available to match these production requirements.


Simple - Intermittent Low cycle rate solutions, often intermittent motionthat stop for seal/crimp operation
Mid range - Intermittent Servo solutions with dwell for seal / cut or rotational jaws
High-end - Continuous

Servo solutions for continuous motion process and reciprocating jaws for higher throughpu


Video: Example servo solution for 'Flow Wrapping'

This example shows how the wrapping process can be synchronized to a batch of products (e.g. confectionery) on a conveyor.

The fast latch functionality of ABB motion products is used to capture the position of the product in relation to a registration mark on the wrapping material. This 'fast latch' is triggered when the registration mark passes a registration sensor.

From this captured position the system will synchronise product, film and sealing jaws to ensue each product is wrapped and sealed with printed wrapping correctly positioned. The motion used to achieve this is electronic gearing of film and product, with the jaws of the example above controlled using CAM or sequence of FLY* segments to create synchronous lateral movement with the film. For rotational jaws speed is adapted to meet the next seal point, which is faster for short lengths and slower for long lengths.

FLY segments are a special feature of Mint controllers providing a means of creating geared segmented motion of constant acceleration. An application note covering this topic viewed here

Simpler solutions

Simpler systems can use a 'discontinuous' motion, essentially indexing film and product then sealing and cutting. This type of solutions is typically simpler, lower cost and inherently lower throughput and easily achieved with stepper drives or low power servo drives and a simple controller.

Typical technology demands include:

Film unwind and tension control Often handled by simple mechanical tension control or servo driven solutions depending on material and machine dynamics.
Product spacing / flight synchronisation In some systems this is managed by simple accumulator and release gate timed to provide required spacing. Or product phasing belts to take erratically spaced product and phase to a flighted belt system as shown here
Film forming and seam sealing Stepper or servo driven rollers draw film and seal the seam of the wrapping film, effectively creating a tube
Simple mechanical seal/crimp or complex continuous seal/crimp servo driven mechanisms Control can be simple timed pulses for pneumatic control or more complex motion control of servo driven jaws
Registration control for printed materials Fast registration inputs of our drives and controllers latch position of an axis, EVENT driven response then allows for evaluation of valid print detection, calculation of compensation required and triggering of correction motion.
Electronic gearing and software cams motion Standard motion features of our Mint controllers andAC500 PLC with PLCopen
Recipe storage for rapid reconfiguration CP600 HMI panels feature recipe storage and handling as standard
Upstream networking to factory network Ethernet controllers create the benefit of upstream factory network connectivity for production metrics or maintenance access.


Related motion features :

Homing to a Datum

Homing to a datum (which can be avoided using motors with absolute feedback reducing start-up time)

Registration Control Fast latch inputs feature on our drives and motion controllers and ensure precise crimp / seal operation, to the printed material.
Target Position Change Smooth change of target position on the fly to correct final position of the film feed and jaw motion CAM Profiling CAM motion can be used for continuous smooth motion electronically geared to material feed. CAMs can be downloaded, stored, and modified on demand.
Electronic Gearing Electronic geared motion including CAM, virtual clutch, advance / retard corrections to synchronize axes as required Flying Shear Segments FLY segments provide constant acceleration geared motion segments and can be used for crimp motion in continuous feed machines as a simpler alternative to complex CAMs

Solutions for these machine types include:

Select or browse possible solutions below for more detail:


  • Analog / Stepper
  • Ethernet motion
  • PLCopen 
    motion solution

Simple solutions can be achieved using a combination of stepper drives and / or analog controlled drives. NextMove ESB-2 can provide scalable solutions in this category with its mix of axis interfaces and features.

  • NextMove ESB-2 is capable of controlling 7 axes in total
  • Mix up to 3 x analog demand drives and 4 x stepper axes such as MicroFlex and DSM steppers
  • IO can be expanded using CANopen
  • Registration for printed material can be handled by the 4 x high speed latch inputs of the NextMove controller
  • If an upstream Ethernet connection is required for a networked machine, consider using NextMove e100 which is also capable of analog servo and stepper control.
  • MINT programs can be ported to NextMove e100 or the plug-in MINT controller for MotiFlex drives offering different hardware solutions for different machine demands.

For more information on NextMove motion products click here

Analog and stepper motion control


Application notes:

The following application notes are relevant to this application:



Vertical Form Fill Seal application note (using Mint motion control)



Over wrapper application note

Bullet AN00184 Product spacing (aligning randomly spaced products to a flighted conveyor)



Rotary cutting at synchronous speed (this principle can be used for sealing jaws)

Further application notes are available.








bulletCopley Controls
bulletFuji Electric
Tips & Trick by ABB motion
bulletFlying Shear - Vertical Knife
bulletCut to Length - Vertical Knife
bulletProduct Labeling
bulletFlow Wrapper
bulletCut to Registration - Rotary Knife
bulletOver wrapper
bulletProduct Spacing
bulletProduct Synchronisation
bulletVertical Form Fill Seal (VFFS)
Tips & Trick by Maxon

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