Flexible packaging is one of the fastest-growing segments in the packaging industry in the last two decades. It combines the best qualities of plastic, film, paper and aluminum foil and delivers a wide range of packaging solutions. Flexible packaging occupies less space and is now a convenient option for liquid packaging. Technological innovations have led to the development of lightweight flexible packaging that is safer and convenient. Closures for flexible packaging systems is accomplished by sealing or double seaming. Pharmaceutical, medical device, nutritional, food and beverage industries are the major consumers of flexible packaging systems.
Conventionally, visual inspection methods were used to test packaging seal integrity. But micro-leaks and discontinuities posed a serious challenge for this method. PTI’s proprietary Seal Scan technology identifies seals that are visually acceptable yet possess defects that affect product quality and shelf-life. Seal-Scan systems utilize non-contact and non-destructive airborne ultrasonic technology for seal integrity testing and seal quality analysis of pouches and flexible packaging.
Seal integrity tests assess the production line sealing parameters and measures the level of protection the flexible packaging provides to the products inside. Maintaining the reliability of the seal quality of flexible packages is critical in ensuring the quality and safety of the products. Seal attributes of flexible packaging are dependent on process parameters, equipment, material and environmental.
The quality of a seal is dependent on physical properties only and has little to do with the visual appearance of a seal area. Heat sealing bars can leave a seal imprint on the outside of a package while the inner seal fails to reach bonding temperature and never seals completely or has a weak peel strength.
Using PTI’s Seal-Scan® or Seal-Sensor™ technology, a linear scan analysis of the seal area can be produced in seconds, detecting channel defects, misaligned seals, incomplete and missing seals immediately after the package have been sealed. ASTM Test Method F3004-13, non-destructive test method for “Evaluation of Seal Quality and Integrity using Airborne Ultrasound Technology.” Approval of this test method was developed utilizing PTI’s Seal-Scan technology. If the system detects a packaging defect, the product can immediately be removed from the packaging and reworked. Process related defects can be addressed and corrected immediately, which significantly reduces the quantity of defective packages produced.
Traditional packaging operations struggle to detect process-related defects in time, and products following the sterilization process cannot be reworked. Using the ultrasound seal inspection solution will alert line operators of sealing related issues immediately and eliminate virtually all lost product due to downstream detection of seal quality deviations. Aside from producing 100% quality assurance, PTI’s airborne ultrasound solution provides value to packaging operations by reducing scrap, improving line efficiency, and eliminating manual visual inspection.
Seal-Scan is a high resolution method that inspects and analyzes pouch seals non-destructively offline.
Seal-Sensor is designed for 100% online pouch seal inspection.