Exacting Package Testers

The latest technology can locate package defects nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Today's package testers allow engineers to find defects as small as the diameter of a human hair. Such capabilities enable engineers to better evaluate their packages, but they also present engineers with a dilemma: What size defect is small enough to ignore? Until the packaging industry resolves this issue, package consultants recommend that engineers reject any package that is found to have defects of any size.

A package port system allows consistent penetration of flexible packages for seal strength and leak testing. The flexible Package Port allows the operator to simply and repeatedly insert the test probe into the package for restrained and unrestrained package testing. By attaching a double-sided adhesive disk to the package port and connecting the port to the package, a leak-tight path is created between the port and the package. The package-testing probe is then sealed inside the port as it is inserted, allowing the probe to maintain the leak-tight path. T. M. Electronics Inc., Worcester, MA.

Nondestructive flexible-pack integrity testers can detect holes as small as 10 µm in only a few seconds. The Qualipak 710 and 720 are flexible enough to test single packs measuring up to 8.5 x 10.5 x 4 in., or two packages each measuring up to 4 x 8 x 4 in. The Qualipak accommodates variations in the fill volumes of the packages. To operate, users load packages into the module and close the lid. ITI Qualitek, North Billerica, MA.

Computerized leak detection systems are available using three testing types to measure leaks from 0.1 to 20 sccm. The mass-flow testers provide a direct leak measurement that is independent of pressure and volume. The pressure-decay or -increase testers report leaks as pressure change versus time; they are commonly used to test small parts. The differential-pressure testers are similar to pressure-decay testers, but they use a differential transducer to create better resolution at higher pressures. InterTech Development Co., Skokie, IL.

A lever-operated test stand module is suitable for materials testing, peel testing, and other types of evaluations. Built for many years of laboratory use, Model TSAH can be used on a bench or mounted on a wall. Repetitive testing is easy with adjustable travel stops. The rack-and-pinion mechanism allows for a total travel distance of 8½ in. Measuring 26 in. long x 6 in. wide x 7 in. high and weighing 13 lb, the unit can produce 750 lb of force. The firm's force gauges can be mounted to the stand without the use of adapters. Mark-10 Corp., Hicksville, NY.

A moisture-detection instrument determines whether liquid-filled packages are leaking, using a nondestructive method that controls the atmospheric pressure in a vacuum chamber. The Sentinel MD controls and monitors the evacuation of the test chamber to below the boiling point of the liquid. At this point any leakage from the container will affect the rate of evacuation of the chamber, the retention of vacuum, and the characteristics of the vacuum response. Total cycle time can be fewer than 15 seconds. Cincinnati Test Systems Inc., Village of Cleves, OH.

A package integrity tester performs objective, reliable, and nondestructive evaluations of medical device packages with one porous side, like thermoformed trays with porous lids or flexible pouches with one porous side. The SealCheck 210 generates retrievable validation data, which helps users track package-sealing trends. The system can detect leaks as small as the width of a human hair. True Technology Inc., Newton, MA.

A nonporous package tester consists of a digital automatic control console and package-testing chamber. The control console regulates the vacuum source, which is sold separately, while displaying test data. The transparent vacuum test chamber can be used with or without water. Test time, date, machine settings, and results can be automatically printed with an optional printer. Carleton Technologies Inc., Test-A-Pack Systems, Orchard Park, NY.

Burst-strength testers are available for use in testing packages according to ASTM standards. First built and used in 1887, the testers have long been used to evaluate the burst strength of paper, textiles, and plastics. In addition to burst-strength testers, the firm offers edge-crush and compression testers. Mullen Testers, a div. of Roehlen Industries N.A., Chicopee, MA.

A package testing system uses helium as a tracer gas to evaluate the integrity of nonporous medical and drug packages. The Seal Integrity Monitoring System (SIMS) tests packages that are prefilled with helium. Operators place the sealed packages into the test chamber, where a sensor measures any escaping helium. The test measures leaks at a rate as low as 1 x 10–9 cm3/sec. Leak Detection Associates, Williamstown, NJ.


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