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How Much Does A Food Packaging Machine Cost?
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By: Nathan Dube on October 1st, 2020

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How Much Does A Food Packaging Machine Cost?

Equipment  |  Investment  |  Packaging Design  |  Food Packaging

Many food producers are looking for ways to package their food products for various applications such as frozen food, grab-n-go, and pre-made meals. The demand for these types of packaging had been growing steadily for a while. However, with the arrival of COVID19, the market has only skyrocketed.

 

This is because many supermarkets, restaurants, country stores, and other producers and sellers of food products are offering more and more pre-packaged foods.

 

If you have been to the supermarket recently, chances are you have seen a few changes to staples of the shopping experience. For example, most serve-yourself salad bars are no longer "serve yourself". In their place, you will find pre-packaged salads in plastic containers.

 

More and more single items of produce are being shrink-wrapped to prevent the virus from touching the food inside. Many food sellers are now shifting to selling pre-made meals that are then frozen or packaged in film-covered trays.

 

People like you are turning to the idea of purchasing food packaging machinery and packaging their food items themselves, rather than outsourcing the process to contract packaging companies who will do the work for them. This allows you to fully control the process, machinery, materials and every other aspect of the food packaging process. It also allows you to personally ensure the safety of the food items you are selling to your clients.

 

But how much does a food packaging machine cost? What are the different kinds of food packaging machines available? Which one should you buy? Does it make sense for your business?


If you are like many other companies, you have a ton of questions. With decades in the food packaging industry, we have been able to help large food manufacturing companies package their food items. As such, we are able to help you choose the right equipment for your food packaging needs and answer any questions that you may have.

 

We’re here to help you understand just how much of an investment you’d need to make to start packaging your own food. This article will detail the price, functionality, proper applications, and other valuable information to help you decide if a food packaging machine is right for you.

 

What Affects The Cost Of A Food Packaging Machine?

 

When looking to price a food packaging machine, You may experience sticker shock. There are a few items you will need to consider when taking the price of these machines into consideration. Here are the items that will affect the cost of your chosen equipment.


  • Functionality - A food packaging machine could cost you anywhere between $10,900 - $65,000. The functionality of each machine has a big effect on the cost of the equipment. The price of your machine is going to be based upon the equipment's capabilities, factoring in things like  speed, the hourly volume of packages produced, and whether the machine is a manual or automatic model.
  • Mechanical Components - Manual models will have less moving parts, internal computer-controlled motors and other more complicated components. As such, automatic models that can be programmed and run automatically via the control panel will cost more than the manual models available.
  • Capabilities - Depending on the model you choose and the machine's capabilities, you will have to consider your cost of materials. Entry-level machines are going to package less volume and use less materials daily versus a high-end automatic machine. While a high-end automatic model will cost a lot more upfront, running higher amounts of materials will help you cut costs as you will generally get discounts on materials orders for larger volumes of product purchased. In this respect, your total cost of ownership over time will be less for more expensive higher-end models.
  • Labor - While you may be able to spend less on an entry-level manual machine, you will also be required to pay a human operator for the daily operation of the device. Depending on the volume of products you are packaging regularly, buying a more expensive fully automatic model and running without the required man-hours may save you money in the long run.

Cost Of Food Packaging Machines

 

In this section, we are going to review one device from each level of food packaging machine that we currently offer. We will provide information on the expected monthly volume of each machine so you can figure out which machine is right for the amount of food that you will be packaging. We will also provide an example of the type of application each machine is a good fit for.

 

Each section will give you a price for the machine and provide a ball-park range for each tier of machinery. If you do not see a model in the following section that is quite right for your needs, please reach out to one of our packaging experts for a full list of all available makes and models.

 

They will be able to assist you in choosing the right food packaging machine for your specific budget, financing capabilities, the daily volume of packages and etc.

 


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Food Packaging Machine Pricing

 

 

MSTS 1012 starting at $10,900 and up

 

This model is an entry-level manual shuttle film to tray food packaging machine. These machines are a good fit for people doing packaging for pre-packaged foods such as "to-go" meals, prepared foods, "grab-n-go" and various other similar applications.

 

The MSTS Series is ideal for low to medium production (1-4 cycles per minute). This series of machines can adapt to seal a wide range of product tray sizes by merely changing the tooling (certain parts of the machine).

 

The MSTS Series machines trim the film to the profile of the tray and automatically rewind the scrap web. The MSTS Series sealers will provide years of dependable performance with a minimum of maintenance.


For machines capable of higher production rates, consider Starview's MRTS, RTS, and AITS Series machines. Where modified atmosphere packaging for extended shelf life is needed, consider any of the machines with MAP capability.

 

  • A wide range of standard and custom features available to match customer requirements. Uses quick-change anodized aluminum tooling.
  • Models available with and without modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) capability.
  • Convenient touch panel controls for operator convenience, accessibility, and process repeatability.
  • Automatic film feed, seal & trim, and scrap rewind for clear or random print film. Registered print film feed optional.
  • Stainless steel washdown construction to allow cleaning in a food handling environment. Industry-leading design, construction, features, and customer support.

 

 

MRTS 1418 starting at $19,900 and up

 

Starview's MRTS Series is best for people who are doing catering or packaging food for grocery stores or delicatessens. Generally speaking, the machine works best for trays of food being packaged with clear film tops.

 

 

The MRTS Series is an excellent choice for medium production (1-6 cycles per minute). This series of machines can package multiple tray sizes based upon your specific requirements. The MRTS Series machines trims your film while also offering automatic scrap web rewinding.

 

The MRTS Series sealers will provide long term food packaging abilities with low maintenance requirements. For machines capable of higher production rates, consider Starview's AITS or RTS4 Series machines.

 

  • A wide range of standard and custom features available to match customer requirements. Uses quick-change anodized aluminum tooling.
  • Efficient two-station design makes the MRTS Series ideal for medium volume production and work-cell manufacturing. Allows operators to load and unload trays in one station while the second station is being sealed, vacuum pulled, and gassed (if MAP) and trimmed.
  • Color touch screen HMI for the ultimate in operator convenience, accessibility, and process repeatability.
  • Automatic film feed, seal & trim, and scrap rewind for clear or random print film. Registered print film feed optional.
  • Stainless steel washdown construction to allow cleaning in a food handling environment. Industry-leading design, construction, features, and customer support.

 

 

AITS 1215 starting at $35,500 and up

 

Starview's AITS Series is designed for the same applications as the other machines previously mentioned, but at higher volumes.



The standard AITS Series machines will produce only sealed packages without a modified atmosphere. The AITS Series is the appropriate choice for medium production applications (1-15 cycles per minute). This series of machines is able to quickly seal various different sizes of trays.

 

 

  • A wide range of standard and automation features including fillers, date and lot code printing, etc. available to match customer requirements.
  • Single, double, and triple inline sealing presses available to increase the machine throughput while minimizing the floor space required for the additional production.
  • Automatic tray conveyor system and optional tray feeder to reduce labor and increase machine production rates.
  • Uses quick-change anodized aluminum tooling.
  • Models available with and without modified atmosphere protection (MAP) capability.
  • Convenient touch panel controls for operator convenience, accessibility, and process repeatability.
  • Automatic film feed, seal & trim, and scrap rewind for clear or random print film. Registered print film feed optional.
  • Stainless steel washdown construction to allow cleaning in a food handling environment. Industry-leading design, construction, features, and customer support.

 

 

RTS4/MAP-1015 starting at $49,900 and up

 

Starview's RTS/MAP Series machine is a perfect fit for foods that require modified atmosphere packaging such as beef, chicken, pork, fish and produce.

 

 

The RTS/MAP Series provides a modified atmosphere in the package before sealing. The RTS/MAP Series is a very good option for businesses who need to implement medium to high productions (1-15 cycles per minute without MAP, 1-8 cycles per minute with MAP).

 

  • AC Variable frequency precision cam index rotary table drive for smooth table operation and position repeatability.
  • Standard finished package unloader increases the machine versatility and lowers labor costs.
  • Uses quick-change anodized aluminum tooling.
  • Includes modified atmosphere protection (MAP) capability with 3-sizes of vacuum pumps.
  • Convenient touch screen controls for operator convenience, accessibility, and process repeatability.
  • A Starview exclusive remote access via standard Ethernet hardwire or optional Wi-Fi router gives management access to real-time process information from the machine.
  • Automatic film feed, seal & trim, and scrap rewind for clear or random print film. Registered print film feed optional.
  • Stainless steel washdown construction to allow cleaning in a food handling environment. Industry-leading design, construction, features, and customer support.

 

 

RBF6-1520 starting at $45,000 and up AND

RBFA6-1520 starting at $65,000 and up

 

Starview's RBF & RBFA Series rotary type machines are designed for medium to higher volume production requirements (1-18 cycles per minute). These machines are good for the same types of applications mentioned for the previous models (excluding MAP applications), but for higher monthly volumes of food packaging.

 

The RBF & RBFA Series units are available in six station designs with a standard sealing area of 15 x 20 inches. Other sealing areas are available on request.


The standard RBF Series machines have one sealing station with the remaining 5-stations used for tray loading and unloading. The RBFA Series machines feature one sealing station, one lid feeding station, and one finished package unloading station with the remaining three-stations used for tray loading.

 

  • AC Variable frequency precision cam index rotary table drive for smooth table operation and position repeatability. 
  • Standard Lid feeder and finished package unloader on RBFA models and optional finished package unloader on RBF models increase the machine versatility and lower labor costs.
  • Uses quick-change anodized aluminum tooling.
  • Convenient touch screen controls for operator convenience, accessibility, and process repeatability.
  • A Starview exclusive remote access via standard Ethernet hardwire or optional Wi-Fi router gives management access to real-time process information from the machine.
  • Starview's exclusive selectable sealing station program allows the use of one (1) through six (6) sealing fixtures with operator selected start position from HMI.
  • Stainless steel washdown construction to allow cleaning in a food handling environment. Industry-leading design, construction, features, and customer support.

Where To Buy Your Food Packaging Machinery

 

Once you have chosen a make and model of food packaging machinery, you will want to purchase the machinery from a seller of one sort or another. Here are your options.

 

Your Current Vendor

 

 

If you already have a vendor from which you buy your packaging machinery and materials, they would be your best bet. You already have a relationship with them and likely trust them on your packaging line.

 

 

Packaging Distributors

 

 

Industrial Packaging is a packaging distributor. Companies leverage our expertise to guide them in choosing the correct equipment for their application.

 

Pretty much all packaging distributors are not tied to any brand in particular. This results in them selling different brands of machinery, materials, and supplies. This makes packaging distributors an excellent choice for buying a food packaging machine.

 

 

Packaging distributors are highly-trained professionals on multiple different brands of machinery, materials, and supplies for your packaging line.

 

 

Manufacturers

 

 

Another option for buying a food packaging machine is using a manufacturer (OEM). Manufacturers always have reps who are thought leaders on the equipment they produce and sell.

 

 

Generally speaking, a manufacturer will have the best reps to discuss their brand of equipment and materials. This is primarily because they exclusively work with their own brand's products.

 

 

Packaging Integrators

 

 

Packaging integrators are ultra-specialized vendors that help their clients design, build, optimize, and run super high-end packaging lines. Most of the time, they are working in tandem with multiple manufacturers and distributors to provide the absolute best for their clients.

 

 

Using a packaging integrator to buy a food packaging machine may make sense for you if you are already using one for other elements of your business.

 

 

If you are unsure of whom you would like to purchase your food packaging machines from, consider reaching out to one of our packaging specialists. They will help you choose the appropriate vendor and the correct machine for your needs, even if you do not end up buying from us.

 

 

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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.