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18
Oct 2023

Helium Leak Detection for Blister Package Leak Testing

Helium Leak Detection for Blister Package Leak Testing

Blister packaging has gained widespread popularity as a versatile and efficient method for packaging various products, particularly in industries like pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and food. This packaging solution typically involves the creation of a plastic cavity or blister that is custom designed to securely hold and protect the product it contains. The design of the blister can vary significantly, accommodating a wide range of product shapes and sizes, making it a versatile option for manufacturers. It ensures that the product remains visible to consumers, allowing for easy identification and branding, which is especially crucial in retail settings.

To ensure the product's integrity and longevity, blister packaging is typically sealed with materials like aluminum foil or plastic film. This sealing process not only provides a protective barrier against external factors such as moisture, light, and contaminants but also enhances the product's shelf life. In the pharmaceutical industry, blister packaging is widely used to provide precise dosages of medications and to maintain their stability and sterility. In the food industry, it is often employed to preserve the freshness of perishable items and prevent tampering or contamination. Overall, blister packaging offers a combination of product visibility, protection, and convenience, making it an indispensable choice for many manufacturers looking to meet both functional and marketing requirements.

However, the significance of maintaining the integrity of blister packaging cannot be overlooked, as it plays a pivotal role in avoiding contamination, preserving product freshness, and extending shelf life. One highly effective method employed for assessing blister package integrity is helium leak detection, a process that relies on the unique properties of helium as a tracer gas.

Blister Package Integrity Testing using Helium Leak Detection.

Helium leak detection is a Container Closure Integrity Test (CCIT) that is used to identify leaks in blister packages. The test works by introducing helium gas into the blister package and then measuring the amount of helium that escapes. If there is a leak in the package, helium will escape, and the leak detector will produce a signal.

To test a blister package for leaks using (helium leak detection), the package is first placed in a test chamber. The test chamber is then evacuated, and helium gas is introduced into the package. The package is then held under vacuum for a period of time. After the holding time has elapsed, the test chamber is vented, and the leak detector is used to measure the amount of helium that has escaped from the package. If the amount of helium that has escaped from the package is above a certain threshold, the package is considered defective. Defective packages are rejected and not shipped to customers.

Why is Helium used as a Tracer Gas?

  • It is the smallest and lightest gas, so it can easily escape through even the smallest leaks.
  • It is inert, meaning that it does not react with other substances.
  • It is non-toxic and non-flammable.
  • It is abundant and relatively inexpensive.

Helium leak detection is a highly sensitive and reliable method for testing the integrity of blister packages. It is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that blister packs are leak-proof and protect the contents from moisture, oxygen, and other contaminants.

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helium leak detection, blister package leak testing, helium leak testing, cci, container closure integrity test, ccit
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15
Sep 2023

CCI Techniques to Evaluate Combination Products

CCI Techniques to Evaluate Combination Products

Combination products are medical devices that combine two or more different types of medical products (e.g., a drug-device combination or a biologic-device combination) into a single entity. These products present unique challenges in terms of design, development, and regulatory approval due to the integration of different technologies and functionalities. Therefore, it is crucial to use appropriate techniques to evaluate combination product’s safety, efficacy, and overall performance.

The FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) developed the "Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff - Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the Application of Nanotechnology" to help manufacturers evaluate combination products containing nanomaterials. While this guidance specifically addresses nanotechnology, many of the concepts and principles apply more broadly to evaluating combination products.

What are the three main categories of combination products?

Combination products are categorized into three main types based on their primary mode of action.

1.Drug-Device Combination Products: These products combine a drug and a medical device into one single entity. The drug and device components work together to achieve the intended therapeutic effect. An example of this type of combination product is an auto-injector that contains a drug and a delivery device.

2. Biologic-Device Combination Products:These products combine a biological product (such as a vaccine, cellular therapy, or tissue product) with a medical device. The device is integral to the administration or use of the biological product. An example of this type of combination product is a pre-filled syringe containing a biological medication.

3. Drug-Biologic Combination Products: These products combine a drug and a biological product. This category is less common than the others, but it involves combining a drug with a biologically sourced material. An example of this type of combination product is a drug formulated with a growth factor derived from human tissues.

Combination Products Quality Control Techniques

Microcurrent HVLD technology

MicroCurrent High Voltage Leak Detection (HVLD mc) is a non-destructive container closure integrity testing method that has been proven to be significantly more effective in identifying leaks in various types of parenteral and pharmaceutical applications. It may be used to check for leaks in nonporous, rigid, or flexible packaging as well as packaging that contains liquids. Tests for high voltage leak detection are carried out using electrical conductivity and resistance theories. This method operates by transmitting high voltage, low current impulses through sample packages. When there is a leak, the electrical resistance of the sample falls, causing an increase in current. HVLD technology depends on the "flow" of current, compared to conventional leak detection methods that depend on the movement of gas or liquid.

MicroCurrent HVLD Applications

  • Vials
  • Ampoules
  • Cartridges
  • Pre-filled Syringes
  • BFS

Helium Leak testing

Helium leak detection is a method for finding leaks in a variety of sealed or enclosed systems by utilizing helium as a "tracer" gas. It is a CCI technique used to evaluate the integrity of critical injectable or parenteral products. Since helium is non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-condensable, helium gas is a great option for tracer gas. Helium is present in the atmosphere in amounts of little more than 5 ppm, making minor leaks easy to pass through. Helium is also more readily available and less expensive than other tracer gases, available in a variety of cylinder sizes. The test is performed by attaching the test component to the leak detector, which is then filled with helium gas. Helium escapes from the test components when there is a leak, and this partial pressure is measured, with the results shown on the meter.

Benefits of Helium Leak Testing

  • Practical and sensitive flow-based leak test method,
  • Enables the discovery of extremely small microleaks.
  • Detects leaks with sensitivity level as low as 1x10-10 mbar L/sec.
  • Helium is a non-explosive, non-toxic and non-destructive tracer gas.
  • Applicable across package design, failure analysis, packaging line setup and validation.
  • A faster test cycle reduces cost and total processing time.

The specific techniques and requirements for evaluating combination products may vary depending on the nature of the product (e.g., drug-device vs. biologic-device) and the intended use. Manufacturers are encouraged to engage in early communication with regulatory authorities to clarify the requirements and expectations for their combination product. Additionally, seeking the expertise of professionals with experience in evaluating combination products can be beneficial throughout the development and approval processes.

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combination products, hvld, CCI technologies, helium leak testing, helium leak detection, combination drugs, packaging leak test
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16
Nov 2022

A Complete Guide to Helium Leak Detection Technology

A Complete Guide to Helium Leak Detection Technology

The quality of the product and the maintenance of the sterile barrier against outside forces are both critically dependent on the packaging. Even a tiny hole in the packaging might allow moisture, reactive gases, or other dangerous elements to enter the product, limiting its ability to heal. Additionally, a contaminated pharmaceutical product can cause serious health issues to the user, making it more of a threat than a treatment. Maintaining Container Closure Integrity is extremely important due to the sensitive nature of pharmaceutical products.

Container Closure Integrity testing is a leak detection technique for determining how well sterile barriers are maintained against external contamination. These tests may be roughly divided into probabilistic and deterministic test methods. Manufacturers choose deterministic test procedures since they provide precise, guaranteed quantitative results. One such test method is helium leak detection technology.

Helium Leak Detection Technology Overview

Helium leak testing is the method of identifying leaks in various enclosed or sealed systems by utilizing helium as a "tracer" gas and measuring the concentration of the gas as it leaves due result of a leak. A vial is a good example of package system. A pre-filled syringe, a foil pouch, and a cold form blister card are some other examples. Each of these package types is intended to keep the pharmaceutical product contained while preventing the entry of potentially dangerous environmental contaminants like dust, bacteria, or even gases. Helium leak testing method can evaluate these package types. It is a highly efficient approach for finding leaks that provide quantitative leak rate data considerably beyond the capabilities of existing leak testing techniques.

The following describes how helium leak detection works: The package is initially vacuumed and helium-filled. The amount of helium escaping the package is then measured quantitatively and expressed as a leak rate using a helium leak detector. The technique is also ideally suited for packaging line setup and validation, failure analysis, tool qualification, monitoring product quality, and package design.

Why Use Helium as a Tracer Gas?

There are several reasons why helium is considered an ideal test gas for finding leaks.
  • Deterministic seal quality inspection method that produces quantitative outcomes.
  • Regardless of color, transparency, print, surface polish, or porosity, this method works for all material types and combinations.
  • Non-destructive and non-subjective test technique that does not require any sample preparation.
  • Technology may be used for 100% online final pouch seal defect detection.
  • Seal quality inspection results are repeatable, reproducible and reliable.
  • Cost-effective solution for testing seal integrity and seal analysis that characterizes the overall quality and uniformity of the seal.

Helium Leak Detection Merits

  • Practical and sensitive flow-based leak test method.
  • Enables the discovery of extremely small microleaks.
  • Detects leaks with sensitivity levels as low as 1x10-10 mbar L/sec.
  • Helium is a non-explosive, non-toxic and non-destructive tracer gas.
  • Applicable across package design, failure analysis, packaging line setup and validation.
  • Faster test cycle reduces cost and total processing time.

Applications of Helium Leak Detection

  • Vials
  • Pre-filled syringes
  • Blister packs
  • Combination products
  • Bottles
  • Foil pouches

Helium leak detection is the best option for evaluating the inherent integrity of specific primary container closure systems of pharmaceutical and parenteral products. It is a commonly used technology in early stage pharmaceutical package development and component compatibility evaluation. In comparison to other leak test techniques, helium leak testing has the highest level of sensitivity, making it the most used CCI test method. In accordance with ASTM F2391, helium leak detection is a widely used method in the pharmaceutical industry.

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container closure integrity testing, helium leak detection, cci technologies, helium leak testing, container closure integrity
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