Leak detectors for flexible food packaging

DSC04726 300dpix15cmW

Contamination accounts for a large portion of recalls in the food processing industry and can lead to high costs and even legal ramifications. Bestech has come up with a simple solution to put your mind to rest.

Food processors are constantly looking to increase productivity – however, responsibility for product integrity doesn’t leave their remit when their packaged goods are shipped around the world for consumption.

On the contrary, businesses are fast adapting to strict standards for health, safety and quality right along the supply chain; from the farm where their ingredients are grown through to the factory floor where they are packaged.

Acting on issues of food waste, engineers at Bestech Australia – which specialises in sensors and instrumentation  – have come up with a new device that ensures packaged foods are sealed properly, increasing their shelf life and saving costs.

Sealtick offers a range of leak detectors to check the integrity of flexible packages like biscuits, chips, coffee and milk powder.

A small problem with package sealing on a production line can lead to extensive food wastage if the problem isn’t detected soon enough.

According to statistics released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, food products such as wheat and beef are among some of highest exports in the agriculture sector.

Amid a market tipped to pass $60 billion, a significant number of food products are manufactured and shipped every day.

In Australia, food contamination is one of the main causes for product recalls while microbial exposure is often the culprit for a spoiled product.

Down the line, recalls can affect businesses in many ways; the most worrisome include legal action, while grounds to halt production and a tarnished reputation can also give manufacturers sleepless nights.

Advances in food processing and food packaging play an important role in ensuring manufactured goods are safe for consumption – meaning that both the food’s production and packaging go hand in hand.

“A small, hard-to-detect leakage can lead to a significantly reduced shelf life, and often spoilt product which could be soggy or moldy,” said Samson Sim, Bestech marketing engineer.

“This could bring a bad name to the brand. Leak testing the product ensures that it is fresh when it reaches the consumer.”

All food that is produced – after a sealing problem occurs right up until the time it is discovered – will have to be thrown away.

Traditional testing methods for leakage involve dunking the package in water. However this wet packet, even though good, has to be thrown out.

Sealtick uses a non-destructive dry test for package leak integrity. Therefore, the tested good product can go back on the production line after the test.

The savings in cost that this solution can create could potentially pay for the machine in the space of a few weeks.

“A good brand is associated with good product quality and attractive packaging,” Sim said. “This packaging has to effectively seal and protect the contents inside to ensure a good customer experience.

TSE6086b_close

“Sealtick offers very fast testing, taking only about 15 seconds for a test. This allows regular integrity testing so the staff can push the boundaries of production speed while maintaining high seal quality and avoid costly wastage.”

Food packaging reduces the risk of product deterioration, maintaining food quality while extending shelf life.

Deterioration to foods can happen three different ways, whether that is chemically, biologically or physically.

Chemical deterioration is caused by exposure to oxygen, moisture or light, which can cause compositional changes.

Biological deterioration includes exposure to micro-organisms, insects, rodents and other pests, which cause disease and can spoil the product.

Packaging also provides physical protection that shields food from direct contact. This can damage the product – which is why seal checks such as Bestech’s latest technology are worth the investment.

The companies that are using Sealtick for package leak testing have a consistently good product going out the factory, according to Bestech, who claim to have set a new benchmark in leak testing of food products.

The test is fast – around 10 to 15 seconds – and, while contaminant free, there is no water involved and is extremely sensitive; it can detect holes as small as 10 microns.

“We are always looking for a longer shelf life for our food products and the market is growing fast,” Sim added.