The Latest in Package Testers

Microleak Detection System
Two companies demonstrated a new high-voltage leak detector (HVLD) at Interphex in New York City. PTI has partnered with Nikka USA to promote high-voltage inspection technology. The companies report that HVLD has been successful at pinhole microleak detection in the pharmaceutical industry for liquid-filled products such as ampoules, vials, BFS containers, syringes, and pouches. The Model name for the HVLD lab system is the E-Scan 625. The offline lab instrument is designed to inspect individual samples for microleaks and sealing defects. Testing is non-destructive and non-invasive. The compact benchtop design is ideal for laboratory testing and R & D purposes. According to Heinz Wolf, general manager of PTI Inspection Systems, the HVLD test method ensures product seal integrity by identifying small pinholes, micro cracks, and seal imperfections that cannot visually be seen. This system features a fast test cycle and is easy to operate. Additional benefits include quick changeover and easy test parameter changes to accommodate a wide range of products and applications. PTI Inspection Systems, Tuckahoe, NY; 914/337-2005; www.ptiusa.com; j.sklar@ptiusa.com; Nikka Densok USA, Lakewood, CO.


Fully Automated Tube Tester
A system performs fully automated tube testing of laminate and plastic tubes, eliminating the need for manual testing. Q-Test features two measurement modules: Q-Test 1 is based on pneumatics and measures leak, burst, and torque parameters of both plastic and laminate tubes using high quality precision transducers; Q-Test 2 adds the ability to measure length, diameter, ovality, and side-seam parameters using both laser and high-resolution optical systems. Tubes can be fed to the machine manually, via a hopper or by using an automated transfer system. The system is supplied with an industrial PC that controls all mechanical and software aspects of the system. Results can be printed locally or on a network or shared on a company wide database if required by linking the system to a network via Ethernet. Cerulean, part of Molins Plc, www.ceruleanpacking.com.

Laser-Based Leak Detector

A whitepaper argues that the current industry standard of blue-dye testing for seal integrity of blister packs is not as accurate as nondestructive leak detection technology from Sepha Ltd. Dr. Dorian Dixon of the University of Ulster writes that in some cases, the difference in accuracy between the two methods in finding a defective blister pack could be as much as 10%. The whitepaper compares the abilities of Blisterscan and of the blue-dye test to detect defective pockets in blister packs. Blisterscan is a dry, non-destructive, leak testing technique that uses a laser to measure changes in the pack profile that result from applying a vacuum. A Design of Experiment approach was used to investigate the effect of pocket dimensions, foil thickness, pack material, and defect size on detection rates by both Blisterscan and blue-dye testing. This study found that the Blisterscan test method identified 100% of 15-µm-sized holes, while only 85% of such defects were picked up by blue-dye testing. It also compared the abilities of Blisterscan and of the blue-dye test to detect defective pockets in blister packs with 12-µm-or 20-µm-sized holes laser drilled in the packs to create defective packs. The defects were laser drilled in the approximate center of the foil laminate covering each pocket and the dimensions of the holes were confirmed to a tolerance of +/-2 µm using an electron microscope. According to Dixon, the nonsubjective nature of Blisterscan testing removes the possibility of human error and reliance on operator judgement, which is a key element in the correct identification of small holes using traditional blue-dye testing. He also questioned the ability of current blue-dye test methods to offer a repeatable, objective series of test results. Sepha Ltd., Belfast, United Kingdom; +44 2890 484848; www.sepha.com.

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