How do you ensure the integrity of food and pharmaceutical packaging

The popularity of packaged foods can be put down, obviously, to convenience. They have long shelf life and are easy to purchase, carry and store.

But convenience is nothing if they are not sealed properly and their contents are allowed to spoil. So it is important that manufacturers are able to check packages to ensure their contents won’t be compromised by oxygen, moisture or biological contamination.

There are several ways to test packaging, including water immersion bubble tests and soap solution bubble tests (whereby escaping bubbles identify the locations of leaks.  

Vacuum decay testing is a standard method for non-destructive detection of leaks, in which a low pressure is created within the testing unit. The packaging to be tested is introduced into this low pressure environment and pressure changes within the testing unit reveal the presence of leaks.[1]

This method does not stress or inflate the package. Dry and suitable for use with a wide range of package shapes and sizes, it is recommended for use with food and pharmaceutical products.

Bestech offers four packaging integrity testing systems which use the vacuum decay method – the SealTick® TSE6086B, SealTick® TSE6084,  SealTick® TSE6081B and SealTick® TSE6089L.

These leak testing machines allow manufacturers to be confident about the shelf life and integrity of their products and also provide them with a system of quality traceability. What’s more, their stainless steel construction makes them ideal for use in production environments. Following testing, packages can simply be returned to their place in the packing line.

Testing with these machines is simple. The user just needs to place the item to be tested in the testing bag attached to the chamber and close the handle.

The TSE6089L, which is intended for testing larger food packages can be used with items measuring up to 700mm x 500 mm (depending on thickness), and weighing up to 20kg.

The TSE6086b, which is suitable for testing seals in not just food packaging but also for pharmaceutical packages, has a leak sensitivity of 10 micron and a short testing time of just 5-15 seconds. It can handle items up to 360mm x 300mm (depending on thickness).

There are three possible results of the packing integrity tests – pass, fine fail, and coarse fail. These results are displayed on a backlit display.

An Ethernet connection allows for the periodic upload of leak testing results for mandatory record keeping and trend identification. In addition, manufacturers can monitor the results online via web browsers.

Hence manufacturers can rest assured that their products are correctly sealed and ready to deliver fresh to consumers.

Click here to learn more about Sealtick Packaging Integrity Systems and watch videos of them in action.

[1] VTech, Leak Detection Methods:A Comparative Study of Technologies and Techniques (Short version)

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