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Compressed Air, the Holidays, and a Bowl Full of Jelly (Beans)

“Sweet tooths” emerge each year around the holidays as candies, chocolates, pies and more are shared in offices and gatherings…or indulged in when one believes they are not being observed.

Jelly beans rank highly among the iconic candies that people encounter in the holiday season. In a recent article in Packaging Digest, the complexity of a jelly bean packaging operation is explained. Compressed air plays a major role in how these sweet (or sour, or even savory) treats get to the consumer.

For the article, executive editor Lisa McTigue Pierce focuses on the advanced packaging line installed by the wonderfully-named company Jelly Belly. This highly automated line uses precision computing, conveyor belts, and a special sealing chamber to ensure that bags receive the right kind of jelly bean mixes in the right weight and with a strong, uncontaminated seal that will ensure proper shelf life longevity and safety while not altering the flavor of the beans.

Compressed air is essential to manufacturing and packaging operations like this. Compressed air plays a major role throughout automated packaging operations. It drives pneumatic conveyance systems and other affiliated air compressors in the system. In the case of Jelly Belly, the packaging line includes multiple conveyor steps that deliver bags at precise angles, manage the angle and drop of candies, transfer bags into chambers for final sealing, and drop finished bags into boxes at controlled angles and heights.

Sealing chambers in packaging plants such as Jelly Belly’s use compressed air in the control and precision of temperature regulation and physical pressure that is essential to ensuring a proper closure of the epoxy that seals the complex, multilayer films and foils used in modern packaging. (In Jelly Belly’s case, they’ve shifted from gift bag-style packaging to shinier foil packages with longer shelf stability and a see-through window for product display.)

We recommend a read of Pierce’s article about Jelly Belly’s new packaging line to learn more about just how complex these seemingly simple packages are and all the extraordinary steps that are taken to ensure safety and accuracy in product delivery.

We also welcome your questions on how compressed air testing is utilized by manufacturers and packaging operations around the world to ensure that their facilities are running on safe air (in line with FDA, SQF, OSHA, ISO and other guiding organizations) and with optimal and cost-effective energy efficiency.


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