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May 2024

An Overview of Flexible Package Inspection Techniques

An Overview of Flexible Package Inspection Techniques

The rise of flexible packaging has revolutionized various industries, offering lightweight, efficient, and versatile solutions. The global demand for flexible packaging is projected to continue its upward trajectory, driven by several factors. These include cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and versatility. Compared to rigid alternatives, flexible packaging offers significant cost advantages in terms of materials, transportation, and storage. Advancements in material science are leading to the development of eco-friendly flexible packaging solutions, catering to the growing demand for sustainable practices. Additionally, flexible packaging offers exceptional design flexibility, allowing for unique shapes, sizes, and printing options to enhance product branding and consumer appeal.

Despite these advantages, ensuring the integrity of these non-rigid packages presents certain challenges. The materials used in flexible packaging can be susceptible to puncture and tear, permeability, and microbial growth. Puncture and tear can occur during transportation, handling, or external pressure. Imperfections in seals or the material itself can allow the ingress of gases, moisture, and other contaminants, potentially impacting product quality and safety. If not properly protected, flexible packaging can create micro-environments conducive to microbial growth, posing a risk to perishable goods.

The pharmaceutical industry has increasingly embraced flexible packaging for various applications, including blister packs, pouches, and sachets. However, due to the critical nature of pharmaceutical products, ensuring package integrity is paramount to maintain sterility, efficacy, and safety.

To address the challenges and ensure the integrity of flexible packaging, various container closure integrity testing techniques are employed. These tests evaluate different aspects of the package, including seal strength, puncture resistance, permeability, and microbial barrier properties. Seal strength measures the ability of the seals to withstand pressure and prevent leaks. Puncture resistance assesses the package's ability to resist punctures from sharp objects. Permeability evaluates the rate at which gases, moisture, and other elements can permeate the packaging material. Microbial barrier properties test the package's resistance to microbial ingress.

VeriPac Flex Series for Flexible Package Integrity Testing

VeriPac Flex Systems offer flexible package testing using non-destructive methods based on ASTM standards. These systems, recognized by the FDA, are designed specifically for dry filled pouches and other flexible packaging. They provide high sensitivity and reliability without the need for settings or tooling changes, accommodating various package sizes and formats. Unlike methods like Water Bath and Dye Ingress, VeriPac systems offer objective results, reducing waste and providing quantitative data for leak detection. They give a clear PASS or FAIL result along with leak rate information, helping improve packaging processes.

Technology Overview

The VeriPac tester is connected to a FLEX chamber suitable for package size. Options like the integrated flexible test chamber (IFC) or drawer Style test chamber (D-Series) offer varied leak detection capabilities. The IFC suits sachets or stick packs with low headspace, while the D-Series is for large packages and bulk products. The VeriPac FLEX system uses a flexible membrane to test packages, preventing damage to the film. It's user-friendly, allowing multiple packages to be tested in one cycle.

Benefits of VeriPac Flex System

  • Deterministic, non-destructive, non-invasive, non-subjective
  • Vacuum Decay PERMA-Vac Technology
  • ASTM Test Method F2338 and FDA Consensus Standard
  • Non-destructive alternative to water bath leak test and other destructive test methods
  • Testing is non-destructive allowing for increased sampling and testing frequency
  • Capability to test different size pouches, stick packs or sachets without any changeover in parts or system settings.
  • Deterministic, quantitative test method
  • Non-destructive, non-subjective, no sample preparation
  • Test multiple packages in a single test cycle
  • Supports sustainable packaging and zero waste initiatives
  • Simplifies the inspection and validation process
  • Accurate and repeatable results
container closure integrity testing, container closure integrity, flexible package testing
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