Oliso has a proprietary technology to vacuum seal foods. It does this by using an airtight zippered bag in conjunction with a pretty neat and compact punch and seal mechanism. The first iteration of this system was a compact and low priced clamshell machine. It had a plastic puncture tip to poke a hole in the plastic bag, and an oval shaped silicone piece that provided an air-seal so a vacuum could be pulled. Once it reached a certain pressure, the heat seal would turn on, creating a circular seal around the punch. It retailed for about $80.
The issue with this design was the the user would accidentally let go of the top clamshell piece, which would poke a small hole in the bag. The user wouldn't notice the hole, which meant they could never get a proper seal when they tried again.
This led to a fully automatic design that used a series of cams to run through each stage of the process:
Insert bag up to line, which flips a switch. Bag gets clamped in place.
Sharp razor punches hole in bag and air is evacuated.
Proper vacuum pressure is reached and heat seal turns on.
Bag is released.
This new system worked well (about 98% of the time), but was very loud and nearly double the price of the previous model ( $150)
My goal was to come up with a few mechanical concepts for a cheaper version that was also user friendly. It would use a quieter vacuum pump and a ceramic heat seal, which had a longer life than the filament used in the previous heat sealers.
Instead of using a complex set of cams, I wanted to use either a solenoid or a linear actuator.
Initial cardboard mock-ups
Videos of rough prototypes for new vacuum sealer mechanism.
I 3D printed a couple of molds to make new silicone sealers. The pink one also housed the ceramic heat seal.