Testing the integrity of package seals helps ensure that nutritional packaging provides required product protection. Maintaining the reliability of package seals is critical for product quality and food safety. Airborne Ultrasound and Vacuum Decay technology can be used for testing package and seal integrity of nutritional packages. These CCI technologies produce quantitative, and repeatable results, due to their deterministic nature. The primary purpose of implementing these testing methods is to ensure the safety of consumers.
Overview of Nutritional Packaging Inspection
Nutritional packaging plays a significant role in securely delivering the product. The majority of nutritional products are shelf-stable in nature, therefore package performance is typically a concern. Chemical reactions occur naturally in all nutritional products. Any break in the nutritional packing might lead to the products deteriorating due to air, moisture, and microbial exposure. Fats and other nutrients for infants might become rancid and inactive. The quality and safety of the contents that reach the customer are determined by nutritional packaging.
Package and seal integrity techniques have great expertise in the packaging industry, which helps in inspecting nutritional packages in the most efficient method in order to preserve package and product quality. For the food and nutritional packaging industries, CCIT provides a variety of technologies and solutions. The two most common nutritional package inspection technologies are vacuum decay and airborne ultrasound. While vacuum decay is utilized for applications such as filled and sealed rigid containers, dry products in pouches, and flexible packaging. Retort pouch final seal inspection can be achieved using non-destructive with airborne ultrasound technology.
Technologies to Assure Package and Seal Integrity
Vacuum Decay Technology
Vacuum decay is a package test method for vacuum-based leak detection. It is considered one of the most practical and sensitive test methods used in nutritional package inspection. When compared to destructive test procedures, this technology not only provides for a better understanding of package quality but also minimizes waste. As a result of the waste reduction, the return on investment is higher, and the operation is closer to green initiatives.
The Vacuum Decay leak testing method operates by enclosing package samples in an evacuation test chamber with an external vacuum source. The test chamber is monitored for both the level of vacuum and the change in vacuum during a pre-defined test duration using single or dual vacuum transducer technology. The existence of leaks and defects within the package is indicated by variations in an absolute and differential vacuum. Test systems can be designed to be operated manually or fully automated.
Airborne Ultrasound Technology
Pouches are the common form of packaging for most nutritional products. Hence, it is necessary to ensure the package integrity of such pouches. Airborne Ultrasound is a non-destructive and non-invasive method of inspecting seal quality. In this method, ultrasound waves are permitted to pass through the package seal, causing sound waves to be reflected. The fluctuation in the reflected signal intensity is used to detect defects.
Airborne Ultrasound technology is available in both online and offline solution options. It has been proven to be one of the most successful non-destructive testing procedures for flexible package seals. According to ASTM F3004-13, this is the standard test technique for evaluating seal quality and integrity using airborne ultrasound. This method has high applicability in the food and nutrition industry.
Vacuum Decay technology and Airborne Ultrasound technology are both ASTM test methods and also FDA consensus standards for package integrity and seal quality inspection of nutritional products. An appropriate testing method for inspecting nutritional packages is selected based on the nature of the product and its package.