Chamber Vacuum Sealer

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Chamber Vacuum Sealer

Postby JerBear » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:04 am

I'm stepping up my operation and am looking to purchase a chamber sealer and have a couple questions. First off, I'm leaning towards a smaller chamber sealer and some of the makers have ones with dual sealer bars. My first thought was that it would be a time saver by being able to do two bags at once while also making the machine work a little less per cycle. I was planning on 1 lb packages but I'm a little concerned about being able to fit two bags in the chamber at once.

Second question, for a small additional fee some of the chambers can gas purge and I've heard that doing a nitrogen purge keeps the meat pinker by reducing oxidation. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this?
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Postby Oddwookiee » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:41 pm

I have 3 commercial sealers here and I am absolutely tickled pink with them. They are one of the top investments we've made, have been an incredible benefit to the business, and paid for themselves within a couple years.

Get the biggest you can afford and have the space for, and then go just a hair bigger. In this case, bigger is absolutely better. We started smaller they we should have and quickly upgraded to a 2-bar 22" machine and later a bigger 2-bar 26" machine. I can't strongly enough recommend 2 burn bars if you plan on doing any kind of production. I'm really small potatoes and during hunting season I still run 2,000+ lb of sausage a week through the bigger machine. I can't imagine the bottleneck a single bar would create.

Also, one thing we didn't think about is lid shape. The machine we have in our lobby has a clear lid with a flattened dome shape to it, with a flat area about 2" wide right behind the bar. It works great for things that aren't much above the level of the burn bar, but as soon as something stands up higher (like a 2 1/2" summer sausage casing) is pushes the product back away from the bar and leaves more excess plastic on the outboard end of the bag than I like.

Another thing- make sure you have 2 burn lines per bar. Each bar should have 2 heating elements to it, one for sealing and one for cutting off the excess bag. I had my guy readjust the second element to do a double seal. I'd rather have a more certain seal and spend a half-second with scissors trimming the bag then have to waste the time of re-bagging something.

Nitrogen injection.....eh, personal preference. None of my machines have it and I haven't seen any difference at all. Anaerobic environment is anaerobic environment. I don't ship, sell everything in-house or at a farmer's market and oxidation hasn't been a problem in 24 years. We vacuum seal all the fresh meat in the fresh case and it gets a little darker, but maybe one in 50 (or more) customers asks why the meat is darker then the stuff at the grocery store. For cured products, the color never changes, unless it's a response to light through the clear vacuum bag over the course of a couple months of an item sitting in the coffin cases.
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Postby JerBear » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:32 pm

Thanks for the quick response Oddwookie. At this point budget is dictating size so we're going to get as big as we can and deal with it at this point. We're nowhere close to 1000 lb weeks (less than a 10% of that). If you don't mind saying, which manufacturers did you end up with and have you had any issues? We're deciding between the ARY 215C with single seal bar or the DMC 260PD-2B with the double seal bars.
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Postby Oddwookiee » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:53 pm

The two bigger machines are Southern Pride, the smaller clear-lid one is Vacmaster. All of them have performed very well, with the same heavy-use problems- one blew the control board after 15 years of use and it was a couple hundred to find a new one as they were out of production. All 3 have used up the small hydraulic pistons that raise the lid up at end of cycle. The effective weight they have to lift is tremendous, so they're a spendy little bugger, around $350 for a set of 2. To be honest, you can get by without them. For a long time once a vacuum cycle had finished we'd open the lid by hand and (on the smaller machine) stick a roll of masking tape in the angle of the hinge to hold it open or (on the bigger) prop the lid up with a long piece of 1" wooden dowel. The pistons usually last 3 or 4 years of heavy use, so your mileage may vary.

Other then that, they've all performed well with regular oil & oil filter changes and air filter changes.
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Postby RodinBangkok » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:46 pm

You might also consider nozzle type. I'm not sure how prevalent these are in the states, but they work really well and are much faster and more flexible than chamber type. Faster because you are only pulling vacuum on the bag itself, not the chamber. Also you get time to adjust move and play with the product before sealing, and you can tilt the unit and easily use it for liquid type items that is very difficult to do in a chamber type unit. Your not really limited by size, just the width of the heater element. If you choose to use roll type tube bag material, then you can vary the length of the pack very easily. Great for slab type products.

I've used chamber type for a long time, but we had a situation where we needed to pack some big items, and I've found that the nozzle type are very flexible, and would not buy another chamber after having a nozzle type.

Obviously make sure you pick one from a company that can get spare parts, in these days of the internet there are a lot of people selling cheap stuff with no support or spare parts stock.
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Links to a nozzle type

Postby EdwinT » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:18 am

Hi,

Sorry to butt in, but I am very interested in this chat and was hoping RodinBangkok would be so kind as to post a link to an example of a nozzle type sealer :-)
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Postby BriCan » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:23 am

Be very wary of the nozzle type sealer's as they take a different type of bag

Trade name in 1971 was Cry-O-Vac, I worked for a business that tested them for the commercial trade as the big guys did not think it would fly :shock:
But what do I know
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Postby RodinBangkok » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:19 pm

Here's the company for the one we use, not sure why someone would think they take special bags, the only difference is the vacuum is pulled via a nozzle within the sealing bars directly into the bag, while chamber type enclose the entire bag and pull a vacuum on the whole chamber volume along with the product volume in the bag. You may need to use heavier bags for bigger products, but thats only a time setting on the heat bars. We can use this unit with very thin pp bags that do not require vacuum, simply set the unit to not pull a vacuum and seal the bag, very flexible.

http://www.airzero.co.kr/php/board.php? ... 6wodqj8A4w
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Postby Oddwookiee » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:27 pm

I can't get that link to work. :(
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Postby RodinBangkok » Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:51 pm

try a google for airzero, its a Korean company. I tested the link and works for me so don't know what else to say.
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