Flexible Packaging Spotlight: Quad Seal Pouch
You may not realize it, but you see quad seal pouches all the time, especially if you regularly buy coffee at retail.
This popular specialty packaging format is designed to stand alone unassisted and provides a crisp, modular look. With four panels that can feature graphics and information, it's a marketing department's dream. Consumers are also a fan of the quad bag for its is ease of storage and convenience features.
The Creation of a Quad Seal Pouch
Quad seal pouches are named for their 2 vertical panels and 2 gussets, which are joined together with four vertical seals. They also feature a rectangular or square bottom so they can stand unassisted.
Quad bags can be purchased premade from a film supplier for further processing on a pouch packing machine or created in-house at your business on a vertical form fill seal machine. Here's an overview of the differences between the two:
Packing premade quad seal pouches
Going the premade route means you will load the preformed quad bags into a pouch packing machine that will fill them with your product and then seal them shut. Premade quad seal bags have a premium look and are easy to process on a packing machine but can be costly if you are producing on a large scale.
Creating quad bags on a VFFS machine
To reduce costs, many larger operations choose to create, fill, and seal quad bags on a vertical form fill seal (VFFS) machine. Here's how it works:
A long, wide roll of flat packaging film, called rollstock, is loaded into the VFFS machine. That roll of film is drawn through the equipment and guided over a rectangular forming tube, creating the quad bag shape. Four vertical seals are made to give it its structured shape, a block bottom assembly creates the bottom of the bag, and a horizontal seal bar creates its bottom seal. After the bottom seal is created, your product is filled into the quad bag and the package is given its final horizontal top seal to close it up.
Using a VFFS machine to create your quad seal bags is a popular option and has particular advantages: The cost per bag is less than purchasing them premade and they often can be created at higher speeds on a VFFS machine. However, acting as your own bagmaker has its own challenges: Top among them being operators require higher technical skill to operate the equipment and there is more room for error.
Watch how quad seal pouches are created on a VFFS machine:
Strengths and Limitations of the Quad Seal Bag
This packaging format has lots of strengths that make it attractive to CPG companies, contract packagers, and consumers alike. The quad seal bag:
- Can stand erect unassisted. Unlike a standard pillow bag, the quad seal pouch is structured to stand on its own, giving it a strong shelf presence.
- Is great for heavier fills. Because of its four vertical seals, the quad seal pouch is reinforced and strong, making it ideal for bulk fills of product.
- Is a sustainable(ish) option. Because of the quad seal bag's gussets that expand in an accordion-like fashion, this package type has a lower packaging to product ratio, making it a great option for those concerned with right-sizing packaging to its contents to reduce waste.
- Provides more space for branding or information. Both the vertical panels and side gussets can be printed with messaging, information, and branding, making the quad bag a great marketing piece.
For all of its positive aspects, like any other packaging format, the quad bag also has its drawbacks. This package type:
- Costs more than some others. Quad seal pouches do cost more to produce than a less complex bag style like the pillow pouch. As such, machinery to automate the packaging of your product into quad seal bags will also cost more.
- Requires more technical expertise to create. When you choose to create quad seal bags in-house on a VFFS machine, it will require machine operators with a bit more technical expertise. Because these machines have more assemblies and moving parts, there is greater room for error.
- Can become unstable when emptied. The bottoms of quad seal bags are created with a fold-over instead of being flat. So when the package is full, it is heavy enough to flatten the bottom of the bag to make is stand effectively. But as the package is emptied, there is less weight, meaning the seal may not be as flat, causing the quad bag to tip over.
- May lay flat for heavier fills. Sometimes when producing larger, heavier quad bags, the weight distribution and design of the bag mean it must lay flat to be stable. This will limit visible panels for marketing and will take up more room on the shelf.
Trends in Packaging Applications for the Quad Seal Pouch
Sometimes run through an extra process to fold over and tape down the top of the bag, this iconic bag type is recognized as the face coffee of packaging and likely will be for many years to come.
Pet food packaging
Because of their durability and strength, quad seal bags are often used for pet food packaging (especially in bulk packs). For heavier fills, a carry handle is often added to the top of the quad bag.
Many modern pet food companies are including a matte finish on their quad bags, creating a more premium look and feel for those seeking specialty products for their pet.
Candy and snacks
Often featuring resealable options like zippers and clear panels to see package contents, quad seal pouches for snacks and candies are a popular option. When the quad bag is used in these industries, the products appeal to those seeking a premium, small-batch look.
Learn more about VFFS packaging machines for quad seal bags
Considering a vertical form fill seal machine to produce quad seal pouches of your product? First, download our free guide for 5 key questions to ask packing equipment manufacturers when shopping for this machinery: