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BS EN 415 Part 3: Form, fill and seal machines


Main types of FFS machine including:

  • flowrappers
  • vertical FFS machines
  • thermoform, FFS machines
  • sachet FFS machines

Cartoning machines including:

  • horizontal end-load cartoners
  • vertical cartoners
  • bag-in-box cartoning machines

Liquid carton FFS machines

  • Tetra Brik
  • Pure Pack

Filling machines used on FFS machines:

  • nett weighers
  • multi-head weighers
  • cup fillers
  • auger fillers
  • volumetric piston fillers

Current status (at January 2010)

Published by CEN: 1999

Published by BSI: 2000

Reviewed: 2008 technical requirements confirmed as still correct. Decision to revise delayed until 2020.

Amended: 2009 to include Annex ZB which confirms that this Standard gives a presumption of conformity to the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC as well as 98/37/EC.


The term “form, fill and seal machine” is used to describe a wide range of machines with quite different mechanisms and hazards, so Clause 3 defines the main types of FFS machine and illustrates their method of operation using isometric drawings. This is so users of the Standard can be sure which type of FFS machine they are considering and the specific requirements for that machine.

Clause 3 also defines the typical terminology for form fill and seal machines like film reel, film web, flat bag width, magazine, longitudinal and transverse seals.

Injuries caused by FFS machines

Clause 4 of the Standard identifies the injuries that can be caused by each type of FFS machine.

In the UK there have been a significant number of injuries caused by thermoform fill and seal machines. Around 50% of these injuries are caused by failures in guarding the two main hazard areas:

The major causative factors are:

Safety principles established by this Standard

Safety by design on reel unwind mechanisms

The Standard recognizes that on most FFS machines it is possible to design the reel unwind mechanism so that it is safe by design and so does not need to be enclosed within interlocked guards. Various techniques for ensuring safety by design are illustrated in Clause and

Thermo form fill and seal machines

Clause 5.7 describes seven methods of guarding the forming dies and cutters on hand fed thermoform fill and seal machines.

Infeed and discharge openings

Prior to the publication of this standard, reaching into a FFS machine through an infeed or discharge opening was a significant cause of injury. EN 415-3 sets out the principle that there should be at least a 850mm safety distance from an infeed or discharge opening to the nearest danger zone and where the smallest dimension of the opening is greater than 120mm, that a “do not reach in” pictogram must be positioned by the opening.

Bag and blank magazines

EN 415-3 establishes the principle that carton blanks or pre-made bags in a magazine can be considered as part of the guarding provided there is a device to stop the machine before the last few cartons or bags are taken from the magazine, exposing the danger zone.

Effects of the Standard

The most visible effect of this Standard has been the increased length of tunnel guards fitted to all types of FFS machine, supplied after 2000 to provide the required 850mm safety distance to the nearest danger zone.

The Standard has also had a significant impact on the design of new hand-fed thermoform fill and seal machines and the use of certain types of so called “short–bed” thermoform fill and seal machines which have been withdrawn from use following the publication of this Standard in the UK and some other EU countries.

Purchasing the Standard

EN 415-3 can be purchased as BS EN 415-3: 2000 + A1: 2009 from BSI Standards.

Updated 2019-05-10